Fall 2012

The Art of Beholding

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-301

Formerly listed as: FIAR-91  |  FIAR-92


Joel M. Upton (Section 01)


What would it be like to “behold”? Without diminishing the value of objective observation, analysis, cultural and historical positioning of works of art, this seminar will offer a working hypothesis concerning the act of “beholding” as a deliberate and disciplined means of entering into the thrall of the art of individual works of art. Learning to behold by beholding: Each member of the seminar will have the opportunity to experience and assess the power of “beholding” by way of a semester-long encounter with one painting of their choosing, including time spent with this painting in situ. We will follow the progress of each encounter in conversation and presentation during our class meetings through a series of particular focused steps leading to the direct experience of “beholding,” both individually and as a group. Our goal will be to re-imagine the possibility that artistic contemplation realized in multiple forms (not only pictorial, architectural and sculptural, but social, political, economic, religious and spiritual) is the highest aspiration of our human being in which love will have become the animating source of compassionate action. One class meeting per week.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Professor Upton.


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2022