A quintessential “liberal art,” art history engages with art as it spans time and cultures.

The major will help you develop a high degree of visual and verbal literacy through an appreciation for art and architecture, along with an ability to decode an image-saturated world. It is an excellent lens to explore history, languages, literature, religion, philosophy, and social sciences. Courses focus on periods (e.g., Contemporary Art; Art of the Hellenistic Age); cultures (e.g., Islamic Art; American Art; East Asian Art), medium (e.g., History of Photography), and themes (e.g., Portraiture; Introduction to the Art Museum)

Life After Lawrence

Lawrentians can enjoy careers in...

Art therapy, museum curation, conservation, museum education, elementary/secondary art education, graphic design, interior design, higher education, archivists, entrepreneurs, law

Recent employers include...

Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Milwaukee Museum of Art, Northern Illinois University, MoMA, The Shelburne Museum, Walker Art Center, Trout Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York

Lawrentians can earn advanced degrees in...

Art history, business administration and management, law, medicine, medieval and Renaissance studies, museum studies

Recent schools include...

Case Western Reserve University, Courtauld Institute, Columbia University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Rhode Island School of Design, Tufts University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh, USC, Williams College, Yale University

Access great works right on campus.

The Wriston Art Center Galleries possess one of the finest permanent collections in Wisconsin, with important collections of German Expressionism, Japanese prints and ancient and Byzantine coins. The galleries stage temporary exhibitions by national and international artists.

Curate your own exhibition.

Lawrentians have put on their own exhibitions in the Wriston Art Center and the Mudd Gallery. Some examples: Heads Up! Visualizing the Past Through Ancient Coins; Stripped Down: Understanding the Female Nude; A Roman Retrospective; Out of Place: The Obsolescence of Artifacts; Rebuilding A Nation: Depression Era Prints.

Experience art abroad.

Study art history for a term—or longer—through Lawrence’s London Centre, our ACM program in Florence, Italy, ACM Japan at Waseda University, or the ACM Newberry Library (Chicago) program.

Complement your coursework through internships.

In addition to the Wriston Galleries and other local art and history museums, art history majors also take on nationally competitive internships. Our majors have interned at the Cloisters and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum, among others.

Components of the Major

Introduction to Art History

Advanced coursework in periods: Ancient; East Asian; Medieval and Renaissance; and Modern and Contemporary
One upper division course

One course in studio art

Two art history electives

Senior Seminar
 Advanced students research independently in topics and themes such as: Art Deco, Augustan Propaganda, Gender and Collecting, Performance Art, Renaissance Prints, Textiles, The Environment & Frank Lloyd Wright 

Course descriptions and more courses

The Chandler Senior Experience

Study culminates in Senior Seminar, a one-term course in which you’ll develop projects to produce your own original writing of art history. As part of Senior Experience, students have been awarded grants allowing them to conduct research in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York. 

Recent Senior Experiences include:


What’s Expected of Us? Interpreting the Works of Félix González-Torres

Mondrian Madness: Fashioning Modernism in 1965

Raman Spectroscopy in the Identification of Pigments and its Effect on Manuscript Study