MAJOR IN ART HISTORY
The Art History major at Villanova is an interdisciplinary program that exposes students to works of art and other visual productions, both past and present, and prepares students for rewarding careers.
Art History students become sophisticated viewers of visual culture—giving them a distinct advantage in today’s world, where the relentless proliferation of images (from art to advertising, and from film to fashion) has an ever-increasing influence on our cultural, economic and social lives. By learning how to read and assess images through analysis and interpretation, students will leave Villanova as discerning members of contemporary society. In the process, they will gain skills such as research, writing, presentation and critical thinking.
Art History faculty are dedicated to creating a stimulating academic experience and helping our students prepare for their futures. Art history courses contain a strong theoretical component that emphasizes the philosophical, social, political and economic contexts that shaped the production of art in different times and places. The major also provides opportunities for study abroad and fosters cross-cultural understanding.
EXPLORE THE MAJOR
- Demonstrate art historical knowledge across a range of chronological, cultural, and geographic areas.
- Understand and interpret images and art, and definitions of art, with historical specificity.
- Demonstrate a familiarity with the concept of historiography, including a sense of changing art historical interpretations and an understanding of various approaches to art historical explanation.
- Recognize a range of career options available to undergraduate art history majors.
Analytical and Research Skills
- Engage with contemporary art historical tools, including the use of visual and material artifacts, print resources, primary and secondary source collections, and repositories of images and other online resources.
- Construct art historical questions and arguments about the problems and issues that run throughout the history of art’s production, consumption, and reception.
- Apply a critical perspective to historicize and interpret art productions, with attention to the social uses of art, images, and visual culture – and to the power of art and art’s relations to power.
- Describe and formally analyze art objects following close looking, putting observations and perceptions into words.
- Summarize and critically evaluate art historical sources, methodologies, and interpretations, and formulate, articulate, and sustain historically-grounded claims in written form.
- Employ disciplinary vocabulary to construct insightful, analytical, and fluid arguments which address the ideological framework and assumptions that underpin histories of art and images.
Art History provides students with career opportunities in a wide range of fields and occupations connected to art, including journalism, law, education and exhibition design. Careers available to art history majors also include:
- museum curator
- professor of art history
- gallery director
- conservationist or restoration expert
- art critic
Our graduates have gone on to work in auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s and as writers or editors for such publications at Arts Magazine. Some continue their studies in graduate programs and go on to work for museums such as the Renwick Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine arts, the Seattle Art Museum and the Bowers Museum. Other graduates have gone on to teach at the Community College of Philadelphia and at Kutztown University.