- Programs of Study
The Art History program of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts teaches the essential art historical methodologies through the examination of artworks and creators.
A Personal Program
"The faculty was so supportive and accommodating. If there was a period of art you wanted to study and there was not a class for it, they did their best to fit it into the schedule," Claire Cole, Class of '07
Art History explores the cultural, historical and social contexts of art. Through close examination of prominent periods and producers, students develop skills - critical analysis, research and communication - necessary for success in careers in the arts and other professional fields.
Our program covers the complete spectrum of Western Art, from ancient civilizations in Greece and Rome, to the Medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe, to the contemporary scene of American art. Our studies have recently expanded outside of Western Art, adding courses in pre-Columbian Art to the curriculum and plans to develop classes in Islamic Art for the Spring 2011 semester.
Our faculty encourage students to make their educational experiences their own. They help identify specific interests and work with students to form an educational plan.
An Interactive Experience
"The subject matter, though, did not end with the classroom slideshows. We benefited from exploring the St. Louis area - art is interesting in the classroom, but it really comes alive when it is right in front of you," M. Tray Ridlen, Class of '07
Art isn't static. It requires creators, patrons, observers and general viewers. And art requires an active body and mind to critically examine it.
Staying true to this principle, SLU Art History students explore art from multiple art historical angles and varying lenses. As an interdisciplinary field, we also use the tools from a variety of humanities disciplines - history, music, philosophy, theology, among others - to enrich our studies.
But we don't limit the student experience to the classroom. Our students take advantage of the active arts community at the University and in the surrounding St. Louis area. Museums such as the Samuel Cupples House, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) and St. Louis Art Museum offer students a chance to interact with the artists and periods they discover in the classroom.
Many of our majors choose to explore new perspectives through an internship. Our program offers students opportunities in St. Louis and across the country, including many prominent galleries and museums. As interns, students work within the professional art scene. Outside of the classroom, Art History majors find out firsthand what a career in the arts can hold - preparing exhibitions, curating collections, even preparing and presenting lectures and tours for the public.
A Basis for Greatness
"Studying Art History at St. Louis University gave me not only the knowledge, but the confidence to go to graduate school and begin a career in the museum world," Liz Menz
So what does a degree in Art History mean for you? It means employability. Our students are employed in many galleries and museums in the area and across the country, including Art STL and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Our program also prepares students for careers outside the arts as well, from marketing and advertising to law and journalism.
Many students decide to continue their education, leaving SLU students equipped to enter internationally recognized graduate programs. Here, they intensify their studies while refining their interests. Our program prepares students for the rigors of graduate school, fostering an open mind and attitude ready to challenge comfort zones.
For more information, contact Professor Deborah Douglas, Program Director at 314-977-3501.