Art 1B Midterm Examination and Survey - 1986



Complete this examination in pen and ink using a standard bluebook. Print the following information on the cover of each bluebook submitted: LAST NAME, FIRST NAME, COURSE and SECTION NUMBER, DATE, and after having completed the exam, your SIGNATURE which will be understood as a token of honor affirming the traditional standards of academic integrity. The exam contains a total of 100 points; apportion your time with this in mind. In addition to accuracy and correctness, answers will be graded according to originality, neatness and aptness of thought. Answer all questions.

I. SUCCINCT ESSAYS. (40 points: 4 questions, 10 points each).

Each question consists of two quotations, labelled "A" and "B." For each question compose a succinct essay--clear and concise--on the theme of the quotations, citing by way of example specific works of art referred to either in lectures or in the reading.

1.A. "The history of the Early Renaissance in art begins with the account of a competition--for a design for the north doors of the Baptistry of Florence...." (Horst de la Croix and Richard Tansey, Gardner's Art Through the Ages. Fifth edition, Harcourt, Brace and World, New York, 1970, p. 400).

1.B. "But what do we understand by Renaissance? In sculpture it begins in Florence about 1408 with Nanni di Banco's group of the Quattro Coronati for Or San Michele...." (Paul Frankl, The Gothic: Literary Sources and Interpretations through Eight Centuries. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1960, p. 241.)

2.A. "To his contemporaries, the tactile quality of Giotto's art must have seemed a near-miracle; it was this that made them praise him as equal, or even superior, to the greatest of the ancient painters, because his forms looked so lifelike that they could be mistken for reality itself." (H.W. Janson, History of Art. Revised and Enlarged edition, Prentice-Hall and Abrams, New York, 1970, p. 270.)

2.B. "Until contact was lost, Giotto had been transmitting what an imaging analyst called 'marvellous' pictures." (San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, March 14, 1986, article p. 1, 22).

3.A. "Experience tells us that the majority of teachers do not like the textbook that they are currently using. Our feeling is that...students need a textbook in their hands regardless of the merits of the book." (Eugene C. Kim and Richard D. Kellough, A Resource Guide for Secondary School Teaching, 3rd edition, Macmillan, 1983, p. 133).

3.B. "A really good book allows you to throw two others away." (Gary Snyder, in a lecture called "Poetry and the Primitive.")

4.A. "Handmade things that have been a long time in one household eventually come under the hammer and, if they have any rarity, pass by way of the antique dealer and virtuoso into the hands of the rich collector. The collector does not use them, not even the china and table silver, but displays them, critically labelled, behind glass. Thence they may be passed to some museum where their stored-up baraka inevitably dies, because what sustains it is the touch of human fingers. A collector at least lets a few of his friends handle his treasures; but museum visitors are forbidden to touch the exhibits. Nor do museums ever disgorge their exhibits, unless in wartime to drunken looters—however crammed the cellars may be with crates of bequests which they have no room to display. The New York Metropolitan Museum contains no less than three Stradivarius violins: none of them kept alive by playing. And, as a museum curator of silver once told me in a moment of frankness: museum silver gets the wrong sort of tarnish.'" (Robert Graves, "The Word 'Baraka,'"On Poetry: Collected Talks and Essays, Doubleday, New York, 1969, p. 361.)

4.B. (The central difference between Medieval and Renaissance is simply expanded commercial enterprise, isn't that the "spirit of the age"? Ghiberti's doors are the doors to the biggest bank, and bank doors may be "the gate to paradise." The Baptistry is clearly a bank (those doors would fit the Chase Manhattan as well) tourists have never mistaken that--the iron grating was put up to protect the gold being rubbed off by their inquisitive fingers. (Edward Dorn, "The North Atlantic Turbine," The Collected Poems: 1956-1974. Four Seasons Foundation, Bolinas, 1975, p. 187-8.)

II.      SLIDES. (50 points: 10 questions, 5 points each).

Number your answers so that they correspond with the questions. Identify each slide in terms of ARTIST, TITLE or SUBJECT, MEDIUM, approximate DATE. Note clearly and concisely the relationship, in terms of both similarities and distinctions, between the two slides shown for each question: use your eyes and your imagination as well as your intellect and memory.

III.    ASSOCIATIONS. (10 points: 1 question).

The subject of this question is GOLD: frequently mentioned in lecture, seen in slides and illustrations, and cited in recommended texts. You are invited to answer it in any way that might seem appropriate to you, by free association or conventional essay.

This survey is intended for distribution to both sections of Art 1B, Spring semester, 1986 at CSUS.

Directions: Please answer the following survey questions as briefly and as honestly as possible. Feel free to add your own comments or opinions that relate specifically to this class. Your thoughtful responses will be helpful in providing feedback for the purpose of improving the quality of our educational process.

  • Did you receive a copy of the course Outline/Syllabus?

  • Was this information objective and accurate? Helpful?

  • Did the initial lectures provide an adequate introduction to the course content and its major objectives?

  • Was the instructor's particular approach to this course material accurately related to descriptions in the CSUS Catalog?

  • Do you feel that students were encouraged to question and explore some of the traditional biases of art history?

  • In 1986 do you feel it is valid to question the structure of an introductory art history course which is limited to Western Europe?

  • Did the instructor articulate the problem of a traditional sexist bias in the content and practice of art history?

  • Were other traditional biases, such as upper/lower class values fairly presented and discussed?

  • Did the instructor emphasize sufficiently the role of social responsibility for the artist? For university professors themselves? Were the major procedural requirements of the course clearly presented? Attendance? Notes? Slide study? Reading? Outside? Other? Was the classroom presentation or discussion of recommended texts useful and informative?

  • How did the instructor relate course material to the contemporary world? Was this done repeatedly and clearly?

  • Were requirements for the midterm set forth in a manner that was clear, fair and comprehensive?

  • Were useful guides and suggestions for study given before the midterm? In your view, did the midterm stress rote memorization or the ability for independent and creative thought?

  • Do you think it is justifiable to expect lower division university students to be able to write clear, coherent essays in standard American English prose? In a midterm examination?

  • Overall, was the midterm grading fair or unfair? Or should the standards have been lowered? Raised?

  • Were the requirements for the optional paper set forth in a manner that was clear, fair and comprehensive?

  • Do you feel that the paper assignment was a fair way to provide those students who missed the midterm with an opportunity to make it up? Was it useful as an optional exercise for those who took the midterm? Were the papers promptly graded and returned? With helpful comments? Did the instructor meet with the class promptly and regularly as scheduled?

  • Did the instructor seem to take the class seriously?

  • Were lecture materials (slides, books, readings) properly prepared? Was the instructor honest and forthright about giving others proper credit? Acknowledging sources, own teachers?

  • Were distinctions drawn between objective facts and personal opinions?

  • Did the instructor regularly provide the opportunity for comment? Bearing in mind the size and the lecture nature of the class, would you say that the instructor responded fairly to corrections and student criticism?

  • Was the instructor available after class or during office hours for discussing the course, or for general counselling?

  • Did the instructor inspire confidence with knowledge of the material? Did the instructor appear to be interested in and enthusiastic about the subject matter?

  • Did the instructor generate a sense of excitement in students for learning and scholarship?

  • Were students reminded, from time to time of "larger issues?"

  • In your opinion, was there a reasonable balance of course content between drawing and painting, sculpture, architecture, prints? What would you like to have seen more of? Less?

  • Did the course provide useful parallels or analogies with material in other art forms, such as music, poetry, or literature?

  • Did you find any of the readings presented in class to be particularly interesting or helpful in understanding the art?

  • Were there sufficient efforts to set specific course content into a more general context or historical perspective?

  • Honestly now, do you have and do you use a good dictionary of the American English language? The American Heritage Dictionary?

  • Have you read the Bill of Rights?

  • Do you have comments about this course and any of the particular related areas of social, political or economic history?

  • Did it help your understanding of the material to have occasional comparisons and contrasts with ancient or Classical times? New World history? Third World? Primitive cultures? Future projections?

  • Do you feel the instructor sufficiently encouraged the class to take notes? Study slides? Do reading? Use the library and slide library facilities? Maintain awareness of contemporary media? Relate to outside activities and events (galleries, exhibitions)?

  • Was it helpful to have some technical explanations of various media and processes (such as printing)? Too much? Not enough?

  • From your usual seat, was it possible to see the slides clearly? Was it easy to hear?

  • Did the instructor speak clearly?

  • Was all the mechanical/support equipment in good working order? Does the design/maintenance of the lecture room (Art 145) present any noteworthy limitations or distractions for you? [You might consider lighting, door placement, heating & ventilation, acoustics/noise, seats, comfort]. Recommendations?

  • How useful do you feel this course has been for your knowledge and understanding of art?

  • Have you acquired information or study techniques that you feel will benefit your general education? Specific examples will be appreciated. Are there any ways in which you imagine that taking this course might have changed your life?

    Kurt von Meier
    March 20, 1986