Art History opens your eyes. It teaches you to look deeply and searchingly. It explores the visual cultures of diverse peoples, places, and times. Emphasizing critical, historical, and linguistic skills, as well as creativity and innovation, Art History offers a bridge between traditional, language-based fields in the humanities and the creative worlds of art, architecture, and performance. The study of Art History will change the way you look not only at paintings and statues but also advertisements and any visual phenomenon. Art History is more than the History of Art. It’s a way to look at the world.

Suggested beginning course of study

We suggest that students begin their study of Art History by enrolling in one of our introductory courses: ARTH 1: Introduction to the History of Art I (offered in Fall term); ARTH 2: Introduction to the History of Art II (offered in Winter term), and ARTH 4: Introduction to World Architecture (generally offered every other Spring). However, our middle level courses, numbered 16 through 76, are open to all students without prerequisites. The Department also offers a Foreign Study Program in Rome every spring.

Statement of Purpose

The Art History Department at Dartmouth teaches analytical skills that encourage probing and inquiring approaches to visual experience. Although one of our fundamental aims is to prepare our students for graduate study in Art History and therefore for careers in this field, we also seek to equip students, whether majors or not, with skills — especially in visual analysis, logical reasoning, critical reading and writing, and public speaking — that will serve them well in any number of professions.

The department is committed to bringing global perspectives to bear on our curriculum. We always seek ways to expand and diversify the materials we teach and the perspectives we bring to bear on visual culture. We hope to familiarize students not only with the canonical works of our discipline but also with the many ways in which the canon is constantly being questioned, broadened, and reworked. We value the varied insights that our students bring to our classes and welcome young scholars from any background and academic field of study. We aspire to a culture of inclusion, respect, anti-racism, and acceptance of difference among students, staff, and faculty.