Why Study Art History?

Gilbert & George   (English , 20th Century) Gilbert Proesch  (born 1943) George Passmore   (born 1942 ) The Tree 1978 Sixteen gelatin silver prints 95.2 x 79.3 in. Gift of the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation

Gilbert & George   (English, 20th Century)
Gilbert Proesch  (b. 1943)
George Passmore   (b. 1942 )
The Tree (1978)
Sixteen gelatin silver prints
95.2 x 79.3 in.
Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
    Gift of the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation 

VCUarts undergraduate students who major in art history are intellectually curious about the world. They come to understand it as a vast array of time and place; filled with artworks that resonate with various cultures, ideas, rebellions, and traditions.

Students who major in art history enjoy conducting visual analyses, especially whilst standing face-to-face with original works of art that reside in museums, galleries, sacred buildings, or public spaces around the globe. They also have an ambition to refine their communication skills in order to describe accurately and to interpret appropriately what they see. They realize that the study of art history is directly related to understanding a whole range of visual communications that they encounter daily, and they are perpetually intrigued by the ways in which visually communicated ideas are saturated with philosophies, ideologies, and debates.

At the same time that students study visual histories, they recognize that art history offers a means to hone highly transferable skills—reading critically and analytically; conducting visual analysis; formulating intriguing research questions; effectively citing trustworthy sources to support well-reasoned assertions; and writing carefully crafted, compelling texts about complex, often abstract ideas.

Many VCU art history undergraduate students are double majors, or they minor in art history while completing degrees in graphic design, business, history, fashion merchandising or design, cinema, religious studies, world studies, or studio art. As they become informed viewers and museum visitors, the one thing they hold in common is the belief that art history enriches their lives regardless of their personal and professional pursuits.