College of DuPage

Collage of famous works of art

Art 1100: Introduction to Visual Art

Welcome to the online version of Introduction to the Visual Arts. In this course we will study the visual arts with the primary goal of being able to encouter a work of art in a museum or gallery setting and articulate a thoughtful and informed critical response.  In this manner, students learn a practical social skill while exploring deeper cultural issues.  Topics will include an introduction to art theories, design principles, media characteristics, and a brief survey of western art history.

Course Description

Overview of the visual arts as transmitters of cultural, humanistic, and aesthetic values. Global selections from the remote past to the present examined in thematic studies including visual elements and design principles, motivations for art making within cultural and historical contexts, material processes, and issues in world art. Designed to encourage visual literacy and develop analytical skills of the non-art major. Field trip may be required.(3 semester hours)

General Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course the student should be able to do the following:

  1. Describe reasons people have created art
  2. Explain functions for art in different historical and social contexts
  3. Identify artists, nationalities, and historical styles in world art
  4. Locate major artists, styles, and works of art in the historical context
  5. Explain construction and production processes
  6. Recognize visual components and design principles
  7. Analyze visual components and design principles in specific works of art
  8. Interpret meaning in works of art
  9. Evaluate effectiveness in works of art
  10. Develop the ability to relate works of art to individual, community, and global experience

Topical Outline

  1. The Nature of Art and Theories of Art
  2. Composition and Formal Design
  3. Art Media
  4. Art History Survey
  5. Engaging Visual Art


The semester grade is based on the total points earned for the 12 units, term paper, and two exams. You will have one assignment for each unit with a total of 100 points possible for the unit. The assignment for each unit  will be a 500-1000 word essay in response to either an article or art experience (as assigned). There will be a midterm and a final exam (worth 400 points each), composed of multiple choice, true-false, and fill-in-the-blank questions. A term paper written in response to an artwork will account for the remaining 1000 points. The grading scale for all assignments and for the semester grade is 100-90%=A; 89-80%=B; 79-70%=C; 69-60%=D; below 59% receives an F and no credit for the course.

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