Art History is the study of the visual arts in civilization. It examines changing values in all fields of visual culture, including painting, sculpture, graphics, photography, architecture, film, the mass media, and forms of popular expression. Its interdisciplinary reach encompasses literature, history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, gender studies, critical theory, and cultural studies. Art History emphasizes visual as well as verbal and written literacy, providing more than the standard advantages to a liberal arts education.
The language of visual culture speaks across boundaries of history and geography, resonating powerfully in every society. The study of art history is the study of the expression of personal and social truths through painting, sculpture, architecture, photography and other fine and popular arts. As an art history major, you will draw on aspects of literature, history, critical theory, philosophy, anthropology and cultural studies in your efforts to understand the complex reasons that people create, support and value the visual arts.
International experience is becoming more and more critical for all fields of study, and Art History is no exception. As the world gets more and more globalized, the ability to tackle societal problems cross-culturally will continue to become increasingly important.
Studying Abroad as a student in the college of Letters and Science is both possible and encouraged. Many different opportunities exist—from short, 2-week seminars in Europe to full, year-long immersion opportunities to foreign universities all over the globe. The key is to start early and plan ahead! Financial Aid goes with you and your AHI advisers (along with advisers at Study Abroad) are here to help you make it happen.
UC Davis Study Abroad maintains a page of recommended programs for students in Art History:
Students majoring in Art History are expected to fully engage with the wide-ranging opportunities its curriculum presents for learning and research. Students who complete a B.A. in Art History should have acquired the knowledge and skills listed below. The many students who take Art History courses for General Education credit or as a designated minor benefit from them as well.