The history of art is different from other historical disciplines in that it is founded on direct visual confrontation with objects that are both concretely present and yet documents of the past. We emphasize analysis of images, objects, and built environments as the basis for critical thought and visual literacy. In addition to formal and iconographic analysis, we use the work of other disciplines to understand visual images, such as social history, perceptual psychology, engineering, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, and archaeology. Because of its concentration on visual experience, the Art History major increases one’s ability to observe and to use those observations as analytical tools for understanding history and culture.
ArtH 101-102 and either ArtH 103 or ArtH 104 introduce students to a series of critical studies of important works selected from the history of European, North American, African, and Asian art from antiquity to the present. The critical approach of the introductory courses is maintained in all further courses, often by assigned study of original works in the Williams College Museum of Art, Chapin Library, the Clark Art Institute, and Mass MoCA.
Any art studio course. The requirement of one art history course concerned with a period prior to 1600 and one art history course concerned with post 1600. The junior course (ArtH 301) develops awareness of the theoretical implications, as well as the possibilities and limitations of different art-historical methods. The requirement of one upper level course either 400 or 500 level. One additional art history course at any level
For more information on requirements, refer to the Course Catalog.