Program in Art History

Art history (also referred to as visual culture) is a field of study in which the information and methodologies of many fields come together. The discipline involves the analysis of the work of art itself—understanding its form, and why and how we make use of it. It is also the investigation of its historical context and mode of production.

These inquiries can lead in many different directions involving economic, social, and gender issues; problems of patronage and taste; and questions of exchange, reception, conservation, and restoration.

Art historical and visual cultural studies draw upon related areas of study, such as:

  • Cultural and intellectual history
  • Psychology
  • Literary criticism
  • Religion
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology
  • Archaeology
  • History of science

The study of art history and visual culture is an ideal field if you want to acquire a general cultural background, develop analytical and writing skills, and sharpen your critical sensibilities.

You can also study abroad during a fall or spring semester in the University's European Arts Internship program, which is encouraged for majors and non-majors alike. In Europe, there are opportunities to work in institutions, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of London, and internships can be arranged in Paris, Brussels, Bonn, and Madrid.

In addition, the department offers an Art New York semester, which includes an internship and coursework as well as intensive exposure to art history/visual culture and contemporary art-making in New York City's museums, galleries, studios, and cultural institutions.