Art History


The Department of Art and Architecture offers three independent, yet vastly integrated, programs of study: Architecture, Art History and Studio Art. Art History and Studio offer a disciplinary major, a B.A., and minor.

Art History majors choose from an array of courses covering all periods of the art and architecture of America, Europe, Asia, the African diaspora, and the Islamic world. Advanced courses focus more intensively on specific issues: the life of a major artist, the history of an important movement, gender in art, texts and images, ecology and contemporary art, and even exhibit planning and design.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in Art History or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Art History Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 12 courses

Two courses from ARTH 101, ARTH 102, ARTH 103, or ARTH 110; at the 200-level or higher, one course in ancient or medieval art, one course in Asian art, one course in Renaissance or Baroque art, one course in American or modern art, a 300-level course, a 400-level capstone course, two art history electives, and two studio art courses.

Requirements for the Art History Minor

disciplinary, 6 courses

ARTH 101, ARTH 102, ARTH 103, or ARTH 110; one studio art course; and four additional art history courses.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses in architecture, art history and studio art, each designed to provide students with a foundation in visual culture as well as the creative means of discovery and self-expression.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making Art History a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

ARTH 201 African American Art


Discover some of the contributions Black artists have made to American art by studying significant movements like the evolution of the Black aesthetic and the emergences of civil rights and Black pride. Expand your understanding of the arts by enrolling in ALST 225, African-American Culture, and study more elements of African American culture like literature, dance, film, music and visual arts.

ARTH 336/436 Arts of the Landscape and the Garden in China and Japan


Examine East Asian traditions of landscape painting, pictorial representations of gardens, and the historic gardens of Suzhou and Kyoto, while exploring how these works of art play upon the dichotomy of nature and artifice. Then, learn about how economic development has affected the environment of East Asia by enrolling in ASN 215 Environment and Development in East Asia.

ARTH 332/432 Roman Imperial Art and Politics


Consider the use Roman politicians made of art and architecture to shape public understanding of Roman imperial ideologies throughout three empires. Then enroll in CLAS 251, Romans: Republic to Empire, and trace the political evolution of Rome from royal to republican to imperial.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.