Here is a link to some public domain syllabi and essays of texts used before 1930:



Composition Basics Lesson

National Endowment for the Humanities

Sample Syllabus For Art Appreciation

An exploration of visual art forms and their cultural connections for the student with little experience in the visual arts.  It includes a brief survey of art history and in depth studies of the elements, media, and methods used in creative processes and thought.  A five-step system for understanding visual art will be used based on:

1) Description: Explaining a work of art from an objective point of view, its physical attributes, and formal construction.
2) Subjective Analysis: A detailed look at a work of art that combines physical attributes with subjective statements based on the viewer’s reaction to the work.
3) Context: Any historical, religious, or environmental information that surrounds a particular work of art and which helps to understand the work’s meaning.
4) Narrative: A statement of the work’s content.  A meaning or message expressed by the finished product.
5) Judgment: A critical point of view about a work of art concerning its aesthetic or cultural value.
After completing this course, students will be able to interpret works of art based on this five-step system of analysis; explain the processes involved in artistic production, themes, and the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic issues that artists examine in their work; and explain the role and effect of the visual arts in societies, history, and other world cultures.


At the conclusion of this learning experience, the learner should be able to -
  • Interpret examples of visual art using a five-step critical process (description, analysis, context, meaning, and judgment).
  • Identify and describe the basic elements and principles of art.
  • Use analytical skills to explain attributes of art , their meaning and expression.
  • Explain the role and effect of the visual arts in societies, history, and across cultures.
  • Articulate the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic themes and issues that artists examine in their work.
  • Identify the processes and materials involved in art and architecture.
  • Utilize information to locate, evaluate, and communicate information about visual art in its various forms. 

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Creative and Contemplative

Creative and Contemplative