The Arts of the Modern World

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
PEFA 1102
The Arts of the Modern World
Performing & Fine Arts
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Lecture (4 hours per week) with audio-visual support (recordings, slides, films, videos and DVDs).

Field trips to art galleries and performing arts events.

Course Description
This course is a historical survey of the fine and performing arts from the Renaissance to the present day. We will explore painting, sculpture, architecture, theatre, music and dance. We will consider the aesthetic intent of the arts of each era and discuss the ways that political, social and economic factors have impact on style. We will also attend live arts events and current exhibits.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    • Terminology: The Elements of the Arts
    • Historical Background
      • Tribal Arts
      • Classical Greece and Rome
      • The Middle Ages
  2. The Renaissance
    • Humanism: Revival of Greek Ideas
    • Italy: Painting, Sculpture, Music
    • The Arts of Northern Europe
    • The Printing Press and Its Effects
  3. The Baroque Age
    • The Rise of Opera and Ballet
    • Drama: French Classicism and English Restoration
    • Baroque Art and Architecture
    • Bach and Handel
  4. The Enlightenment
    • Aesthetics and Classicism
    • Rococo Style
    • Classical Style
    • Mozart and Haydn
  5. The Romantics Age
    • Revolutions and Ideas: Rousseau, Goethe, Beethoven
    • Colour and Emotion in Painting and Music
    • Grand Opera and Theatre
    • The Bourgeois Audience
  6. From Realism to Modernism
    • Realism
    • Impressionism
    • Stravinsky and Diaghilev
    • Cinema
  7. Modernism
    • Painting and Sculpture
    • African and Primitive Influences
    • Expressionism in Music, Art and Dance
    • Women Artists
  8. From a Modern to a Postmodern  World
    • Postmodernism
    • Painting and Sculpture
    • Contemporary Performing Arts
    • Mixed Media, Improvisation and Interdisciplinary Arts
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the successful student will:

  1. Become familiar with the general framework of the development of the fine and performing arts from the Renaissance to the present day.
  2. Develop a knowledge for each of the style periods of:
    • Formal characteristics of the style in the most prominent arts of the period;
    • The aesthetic intent of the arts of the period, and
    • Political, social and economic factors influencing the period’s style.
  3. Develop a critical awareness of the role of the arts in society.
Means of Assessment
Weekly Assignments 40%
In-Class Written Work 20%
Creative Research Project 20%
Final Exam 20%
Textbook Materials

A list of recommended textbooks and materials is provided on the Instructor’s Course Outline, which is available to students at the beginning of each semester.

Sporre, Dennis.  The Creative Impulse: An Introduction to the Arts.  (or similar text)

Students will be expected to pay for entrance fees to local galleries and for tickets to performing arts events.