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Abstract Expressionism or Post Impressionism? Surrealism or Dadaism? What's the difference? In addition to knowing answers to questions such as these, art history majors study both the history and aesthetic ideology that goes into a work of visual art. Whether it's painting, photography, architecture, film, sculpture, or multi-media projects, art historians are responsible for helping us to interpret work in these media.

Part historian, part cultural critic, Art History majors help define a work of art by placing it into its proper historical context. They examine the layers of influences that go into the making of a piece of art, including the social, political, and personal forces underlying an artist's development. With each new artistic movement, with each new artist, comes a new way of seeing and interpreting the world. Through the art historian's critical lens, our own ability to share in the artist's insight and vision is enhanced.

As an Art History major you will also have the opportunity to cultivate your knowledge of a foreign language, related liberal arts majors, and, if you're interested, explore your own artistic inclinations through studio art courses.


  • Asian Art

  • Contemporary Art

  • Hellenistic and Roman Art

  • History of Western Art I-III

  • Introduction to Artistic Media and Techniques

  • Japanese Art

  • Modern American Painting and Sculpture

  • Northern Renaissance Art

  • Survey of Art history

  • Writing Seminar in the History of Art


Classes in Art History and fine arts, including painting, photography, sculpture, dance, and ceramics, are a great way to begin to develop your ability to think critically about art. A solid background in the humanities and liberal arts as a whole, though, is the best possible preparation if you're interested in majoring in art history. Classes in English, history, philosophy, science and math are necessary. In addition, a continued personal engagement with art through frequent museum visits, reading Art History books, and study of your favorite artists and their works will help prepare you for this major.