The story of the world is embedded in its art. All great works of art, from the masterpieces of antiquity to the most cryptic contemporary works, reflect the time and place of their creation. Studying art history is like viewing the past through a unique lens and learning how it impacts the present. The Art History Discipline at Morris is rooted in the investigation of artists and their work, as well as the contexts and forces that shape them. By exploring the artworks and artifacts of other periods, you come face to face with other cultures and civilizations in a visual way. Art history offers the keys to unlock a mystifying artwork or a fascinating moment in history, combined with the rewards of examining some of the most beautiful creations ever made by human hands.
Art History is distinct among liberal arts in that in addition to more common approaches such as historical, psychological, or social analysis, it also includes visual analysis. Politics, religion, literature, science, philosophy and history are all natural features of the terrain in art history, as are social issues ranging from gender and sexuality to class, race, and economics. The Art History Discipline at Morris examines all of these as part of the process of evaluating and learning from the art of the past.
Art history at Morris offers you the advantages of both a close-knit department and a broad curriculum. Most classes are small, offering engaging dialogue and in-depth treatment of topics. The number and range of the course offerings and the expertise of the faculty at Morris are noteworthy. Specialized courses on African American art, women artists, the history of photography, portraiture in the early modern period, Chinese art, Islamic art, and in-depth treatments of the art of antiquity, among others, are offered regularly.
Study abroad opportunities are not just available, they are strongly encouraged. The department organizes trips to Italy and Ireland, and Morris students have travelled as well to Japan, England, Nepal, India, and other countries as part of their course of study.