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.