Professor Cole is a very knowledgeable and intelligent professor. His lectures are fantastically fascinating, and so is his choice of material to cover. There were many moments when I found myself staring at the projector screen in the darkness at a work I had seen countless times before, and suddenly become overwhelmed by its beauty. All to Professor Cole's narration, of course. He talks quickly and quietly, so it's important to get a seat close to the action, because you'll want to hear every word he says! Sometimes I wish Professor Cole would use a microphone, but that would definitely take away from the intimacy of his lectures.
By reviewing Culpa, it is clear that anyone who wrote a less than sparkling view for this teacher has no understanding of art history. The complaints against Professor Rosand's style of speaking and analyses do great injustice to the art history curriculum at Barnard and Columbia. If anyone is wondering about his capabilities as a teacher, the existing reviews are extremely misleading. He is a world-renowned scholar of Venetian painting. Those who do not appreciate his scholarship clearly do not appreciate art historical study in general.
Sometimes, his lectures kick ass. and sometimes...they just didnt make sense! the man can ramble like a pro, and he sometimes never makes it back to a point. he talked about somethings WAY too much, and other things, he barely touched on...its a bit hard to handle, but overall, i found myself enjoying the class. that being said, they graded the papers pretty harshly, which is stupid since there was only one writing assignment. and he put images on the final that were DETAILS of paintings rather than the entire painting, which i didnt think was really kosher.
If spending 4 classes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling sounds boring to you, don't take this class--it's for people who enjoy this sort of thing. In this class, Prof. Rosand used an object-based approach to examine the concept of the High Renaissance, focusing on Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Giorgione. Although he did spend too much time on the Florentine artists, leaving only a few classes to cover Venetian painting, which is one of his areas of expertise, this fault only points up his absorption in the material. Rosand's lectures tended to focus on the main points of readings, making it possible for the lazier student to get by. On the other hand, the midterm and final did require a good command of the images, but that will come to anyone who goes to class and does a moderate amount of reading.
Don't take this class, take Beck's version instead. This class had a graduate course number, but there were at least 50 undergrads in this class with me. Rosand started on the first day of class saying "I've decided that I am goign to take time where I want to, so if i want to focus on something in particular, I am goign to take as much liberty as I would like." Well, he certainly took these liberties, and I should have known better. We spent 3 individual classes looking at Leonardo's Last Supper and another 4 looking at the Sistine Chapel Ceililng (it gets really boring after a while). Additionally, Rosand is known for his scholarship on Venetian art; we spent one day on it, just before the final. The assignments had no concrete dates, and the final and midterm exams had a rediculous number of IDs - 25 plus essays on each. What made me most angry was that he obviously did not keep a good record of what happened at each class, because many slides on the exams were never shown and were not on the website. The "optional" discussion sections were equally in vain, as he kept the TAs in the dark too. We would ask them a question, and they woudl have no idea what the answer was. Though I did like his reading list, there was no point in reading any of the works because a) half of them were his own articles, so we heard his points in class and b) he would assign 500 pages of something like vasari or castiglione, and then tell you waht the most important points were. On the day of the final, many of the undergrads arrived early, and we just laughed about how much we don't care about this class. Grading was arbitrarily tough (comments like "generally good essay - B" are common). It's really a pity, too, because he is such a nice man.