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The Arts of the Modern World

Course Code: PEFA 1102
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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

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.

Means of Assessment

Weekly Assignments 40%
In-Class Written Work 20%
Creative Research Project 20%
Final Exam 20%

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.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.