About the program

The undergraduate program in art history equips students with the fundamental skills and perspectives of the liberal arts: to think clearly and critically, to write well, and to find, analyze, evaluate, and present facts and ideas. The Art History faculty is committed to training students to become exceptional thinkers and writers, as well as sophisticated interpreters of visual evidence. Students develop rigorous historical understanding of the circumstances and cultural settings in which art has been created and viewed in a curriculum that spans the ancient Mediterranean; South and East Asia; the Italian and Northern Renaissance; medieval, modern, and contemporary Europe; and the United States. Faculty research and teaching introduces students to an expansive range of media: from painting, sculpture, prints and drawings, photography and film, to archaeology, architecture, urbanism, and material culture.

Student learning is animated and amplified by firsthand encounters with objects in the collection of the Fralin Museum, in University Library Special Collections, and by the extraordinary riches of the University's architectural landscape. Art History offices and seminar rooms are located in Fayerweather Hall, where faculty and students enjoy close proximity to the Fralin Museum, Ruffin Hall and the Studio Art program, the Fine Arts Library, and the School of Architecture. Majors benefit from this vibrant community of contemporary art and architecture, and many take courses in studio art and architectural history.

The undergraduate program is designed both to prepare students for advanced graduate study in the history of art and to provide students with a broad, humanistic background for many other fields that require the ability to undertake independent research, evaluate visual and textual evidence, to write effectively, and create intelligent arguments. Our majors have gone on to thrive in graduate MA and PhD programs in art history and in careers in College and University teaching, museums, and the art market; for others, art history coursework has proven outstanding preparation for a broad range of disciplines, including law, business, and medicine.