Majors & Minors
Art History unites visual thinking with verbal thinking, crosses cultural boundaries, and prepares you for a truly international experience. At Southwestern, Art History majors are exposed to many different cultures by our renowned staff, which includes international scholars and experts in their respective fields.
Jake Stagner (left, Classics), one of four Southwestern students to join the summer team, works with University of Maryland architecture students and Prof. Howe’s (center) reflector-less EDM (electronic distance measurement) surveying instrument (a “total station”-theodolite) to “draw” a precise 3D wireframe of a courtyard in the Villa Arianna at Stabiae in Italy. (Photo credit: Oreste Palmieri)
The first stage of training students, many of whom have no experience with architecture or drawing, to draw “digitally,” is to start sketching freehand in their sketchbooks. This is done in order to teach them how to judge proportion and use variable line weight, which they need to understand in order to work in digital media. SU art history major Haley Druart is second from right. They are on the terrace of the Villa Arianna (“Ariadne”) at Stabiae which faces the sea cliff and Mt. Vesuvius. (Photo credit: Oreste Palmieri)
At the Vesuvian Institute of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation senior graduate students and alumni of the University of Maryland School of Architecture (pictured, Luke Petrocelli, M.Arch) train the 21 students how to key the rectified photographs and LiDAR (Laser Distancing and Ranging) multi-million point point-clouds to the precisely surveyed EDM drawings in order to produce the final, digitally done drawings in AutoCAD. (Photo credit: Oreste Palmieri)
Field trip to San Antonio missions
Students holds ancient Chinese sword during private tour of curatorial laboratory in the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Students in Dr. Miller’s ‘Intro to Asian Art’ and ‘Ancient Chinese Art’ classes meet with the curator of the Asian collection.
Students visit art museum.
Art history is a gateway to other cultures and encompasses almost all human activity. The study is highly interdisciplinary, engaging with topics from politics, economics, and social structures to religion, history, and philosophy.
Southwestern University’s Art History Department is defined by four teacher–scholars who are immersed and actively pursuing research in international environments. Collaborating with faculty whose expertise lies in the art, archaeology, and architecture of the classical Mediterranean, East Asia, pre-modern Latin America, and modern Europe and America, you will become adept at synthesizing a wide range of worldviews. You’ll learn how to think visually, exploring how form, shape, and color can influence or even manipulate one’s thoughts and emotions. You’ll also think verbally, developing well-honed arguments about the design and effects of art in various contexts. Because art history requires both visual and verbal thinking, you’ll acquire superior communication skills and the ability to think about familiar things in innovative ways.
To compete in a 21st-century economy, you must be equipped to make connections within international circles. So SU art history majors are strongly encouraged to learn foreign languages and seek out opportunities to travel abroad. These experiences often contribute directly to giving the research in seniors’ capstone seminars a depth similar to that expected in master’s- and doctoral-level study at a competitive graduate school.
Fulfilling Southwestern’s commitment to promoting lifelong learning while preparing students for the careers of tomorrow, art history teaches you how to think outside the box in a surprising number of professions. Art history’s emphasis on both visual analysis and written communication prepares students to design their own careers as well, from fine-arts consulting and costume design to art therapy and sustainable design.
Featured Alumni Stories
Life in 491 Miles and 107 Square Feet
Christina Hadly ’13, an art history and business double major, has traded in a conventional corporate career for a life of adventure and independence.Read Full Story
Art History News
The Professor Chronicles: Thomas Noble Howe
Get to know the professor of art and art history as well as coordinator general of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Project in Italy.READ FULL STORY
That Fine Arts Finesse
Making art in unprecedented times requires creative adaptation.READ FULL STORY
Associate Professor Allison Miller Discusses Theft of Ancient Terracotta Army Statue
Associate Professor of Art History Allison Miller speaks with CGTN America on the theft of part of an ancient terracotta army statue worth millions.READ FULL STORY