The Art History program at Wheaton examines the artistic traditions of all periods and places. While our curriculum is particularly strong in the history of architecture, printmaking, painting, and sculpture it also encompasses the history of sculpture, photography, decorative arts, graphic media, and material as well as performative culture. To develop and sharpen student's visual literacy we emphasize close, object-based study in Wheaton’s Permanent Collection and Gebbie Archives & Special Collections and in museum collections in Boston, Providence, and New York. Specialized research in areas of the student's choice is strongly encouraged. Because our pedagogy is founded upon the intersection between art and social history, we encourage the practice of a politically responsible art history -- one that weighs and interprets the stories that works of art tell concerning their cultures of origin, and one that considers the works' navigation of the contemporary world. Our program's emphasis upon critical thinking and its strong commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry prepares students for a variety of professions, including architecture, museum and gallery work, conservation/preservation, graduate work in the history of art and architecture, as well as teaching, law, medicine and business.
The art history major consists of at least 12 semester courses.
These 12 courses include:
- The senior seminar (ARTH 401)
- The 2-partite survey Arts of the Western Tradition (ARTH111/ARTH211) taught in the fall, and Arts of Africa, the Near East and the Americas (ARTH112), taught in the spring. It is highly recommended that these courses be taken in sequence (ARTH 111 or ARTH 211, followed by ARTH 112).
- 2 semesters of coursework in Studio Art:
One must be either Two-Dimensional Design ARTS111, Three-Dimensional Design ARTS112 or Drawing I ARTS 116. The other may be any 100- or 200-level Studio Art course. Any 100-level Studio Art course must be taken before the senior year.
7 additional courses divided in these categories:
- 1 Ancient course
- 1 Medieval course
- 1 Early and Pre-Modern (1400-1800) course
- 2 Modern and Contemporary (1800-present) courses
- 1 Beyond the West course
- 1 Museum Studies course
For the major, the college requires at least three courses at the 300 level or above.
Explicit learning goals
In line with our mission, a major in art history at Wheaton College will allow the students to:
- Be fluent in visual literacy
- Recognize and adequately discuss formal qualities
Learning outcomes / Art History / Written in the fall semester of 2013
- Effectively use objects as primary sources
- Enhance their skills in the articulation of art historical analysis through various forms of oral presentations
- Have the ability to translate visual qualities into clear writing
- Construct and write papers that successfully use visual productions as primary documents
- Situate works within their intellectual contexts, informed by historical evidence and be able to communicate this knowledge orally and in writing
- Be familiar with a paradigmatic canon of visual productions, spanning several centuries
- Synthesize information critically so as to present well-constructed arguments in oral and written forms
- Understand the place of art history as a field of inquiry within a larger humanistic and interdisciplinary discourse
- Articulate the relevance of visual productions as the evidence of and also as a catalyst of historical, social, political, and intellectual movements
- Be able to engage critically with debates pertaining to the discipline of art history, as well as those related to the wider art community, including galleries and museums
- Be familiar with and able to apply various methodologies to further disciplinary inquiries
- Have a concrete understanding of the ways in which they will apply their knowledge toward professional pursuits