The St. George Department of Art History furnishes students with the ability to examine, reflect upon, and write about visual representations. If, as is often claimed, the experience of contemporary culture is one in which the visual has eclipsed the other senses, then the skills associated with the history of art have certainly become indispensable to navigating our world.
The range of course offerings in the department is extraordinary. The Department of Art History provides students with the opportunity to explore the history of art and architecture of Europe, North America, and South and East Asia, and surveys all periods from the Bronze Age to the present. The program examines the transmission of ideas by means of visual images and architectural forms, conceived and expressed by individuals or by whole societies and civilizations. Some courses range widely, both geographically and temporally, while others focus on special artistic forms, traditions or an individual artist.
Through the department’s close relationship with the Royal Ontario Museum, a number of specialized seminars are taught each year by members of the curatorial staff. Students have a unique opportunity to engage with works of art firsthand, and to learn from the professionals who care for and study these objects. Recent such seminars have ranged from ancient Chinese jades to contemporary textiles, all drawing upon the remarkable collections of the Museum.
The exploration of the objects through which societies and individuals produce meaning is a central component of a humanistic education. The unequalled range and depth in which undergraduates in this department may do so make an undergraduate program of study in the history of art an intellectually demanding and exceedingly useful pursuit.
Recognizing the importance of a geographically and temporally diverse base of knowledge, the FAH undergraduate programs require students to study a wide range of aesthetic production, while still allowing for a focus on the areas of particular interest to each student.
FAH102H1 is a required course for all FAH programs. It is an introduction to the history of art, architecture, and allied arts that examines a wide range of objects, selected and discussed in connection with a special theme to be selected by the instructor. The topic for each semester will vary based on the instructor but attention will be given to developing essential art historical skills necessary for upper level courses. Students are encouraged to take this class early in their progress toward completion of an FAH program.
Half courses at the 200-level are more comprehensive surveys that thematically introduce the material from specific chronological periods, regional areas, or the history of architecture. Many of these courses, which are offered on a regular basis, serve as “gateway” prerequisites for courses at the 300 and 400 level.