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Art History

Department Overview

What Art History Teaches Us

Much of the knowledge and information produced in the 21st century is communicated through images. Studying art history provides students with the skills to critically analyze and comprehend the visual arguments conveyed in these images. Art history also provides students with the tools necessary to communicate this understanding in coherent written and verbal forms.

Studying art history allows students to engage with the ways in which people in the past and present — patrons, artists, users, and viewers — have created and employed images and to what ends. Indeed, students of art history study works of art that embody the most important ideas and cherished aspirations of cultures through time and across the globe. As a result, they gain a deeper understanding of a global, and multicultural, past and present.

In studying art history, students consider how scholars and others have thought about a given work and are asked to find their place in that discussion. In the art history classroom, we carefully look at images and analyze them, research the cultures in which they were produced, and make arguments about their meanings and impact.
 

Art History Learning Goals and Objectives

  • Students will broaden their perspectives and ways of thinking through the study of a variety of works of art and architecture produced in different cultures and at different times.
  • Through carefully looking at works of art and architecture, students will learn to dedicate the patient, sustained effort necessary to come to an understanding of an object on its own terms.

  • Through the study of works of art and architecture, students will learn to move beyond subjective response to develop an informed understanding of something outside their knowledge and experience.

  • Through visual analysis students will be able to comprehend and articulate the logic of the formal, spatial, material, and technical elements of a work of art or architecture.

  • Through contextual analysis, students will know how to develop an interpretative project by:
    • Critically assessing the art historical literature
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    • Identifying the subject of the work of art and exploring its meanings
.
    • Situating the work in its context of production and reception
.
  • Students will be able to place works of art and architecture within the history of art.

  • Students will learn to critically assess disciplinary definitions, interpretive methods, and historical explanations of works of art and architecture.

  • Students will be able to craft lucid historical arguments in dialogue with the larger disciplinary tradition.

     

The students in Professor Tiffany Lee's course, FYS: Art in Animation in East Asia create their first stop animation short films during class.  The untitled student animations were created by Jasmine Fan, Olive Han, Myles Ross, Kennedy Randall, Adelle Robison, Jonah Pacis, Isshin Yunoki, and Nina Zhuo.

Nina Pelaez '11

Congrats to Nina Pelaez '11 who was appointed the Associate Director of Learning and Interpretation at the Smith College Museum of Art. Read the PDF press release here

The students in Professor Tiffany Lee's course, FYS: Art in Animation in East Asia create their first stop animation short films during class.  The untitled student animations were created by Jasmine Fan, Olive Han, Myles Ross, Kennedy Randall, Adelle Robison, Jonah Pacis, Isshin Yunoki, and Nina Zhuo.

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