Department of Fine Arts

Bachelor of Arts in Art History

Study of the history of art cultivates a deep understanding of humanity’s fundamental impulse to create. The history of art traces how artists across all time periods and geographical regions confront their environment and society, and thereby produce artifacts of lasting resonance and insight into the cultural practices of their age. Such acts of visual expression find diverse articulation across a wide range of media, including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, graphic arts, film, performance and video.

A global perspective is fundamental to our curriculum. In association with the Rose Art Museum, the department also provides extraordinary resources for the study of twentieth-century and contemporary art.

The art history major emphasizes the modes of inquiry it shares with other fields that analyze cultural activity, such as semiotics, social history, psychoanalysis, and gender studies, as inflected through its unique competency in visual analysis. Through the range of courses undertaken, the student is encouraged to develop a focus that reflects their own intellectual and personal interests.

Why Brandeis?

Brandeis is home to a thriving arts scene. In addition to state-of-the-art studios, we boast the renowned Rose Art Museum, an extraordinary 8,000-piece collection of European and American modernism, American social realism of the 1920s and 1930s, surrealism and more. Our department often partners with the Mandel Center for the Humanities to offer lectures and artists talks. And every year Brandeis celebrates its artists through the Leonard Bernstein Festival of Creative Arts, a multi-day showcase of drama, comedy, dance, art exhibitions, poetry readings and music.

What’s more, nearby Boston and the surrounding area is a locus for superlative art institutions, including the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Peabody Essex Museum and Harvard University’s many museums.

Academics and Research

Faculty Excellence

Outside the Classroom

Graduate Study, Career Opportunities and Alumni

“Art history matters because we need people in our world who are observers. People who can pause, look at something, notice the details and create dialogue around that thing. Through art history, I've become a better viewer, more detail-oriented, and a more informed person.”

Tova Perlman ’18