Based on the training and exposure they receive as part of our Art History program, as well as the personal mentoring they receive from our faculty, many of New College’s graduates in Art History go on to careers in teaching and/or museum and gallery work. Others successfully pursue a wide range of careers, including law, business and the Foreign Service.
Art History is the discipline concerned with the historical study of material objects, especially those that involve visual communication. It includes much of what is traditionally considered “Art,” such as works in fresco, oil paint, or marble by well-known artists (whether the traditional canon of “great masters” or contemporary art stars). But Art History can also be understood to encompass a broader range of material objects that are experienced visually and/or through other senses: not only artworks that were previously ignored and undervalued, but also items like films, advertisements, ceramics, posters, and quilts. Art historians study the ways in which artifacts, whether artworks or other elements of material culture, are composed and constructed so as to communicate a variety of messages to different groups of people.
At New College, students are expected to acquire a basic familiarity with the major periods and movements of western art, as well as some awareness of non-Western artistic traditions. They also become acquainted with the various methods currently practiced by art historians. Approaches to studying the history of art include both the traditional object-based analysis of style and subject matter and the interpretation of art in its broader cultural context using a variety of critical frameworks (such as social history, semiotics, feminist and gender theory, race and post-colonial theory, globalization, and visual and material culture). Students are encouraged to develop and pursue their own intellectual interests, arriving at their own definitions of what constitutes “Art” and formulating their own critical approaches to the material.
Direct contact with works of art is an essential component of the program. The Ringling Museum of Art, adjacent to New College, provides rich permanent collections, regularly scheduled exhibits, lectures, and films, and an excellent art library. Students are encouraged to undertake museum internships and to pursue opportunities for study and travel abroad. The study of art history may serve as pre-professional training leading to a careers in teaching, arts administration, and various forms of museum and gallery work. Training in art history has also proved to be valuable preparation for a wide range of careers, including law, business, and the Foreign Service.
The program offers a range of courses and tutorials in four major historical periods: Ancient/Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, Modern, and Contemporary. Representative course offerings in art history include: Global Perspectives in Art History; Consuming the Visual Arts in Late 19th Century Paris; Public Art and its Public(s) in the United States; The Gothic Cathedral; Saints and Sinners: Art, Gender, and Spirituality; Caravaggio and His Era.
An Area of Concentration in Art History normally includes the following:
Associate Permissions Director
Art Resource, New York City
Images and Rights Coordinator
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Tibbals Curator of Circus
The Ringling Museum, Sarasota
Assistant Professor of Art and Art History
University of Utah
Director of Communications
Society of Architectural Historians, Chicago
These pathways show how you could complete the AOC requirements within four years at New College or within two years after earning an associate’s degree. Please consult with your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate courses for your area of concentration.