The Art History department teaches the history and practice of visual creativity. All people, at all times, around the world, have expressed their identities and their beliefs through visual art. From temple complexes to tea-cups, from quilts sewn with scraps to sculptures welded with tons of steel, art objects bring to us a knowledge of who we have been and how we shape our environments.
Both our history and studio courses train students to observe the world more closely and interpret what they see. In our history courses, students study how art has occurred at the intersection of personal, technical, and social forces. In our studio courses, students learn to engage those forces using media ranging from traditional drawing to digital design.
Thanks to Barnard’s location in New York City, the Art History department’s classrooms include some of the world’s most important museums and galleries. Courses are regularly taught at or with museums, and visiting artists, curators and critics frequently enrich our curriculum. Students interact with New York’s thriving art world for class assignments and independent projects and, especially during the summer, through jobs and internships. Art History majors have gone on to careers in museums, galleries, auction houses, arts administration, publishing, philanthropy, and as academics and practicing artists.
The Department offers both a major in Art History and a major in Art History and Visual Arts. In each case, the student chooses a faculty adviser who assists her in planning a program incorporating personal interests while meeting departmental requirements.