Major Overview

The Art History major offers students an in-depth, critical study of visual and material culture from the ancient to the modern period. You will learn how to interpret works of art, read major theoretical texts and explore the relationships between visual culture and society. Analyzing the power of images throughout history and the context of their production and mode of circulation is essential to understanding both the past and the present. Visual literacy – achieved through the study of a wide range of artistic practices, such as painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, film, architecture and performance art – can also help you approach broader, interdisciplinary questions relating to race, class, power, gender and sexuality. Outside of the classroom, you will benefit from unparalleled opportunities to study art history in Paris’s museums and monuments, as well as through study trips led by professors both within France and beyond. Frequent destinations include Venice, Rome and London.

Learning Outcomes

The educational goals for this major are as follows:

  • You will have in-depth knowledge of artistic periods.
  • You will have the ability to critique and analyze works of art in fluid English prose.
  • You will be able to situate works of art in historical and cultural contexts.
  • You will have the ability to identify artists, styles, time-periods of works.
  • You will be able to communicate orally and in writing about a variety of styles and genres.

 

Learning Environment

The Department of Art History and Fine Arts is a close-knit community of students and professors, and our small class sizes mean that you will be invited to engage in intellectual debate. Located in the newly renovated Monttessuy Center for the Arts, the department offers specialized classrooms for both studio art and art history as well as access to the Olivia de Havilland Theater, where concerts, talks and other events take place. During your time at AUP, you will likewise benefit from local resources and hands-on opportunities, including a student-run publication and a diverse array of internships.

The art history major provides excellent preparation for students considering careers in education, museum management and curation, cultural institutions, or the art market. Courses in art history also give you the skills needed to succeed in any career that requires critical thinking, reasoning through visual and textual sources, or clear written and oral communication. You can enrich your AUP liberal arts education by combining an art history major with other, closely connected disciplines, such as fine arts; philosophy; communication, media and culture; film studies; history; comparative literature; or fashion studies.

Major Components
Build Your Degree

With every single one of our majors, you’ll find a carefully curated medley of core courses and electives, which will provide you with the tools you need to establish an unshakeable foundation in the principles and concepts fundamental to your growth within your disciplines of choice. Many majors also enable you to specialize further within the broader area of study.

Core Courses

Core Courses

We aim to help you develop a range of skills, capacities, and modes of inquiry that will be crucial for your future since employers and graduate schools are looking for the critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are associated with a liberal arts education, including sophisticated writing abilities, willingness to pose difficult questions, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts surrounding a topic or decision.

Scroll to Core Courses

Electives

Electives

Each elective provides you with entry to a variety of subject areas which you can choose among to further focus your studies. With the help of your academic advisor, you’ll be able to tailor your major so that it most effectively prepares you for the next step in your academic and professional journey.

See all Major Electives

Core Courses

The Art History core courses, which you must take as part of the major requirements, will provide you with the tools you’ll need to ground your present and future studies. Your introduction to the fundamentals of Art History will help pave the way for your successful completion of other Art History courses.

OPTION I
AH1000 Introduction To The History Of Art I

Teaches the skills needed for an informed approach to art and architecture by introducing the salient concepts, techniques, and developments from Prehistory and Antiquity through the end of the Middle Ages. Studies works in their historical, social, and cultural contexts. Includes visits to museums and monuments in and around Paris.

VIEW DETAILS >
AR1020 Materials And Techniques Of The Masters

Techniques of the Masters Lectures, demonstrations, and workshops focus on materials and techniques used by artists over the centuries. Studies the historical background of techniques of drawing, painting, sculpture, and the graphic arts combined with a hands-on approach so that each student can experience the basic elements of the plastic arts.Please note that an additional fee will be charged for this course. May be taken twice for credit.

VIEW DETAILS >
AH2013 Renaissance Art & Architecture

This course will introduce you to the major works of the Italian and Northern Renaissance from 1300 to 1600. Emphasis will be placed on understanding artworks within their original cultural contexts, paying particular attention to the production and circulation of art in an age of exploration and discovery. Key themes and issues of consideration will include the idea of a classical revival and artistic self-fashioning, questions of imitation and style, courtly values, art collecting and the ethnographic print, as well as the religious debates of the period and the changing status of the sacred image.

VIEW DETAILS >
AH2014 Baroque & Rococo Art & Architecture

This course examines the reverberations and multi-faceted reactions to the reform movements known as the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, and explores different notions of the Baroque in a global context. We will consider the art and architecture of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and France, as well as the art of colonial Latin America and East Asia. Key themes and issues of consideration will include the changing role of religious images; heresy and persuasion in art; colonial art and questions of transmission, reproduction and hybridity; the rise of artists' academies and art theory; the development of genre painting; cabinets of curiosity and collecting; and eroticism, artifice and Orientalism in Rococo art and architecture.

VIEW DETAILS >
AH2016 19th & 20th Cent. Art & Architecture

Introduces the principal arts and aesthetic issues of the 19th and 20th centuries from the French Revolution to World War II. Studies artists such as David, Turner, Monet, and Picasso, as well as movements such as Romanticism, Impressionism, and Surrealism, stressing continuities beneath apparent differences of approach. Regular museum sessions at the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou.

VIEW DETAILS >
AH4090 Senior Seminar

The senior seminar involves an in-depth study of major artists, epochs or themes in art history. The course regularly changes focus and approach according to the specialty of the professor. It will, however, always include a historiographic component and may cut across traditional, chronological, and/or geographical boundaries. May be taken a second time as an upper-level art history elective. “For the course description, please find this course in the respective semester on the public course browser: https://www.aup.edu/academics/course-catalog/by-term.” May be taken twice for credit.

VIEW DETAILS >

 

OPTION II
AH1020 Introduction To The History Of Art II

Continues the study of selected monuments of painting, sculpture, and architecture, from the Renaissance to the 20th-century. Emphasizes historical context, continuity, and critical analysis. Includes direct contact with works of art in Parisian museums. The overall themes of the class may vary by semester.

VIEW DETAILS >
AR1020 Materials And Techniques Of The Masters

Techniques of the Masters Lectures, demonstrations, and workshops focus on materials and techniques used by artists over the centuries. Studies the historical background of techniques of drawing, painting, sculpture, and the graphic arts combined with a hands-on approach so that each student can experience the basic elements of the plastic arts.Please note that an additional fee will be charged for this course. May be taken twice for credit.

VIEW DETAILS >
AH2011 Ancient Art & Architecture

Introduces first the specific contributions of Greek art to the Western tradition. Then presents the diversification of these achievements in the Etruscan civilization and in the Hellenistic age. Examines how the Romans absorbed, continued, and creatively transformed Greek and Etruscan art and passed the ancient heritage on to medieval and early modern Europe.

VIEW DETAILS >
AH2012 Medieval Art & Architecture

Explores the adaptation of ancient art by the Christian religious establishment and the interaction of early medieval artists with the Graeco-Roman tradition. Follows the development of medieval art in the West to the Gothic period by analyzing its spiritual dimensions and diversity as well as the impact on artistic creation of the changing centers of power and influences.

VIEW DETAILS >
AH2013 Renaissance Art & Architecture

This course will introduce you to the major works of the Italian and Northern Renaissance from 1300 to 1600. Emphasis will be placed on understanding artworks within their original cultural contexts, paying particular attention to the production and circulation of art in an age of exploration and discovery. Key themes and issues of consideration will include the idea of a classical revival and artistic self-fashioning, questions of imitation and style, courtly values, art collecting and the ethnographic print, as well as the religious debates of the period and the changing status of the sacred image.

VIEW DETAILS >
AH4090 Senior Seminar

The senior seminar involves an in-depth study of major artists, epochs or themes in art history. The course regularly changes focus and approach according to the specialty of the professor. It will, however, always include a historiographic component and may cut across traditional, chronological, and/or geographical boundaries. May be taken a second time as an upper-level art history elective. “For the course description, please find this course in the respective semester on the public course browser: https://www.aup.edu/academics/course-catalog/by-term.” May be taken twice for credit.

VIEW DETAILS >