Why do people make art? Where do you find art? What can art tell us about our world? Why does some art cost millions of dollars? Art history majors grapple with these questions by studying art across history and across cultures. Art history explores the world through images and objects, emphasizing visual learning. Art historians are trained in clear expository writing and critical thinking. They are good researchers and usually have a creative flair. With these qualities and skills, graduates pursue a variety of careers, including teaching, museum work, archeology, gallery direction, interior designer, art conservation, and supervision of visual resource collections. They are also welcome in most business settings and are prepared to enter graduate school in disciplines as diverse as environmental studies or law.
The Department of Art History teaches students to recognize, speak, and write, analytically and creatively, about art from cultures around the world. It is committed to forging links of knowledge and understanding within a diverse student body, with the greater Hartford community, and with parts of the international art world. The department fosters students’ understanding of how art is produced and interpreted, how different cultures develop modes of understanding, and how knowledge of art history can be used in the real world settings of exhibitions, collections, and education.
The Department of Art History offers students a wide variety of courses that cover art from around the globe—Western, African, Mesoamerican, and Asian—and creative traditions in painting, sculpture, graphic arts, decorative arts, ritual objects, architecture, photography, design, performance, experimental media, and eco-art. Special courses are given in museum and exhibition practices, in writing and research, and in the effects of cultural contact, migrations, and globalization on artistic traditions. The faculty’s professional projects bring students in contact with international artists and scholars and allow them access to local and regional art collections. Students are urged to study abroad and often take advantage of programs in Europe, Africa, Australia, and elsewhere around the globe. Images of world art are brought into class through the most recent technology. Classes are small and students receive individual attention.
Hartford has a vibrant arts community. It is the home of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the oldest public art museum in the nation with a world-renowned collection. Close by is the rapidly expanding New Britain Museum of American Art. Both offer internships to art history students, as do the Connecticut Historical Society, the Hill-Stead Museum, Real Art Ways, and several college and university galleries and private collections. The University itself houses a regionally acclaimed art gallery, as well as the Hartford Art School, where students can take studio courses to supplement their historical studies.