Fine Arts | Politics, Propaganda, and the Power of Images (Topics in Art History)
A200 | 27296 | Williams-Backer


During World  War I  alone, the U.S. government produced and
distributed over 20 million copies of 2500 propaganda poster
designs.  This was the first time in history that the relatively
new medium of  the poster was utilized on such  a grand scale, and
in the years since, the means  and media for distribution of
propaganda and mass art have only grown and expanded.  The line
between art and propaganda is a fine one, especially given  the
negative connotations the term “propaganda” inspires  today.  When
does  art become propaganda?  Does using art as a tool for political
persuasion somehow  corrupt the “value” of  the art  or the  artist
who  made it?  Can we see protest art  as propaganda as well?  This
course will seek  to answer  these  questions by establishing a
meaningful definition of propaganda in the visual arts and by
analyzing and deconstructing  propagandistic  images of  the 19th-,
20th-, and 21st-centuries with the ultimate goal of developing a
critical eye for all images.