Why study History of Art?


Art History is the study of human culture and history through the visual arts. It is a constantly expanding discipline whose objects of study include all forms of artistic expression: painting, sculpture, architecture, decor, drawing, prints, photography, film, video, and performance art. Here at Ohio State, we also believe in the importance of the history of the discipline itself, its philosophical and theoretical foundations, and its critical methodologies.

Art History examines works of art in terms of both aesthetic and historical issues; it is concerned with definitions of style, materials and modes of execution, iconographic and other interpretive methods, and with the economic, social, and political factors that shape both the production and reception of visual culture. Each of the faculty members teaching in the Department of the History of Art at OSU is a specialist in a particular area (or areas) of world art, and undergraduates are strongly encouraged to take full advantage of the wide range of courses offered. Chronologically, our courses encompass artistic developments from prehistoric times to the present, and geographically include the arts of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.