At Muhlenberg, Art History and Studio Art are housed together in the Art Department, located in the Baker Center for the Arts. We believe that each discipline informs the other, providing students with a more complete understanding of their area of interest.
As part of the liberal arts, introductory art history courses are designed for students from any discipline and often fulfill general education requirements. Art history classes include both general historical surveys and in-depth analyses of particular periods. The department offers both a major and minor in art history.
Art Department Mission Statement
The Department of Art provides pathways for students to explore art, visual creativity, and art history within the liberal arts tradition. Studio art and art history majors develop the elements of visual literacy and performance, including observational proficiency, basic media-specific skills, understanding of historical context, the ability to analyze and articulate these visual issues, and produce independent work. The curriculum is designed to prepare art history and studio art majors to meet the entrance requirements of graduate programs in art history, studio art, and art education, or to prepare them with skills in creative visual expression and critical analysis that are assets in many career paths.
The Art History Major & Minor
The curriculum of the art history major and minor is designed to prepare students to describe, analyze, and interpret visual art in light of social, political, religious, racial, economic, and aesthetic issues, and to understand the fundamental methodological issues of the field. Art history majors may undertake an internship in museum/gallery studies or an independent study in research methods/intensive reading. Our majors are encouraged to double major/minor, study abroad, and take interdisciplinary courses outside of the department. Students may now also double major/minor in Art History & Studio Art.
Program Goals for Art History
- Develop a fundamental understanding of art in a social, political, and economic context.
- Practice visual analysis: careful, detailed description leading to interpretation based on visual evidence.
- Learn to write analytically using visual evidence and library research.
- Become acquainted with art historical methodologies.
Program Goals Shared by Art History and Studio Art
- Demonstrate an understanding of visual language in its role of imparting meaning.
- Acquire critical thinking skills and the ability to articulate concepts and present arguments.
- Effectively communicate issues and aspects of visual experience and culture in oral and written arguments, and studio projects.
Art History Major Requirements (9 Courses)
The new curricula outlined above will roll out in the Fall of 2023. Students who already took the previous versions of requirements will have those past courses counted. See the AY 22_23 catalog for the previous version of the major and minor.
The art history major consists of two introductory art history courses and seven additional courses.
- ARH 101: Art Histories: An Introduction
- ARH 102: History of Western Art or ARH 103: Art of the Americas or ARH 104: Art of Africa or ARH 105: Art of Asia
- CUE Methods of Art History
- Writing Intensive Course in Art History
- Five additional courses in art history (with one ARS course option)
Art History Minor Requirements (5 Courses)
- ARH101: Art Histories: An Introduction
- 1 writing intensive course in Art History
- 3 additional courses in Art History or Studio Art (maximum 1 ARS)
Art History Courses
Core courses for the major and minor are taught regularly. The majority of advanced art history courses are offered on a three-year rotating schedule. The department offers additional art history courses every year as special topics, through college-wide interdisciplinary programs, and the LVAIC consortium listed here.
See the Catalog
Hilighting new courses in the revised major and minor requirements:
ARH 101 Art Histories: An Introduction: This lecture course introduces students to art history as a global and interdisciplinary field. Students will develop the looking skills and visual vocabulary to think and write about art from critical and analytical perspectives. The course will be organized chronologically around a set of themes. Particular attention will be paid to examining art history as a discipline and developing skills to look critically at works of art from various world cultures and their interpretations. Meets general academic requirement HU.
ARH102: Introduction to Western Art: A survey of the major works of architecture, painting, and sculpture of Western Civilization from the prehistoric period to the modern era. Elements of style and the relationship of the work of art to its historical era are stressed. Meets general academic requirement HU.
ARH103: Introduction to Art of the Americas [was Special Topic ARH 183]: A survey of the major works of art and architecture in the Americas from the earliest civilizations to the modern era. Elements of style and the relationship of the work of art to its historical era are stressed. Meets general academic requirement HU.
ARH104: Introduction to the Art of Africa [formerly Special Topic ARH 285]: A survey of the major works of art and architecture in Africa from the earliest civilizations to the modern era. Elements of style and the relationship of the work of art to its historical era are stressed. Meets general academic requirement HU.
ARH105: Introduction to the Art of Asia: A survey of the major works of art and architecture in Asia from the earliest civilizations to the modern era. Elements of style and the relationship of the work of art to its historical era are stressed.
ARH205: Modern Architecture
How to Declare an Art History Major or Minor
- Pick up a “Field of Study Declaration” form from the Registrar or online here.
- Get current advisor’s signature to drop undeclared status/ drop current major or minor (if needed).
- Email Art Department Chair Margo Hobbs (email@example.com) to set up an appointment.
- Get the Art Department Chair’s signature. You may request a specific advisor. Students typically get their first choice of advisor unless that faculty already has a full advising load.
For more information on advising and declaring a major/minor at Muhlenberg visit the Registrar's FAQ page.