Art History (ARHI) 201

A Survey of Western Art I: Looking at Art from Ancient Times to the Middle Ages (Revision 6)

ARHI 201 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook) with optional online video components.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None; however, we strongly recommend successful completion of ENGL 255.

Precluded Course: ARHI 201 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for HIST 203.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Art History Studies home page

ARHI 201 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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ARHI 201 is a survey course designed to introduce developments in artistic expression from cave drawings and the monuments of the ancient world to the paintings, sculpture and architecture of 15th-century northern Europe. Students learn to look at art and see it within the social and political context of the time in which it was created.

Course Objectives

  1. Learn how to look at art in terms of its visually descriptive aspects and corresponding materials of production.
  2. Understand the functions of visual art in the periods covered in the course.
  3. Examine and understand the iconographical significance of important historical works.
  4. Within the historical parameters of the course, achieve a general overview of the history and developments of western visual art, its major periods, movements, concepts, and artists.
  5. Have acquired an art and architecture vocabulary and be able to use it in relation to specific works.
  6. Be able to initiate a critical discussion on how works of art form part of a larger set of relationships that include artist and society.


  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Art History
  • Lesson 2: Prehistoric and Near Eastern Art
  • Lesson 3: Art and Architecture of the Ancient Egyptians
  • Lesson 4: Aegean and Greek Art
  • Lesson 5: Art and Architecture of the Etruscans and Romans
  • Lesson 6: Early Jewish, Early Christian, Byzantine, and Islamic Art
  • Lesson 7: Early Medieval and Romanesque Art
  • Lesson 8: Gothic and Italian Art and Architecture


To receive credit for ARHI 201, you must achieve a course composite mark of at least a D (50 percent) and a mark of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite mark is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Self-Assessment Study Questions 15%
Essay 15%
Term Paper 35%
Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Davies, Penelope J. E., Walter B. Denny, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph Jacobs, Ann M. Roberts and David L. Simon. Janson's History of Art: The Western Tradition. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2011.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ARHI 201 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on each part of the examination.

Activity Weighting
Part 1 Exam (Take Home Essay) 50%
Part 2 Exam (Written Exam) 50%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 6, January 7, 2014.

View previous syllabus