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“Art is about experience, and Cornell provides chances for students to engage with art and culture instead of just memorizing specific images and dates. When we have a final exam in a Modern Art art history course, the class travels to museums to view art on-site and students answer questions about the works in front of them.” -Christina Penn-Goetsch, Professor of Art History

Art history course traveling with professor

Art History topics include the arts and architecture of antiquity in the Mediterranean, in the Renaissance and Baroque Italy, and in modern and postmodern art. These topics are supplemented by courses addressing the global arts of West Africa, African American art and the diaspora, Latin American art, and transnational feminist art.

The One Course At A Time curriculum provides you unparalleled focus on your work, and the ability to get the experience of what it is like to work as an art historian.

Art history course at a museum

As an art historian, you can learn the challenges of mounting exhibitions addressing any number of cultures and topics through real examples. Students in the African Art class were assigned to read selected articles about the history of collecting and displaying African art. Then the class visited the display of African art at the Art Institute of Chicago and compared the installation to that of the Western European and North American art. That evening, students listened to how the curator of the African and Native American art collections at the Detroit Institute of Art reorganized their exhibition spaces. Because of the flexibility of One Course At A Time, this class, in two days, gained a better understanding of the display of African art, with specific examples from written research, interviews, and on-site observations.

You'll have rich opportunities for off-campus experiences, with study-abroad programs regularly in Italy and field trips to museums.

Art history off campus study course

Classes frequently take daylong field trips to the Chicago Art Institute and the Des Moines Art Center. If an appropriate exhibition is on display, it would not be unusual for classes to visit the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis or the Milwaukee Museum of Art. One Course makes these types of field trips possible when a semester plan would not.

The Senior Capstone is a yearlong project where you will engage in sustained research in art history. You will make an original contribution to the discipline through a senior paper, public presentation, and oral defense.