Department of Art History

Art History explores the visual world.

Art History is the historical study of objects and images: painting, sculpture, architecture, film, furniture, ceramics, installations, and many other things. Our courses span the globe, from ancient Rome, Islamic cultures, medieval Paris and Renaissance Italy, to Indian cinema, American painting, contemporary photography and modern architecture. The objectives of our curriculum are: to learn the verbal language necessary to analyze and interpret objects, images, and the built environment; to understand works of art and architecture in their historical and cultural settings; and to develop a critical voice that extends to all aspects of the visual world. Students of art history are asked to directly engage with objects, including those in the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Many of our majors also take advantage of study-abroad opportunities in Italy, England, Scotland, Denmark, Ireland, China, and elsewhere. And all of our majors graduate with a visual sophistication they did not previously possess. Understanding the ways in which visual information and physical space entertain, inform, and persuade us is a vital skill in a contemporary world that is awash in images.