If you want to learn about visual art and the history of the world, from the Paleolithic to the contemporary, there’s no better method than through the lens of visual culture.
Studies in art history strengthen your understanding of art and culture by examining, analyzing, and interpreting works of art. Art history at Rollins embraces an interdisciplinary approach by integrating techniques from archaeology, anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, political science, religion, and sociology.
As an art history major, you’ll gain a broad range of flexible skills that will prepare you for the rapidly changing 21st-century job market, including critical and creative thinking, visual literacy, writing, research, global history, and diversity.
Why Study Art History at Rollins
Discerning Approach to Media
You’ll learn to be critical and skeptical consumers of images, both historical and contemporary, which will prepare you for both grad school and a variety of careers, from museum professions to medicine and law.
With an eye toward global citizenship, art historians explore world cultures through their aesthetic traditions. On field studies to places like Rome and Athens you’ll apply what you’re learning in class to the real world.
Through volunteer and internship experiences with local museums, like Rollins’ very own Cornell Fine Arts Museum and its Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, students gain hands-on professional experience.
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“Majoring in art history at Rollins was incredibly valuable because the major trains students to construct strong written arguments supported by both documentary and material/visual evidence and gives them the skills they need to defend their ideas verbally. These two things have become fundamental to my day-to-day life. While at Rollins, I received incredible mentorship from professors without which I certainly would not be on the path I am today.”
Rollins Art History Careers
Rollins art history grads are making tomorrow happen at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions and innovative organizations.
Christian Bromley ’12
Associate Attorney, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Katherine Gundeck '11
Wealth Advisor Associate, Morgan Stanley; Gallery Assistant, Christie’s
Hannah Lewis '13
Medical Student, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Morgan Metzger '15
Associate Attorney, O’Connell + Crispin Ackal
Andrea Stahlman '13
Assistant Director of Admissions, Cornell University
Daniel Zietlow ’10
Producer, Director, Videographer, and Editor, Earth Initiatives; Education Generalist, UNAVCO, Inc.
Real World Experience
From community engagement courses to internships and research, students hone their skills in the real world.
Rollins art history courses help you develop a sophisticated understanding of the relationships between art, history, and culture through examination, analysis, and interpretation of art. Studies begin with broad surveys and conclude with you co-curating an exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
ARH 140 Introduction to Global Art
Examine artwork from the Middle East to Japan to Africa, taking a close look at sculpture, painting, architecture, pottery, textiles, and photography as well as the relationship between form and function.
ARH 217 Art and Archaeology of the Roman Empire
Take a deep dive into the material culture of Roman society, with emphasis on the ways in which Rome, the first globalized culture, negotiated some of the same problems of globalization that we face today.
ARH 243 Fashion in Africa
Trace African fashion from cloth to everyday clothing and high-fashion catwalks between the 19th century and today. Explore how African dress reveals information about culture, history, political systems, religious worship, gendered relations, and social organization.
ARH 327 Rome: Caravaggio & Bernini
Explore the prolific developments in painting, sculpture, and architecture in the Roman High Baroque period through the lens of the art and lives of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and Gianlorenzo Bernini.
ARH 368 Picturing War
Examine the historical contexts and rhetorical strategies of the imagery of war in the Western world, including painting, architecture, public monuments, and mass media.
ARH 404 Museum Studies Practicum
Analyze the development of museums, interrogate issues of display, and participate in actual museum work. Students will apply art history skills to a professional exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
A Day in the Life of a Rollins Art History Major
“Rollins has been the perfect place for me to explore different aspects of history and grow as a researcher and writer with the support of professors who really care about me both academically and personally. At Rollins, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad and immerse myself in another culture while being surrounded by history and art.”
Beyond the Classroom
Study Abroad Many of our students spend time at places of great artistic and historical import, such as Trinity College in Rome, IAU in Aix-en-Provence, American University in Paris, and on full-year studies in Athens.
Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program Our expert faculty and industrious students work together on scholarly research for professional publication or exhibition, such as repatriation of artworks; studies on historic Venetian social institutions; African textiles, clothing, and adornment; as well as other topics of global-historical significance.
Archaeological Excavations Rollins’ art history students have been active participants on excavation teams at Murlo, near Siena, Italy, and Poggio Colla, near Florence, as well as at other sites around the world. Students working on archaeological sites have served as unit supervisors and even engaged in independent research projects.
At Rollins, you’ll study under faculty with wide-ranging expertise. Our professors are scholars who help you connect with the broader academic and museum community, assist you in choosing graduate programs, and act as role models for your own research and writing.
Department of Art & History
Kim Dennis, PhD
Professor of Art History
Research interests: Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture, with a particular interest in women’s involvement in the arts as artists, patrons, and subjects
Susan Libby, PhD
Professor of Art History
Research interests: European art, with an emphasis on colonialism and construction of race and gender; contemporary cultural property disputes
MacKenzie Moon Ryan, PhD
Associate Professor of Art History
Research interests: African and global art, especially textiles, fashion, trade, colonialism, cross-cultural exchange, and museum studies
Robert Vander Poppen, PhD
Associate Professor of Classical Art & Archaeology
Research interests: Ancient art and archaeology, emphasizing the negotiation of social and cultural tensions between imperial powers and native communities