Roman Art & Architecture

Jun 2014

Prof. De Angelis is a knowledgeable and articulate lecturer. He really tries to engage the students during each class, even though it only ends up being a few of the same people talking during class. The class will be more meaningful if you come in with solid knowledge of the Roman history, which unfortunately I did not. The class was typical of art history, so it wasn't particularly challenging to wrap your head around, but it was a lot of memorization for exams. As a CS student, I have a feeling this class was a lot more valuable to Classics or Art History majors than it was to me. I feel like I learned something, though maybe not as much as the professor would have hoped. I would recommend Prof. De Angelis, but only take this particular class if you know you are interested in the topic. CLASS: The course covers a lot of material, and much of the material in the lectures does not end up on the exams because there is just too much. The lectures overall are not in chronological order; instead they are grouped by topic. This was kind of confusing to me, but it was an organized and logical presentation of the behemoth that is Roman art/architecture. All the powerpoints are uploaded to courseworks, but they're only images so it's not that helpful. There were three consecutive lectures on imperial portraiture, which were rather dry, because you spend the entire class staring at marble busts of emperors and trying to differentiate between their hairstyles and beards. EXAMS: For the exams, you are only required to know a selection of images, which he emails out the week before the exam. He doesn't send this list out very far ahead of time because he doesn't want students to only focus on memorizing those pieces. From this list, there still ends up being about 80-90 pieces that need to be shoved into your brain, and there are only 5 identifications on the exams. Sometimes you'll go back to your notes and find that you only have half a sentence on several of these pieces, so find a friend in class and combine your notes. The TAs held two review sessions before each exam. I gave up on memorizing dates for the IDs, but hey, do what you need to do. READINGS: There are several different levels of reading requirements. (1) Textbooks: three books to read by the end of the semester, (2) Additional Readings: book chapters that go along with each lecture, choose 10 out of the 24 posted online (3) Special Reading: one book out of ten options which you write your midterm essay. I did the special reading for the midterm, and I went through some of the "additional readings" for the final if I felt my notes were lacking. Sorry to my textbooks, which never saw the light of day. ATTENDANCE: Attendance is supposedly required, but he doesn't check every day. There were only four lectures where he took attendance, and he announced that he would be doing so in the previous classes.

Nov 2011

Prof. Angelis was excellent and I hope to take other courses with him in the future. Although he has a slight accent and seems disorganized in the beginning, he is actually one of the most organized presenters and lecturers at Columbia. The slides he picks for each lecture tell a theme/story from start to finish and there is never an excessive slide in that mix. I really appreciated that each lecture had a topic which ended up being one of the many options for essay topics for the final. This made the subject matter easy to understand and follow. for example, one week the topic would be roman portraits, another one would be funerary monuments, another one would be triumphal arches...simple and organized. I did most of the readings, but they were not really necessary. Most more interesting, some no so much. It is important to come to class to get notes from his lectures as the textbook is decent, but does not follow the same order of topics. Textbook seemed more disorganized compared to his lectures. Definitely take this class! The subject matter is also very interesting.

Jul 2011

Fantastic class, fantastic professor. It's easy to get lost in the subject matter, however, as so much of it is myth, speculation, and so many different threads of Roman life over a very long period of time, tightly woven together at once and seeming to not even be of the same cloth at other times. It was a great pleasure to be studying with one of the rock stars of the the field, and my only regret was not being able to study with him more. The readings he chose for his class were incredible, of the highest in academic writing from some of the foremost authorities in the discipline, fascinating and illuminating. I hope that I get to take another class with him again!

Apr 2010

Professor de Angelis is a kind and knowledgeable man but, ultimately, this class is not worth taking unless you absolutely have. He spends a lot of time discussing minute details that don't appear on the exams. The exams, by the way, are a lot of work for very little reward. We were given over 100 slides to memorize for the midterm and just 10 were used. I ended up just going through the list and throwing out about half because they were too muddled or intricate to possibly appear. In the end, I was right and the 10 slides that showed up were in the half that I chose. Again, if you're not an Ancient Studies or Art History major, I would not recommend this class. de Angelis is helpful and encouraging but the lectures are boring, a bit disjointed, and repetitive with the readings. I imagine that he's a better professor with a smaller class where he's not just talking for an hour and twenty minutes straight.

Mar 2010

Kill me now. I have no idea of what the organizing principle was behind this class. De Angelis is a lovely man, who's willing to help you out, but the exams are murder -- 150 slides for the midterm, of which we had to identify ten (seriously, slide identification is bad enough, but ten percent? that's just not on), and all the floorplans look alike and oh my god, kill me now. As a non-art-history major (who has taken art history classes before!), I had a really difficult time figuring out when something in the lecture needed to be in my notes, and when it was just "interesting thing I would like to remark upon." The TAs in Spring 2010 were pretty good; responsive to emails, willing to admit when they didn't know something, and that is really all I can ask.

May 2006

While de Angelis seemed to know his stuff and was visibly enthusiastic about the subject, his presentation of major Roman monuments was somewhat disorganized: what I mean by this is that he will show students very obscure pieces of art, and then not explain the historical significance of that slide. He has a bit of trouble with the language (which is understandable) but it gets annoying sometimes when he trails off in the middle of a sentence and ends it with a mumble (and this would happen many times each class.) He also stutters (which is again understandable) and it gets some time to get used to his delivery, but once you get past that language barrier you can tell that he really knows his stuff. Class can get boring sometimes because he will often ramble on about certain monuments for up to forty minutes without any direction, and often repeating the points that he had made previously. Other than that, Prof. de Angelis is a very approachable man, and he is willing to spend some time during office hours clarifying things that you did not understand in class.

May 2006

The class was interesting, the readings too but the professor made it not worth taking. His control of the English language makes the lectures painful and pointless to attend. He didn't give a list of the monuments and material that would be covered on the midterm which resulted in widespread confusion and bad grades. I guess the biggest problem with him is that he seems reasonable and lenient, he claims that the essays on the exams as well as the paper are up to the student to decide in which direction he/she want to take them but then it turns out that he had strict guidelines that he just forgot to share with the class. Overall the class was a disappointment. The grade does not reflect the amount of work you put into the class. If you really want to take the class do, otherwise I would suggest you wait until someone else teaches it.

Nov 2004

Kampen's lectures were always "politically correct," & no one challenged these views even as one had to listen to students drivel on about queer studies. her lectures & use of slides were supurb but her grading was difficult & random. she does not accept excuses for incomplete work

May 2004

I have taken twelve art history courses at Columbia, and if I were to pick one to drop, this would be the one. Kampen is nice, yes, she lectures well, that is true, but she is very unfair. She does not give slide lists, and the TA's, who were surely the least helpful TA's I have ever had, certainly did nothing to remedy the situation. Of course, she does not give you all of the information for the slides during the lectures, and you are responsible for spending time in Avery finding all of the images that are not on the website. Unless you are truly interested in Roman art and architecture, I would not take this class. ***These corrections were sent to CULPA: "Kampen has very clear slide lists and slides online. She also puts some of her lectures on Courseworks. No TA's."

Apr 2002

Why the f*** has no one written about this guy yet? There are truly exceptional aspects of this class and utterly shitty ones as well. I'll start with the shitty. Shitty: to validate my first sentence--Brilliant does not use e-mail or the Internet--he really doesn't even seem to know what these things do or provide. This is a downside because you can't get in touch with him outside of going to his office hours. Shitty: the class, rather ironically, has a website. However, as opposed to every other Art History course, every image that you see in class is not on the website (don't ask me why). In fact, about a fifth of the images are online. You can imagine the bitch this is when it comes time to studying for exams. What's even more frustrating is the fact that he goes over probably 25-35 slides in an hour and fifteen minutes. Also, he does not make slide lists for class--you have to rely on the lecture for names, dates, locations, and museums. Shitty: if you've done the math based on the last 'shitty,' this means you will be writing non-stop for the entire class period. You might not even see the image because you are taking notes from the lecture. Shitty: taking the last 'shitty' into account, he announces on the first day of class that he "expects you to know everything"--from class lectures, slides, and readings. Shitty: and about those readings--you get a syllabus (written on a typewriter, of course) with the names of 17 (I just counted) books you are "required," "strongly recommeded," or "on reserve" to read. But, he does not assign pages nor does he tell you what to read when. Shitty: his TA's. I think he may have introduced them by name the first day, but otherwise, their job for the class is nothing more than changing the slides (I think this technology may be over Brilliant's head). They don't hold discussion sections (this could be bad or good, based on how you look at it), don't give out their e-mails, and don't make themselves available to students in any way. The only upside to the TA presence is watching Brilliant yell at them from across the room for switching to the wrong slide or not having a slide in focus. He can be a real [CULPA CENSOR] at times. Example: on the first day of class he stopped his lecture to yell at a girl in the third row because she was looking at a syllabus from another class, and he asked her to either put it away, or he would ask her to leave the room. I noticed that many people dropped the class thereafter. Great: the man knows every thing about Roman art. Everything. Great: his lectures, though incredibly fast paced, are full of useful, insightful information. He doesn't concentrate too much on the formal aspects of works but tends to emphasize the historical connections between works of different periods. Great: although he appears only to be in his fifties, he refers to archeological digs that he's been on during the 1950s. He's been around this stuff his entire life and knows every nuance of the era and absolutely loves it. In fact, he somtimes goes on minor tangents about significant locations and what it must have felt like to be there in Roman times; he'll begin with "Imagine yourself..." and will go on to wax poetic about the breeze, the food, the company, and the sunlight. Overall, it's a very good class, full of information, and it's taught by a man who loves the subject and perhaps his role as a professor as well. Looking back, I would take this class again, despite the shitty aspects.