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The History of Art

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The Department of Art offers a rich menu of historical courses covering the visual culture of most of the world's regions. Beginning with 100-level introductory courses, students may progress through lecture courses, colloquia and seminars encompassing art and architecture from ancient to modern times. Courses are regularly offered on the art of Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Courses in the history of art are prefixed ARH. Some art history courses (colloquia and seminars) have limited enrollment. Students planning to major in art history will find courses in literature, philosophy, religion and history taken in the first two years valuable. A reading knowledge of foreign languages will be helpful for some historical courses. Each of the historical courses may require one or more trips to Boston, New York or other places in the vicinity for the study of original works of art.


Martin Antonetti, Brigitte Buettner, John Davis, Craig Felton, Laura Kalba, Barbara Kellum, Dana Leibsohn, John Moore, Marylin Rhie, Frazer Ward

Requirements for the Major

Students entering Smith College in the fall 2013 semester or after are subject to the following requirements. All others have the option of following this set of requirements, or the one in effect when they arrived at the college or declared their major (see Smith College Course Catalog).

No course counting toward the fulfillment of the major or minor may be taken for an S/U grade. Courses associated with a concentration (such as IDP, ARX, etc.) cannot be counted toward the completion of the art major.

Courses in the history of art are divided into areas that reflect breadth in terms of both geography and chronology.

Eleven courses, (pending CAP approval) at least one of which must address the Americas, one Europe, and one another geographic area (e.g. Asia, Africa, the Islamic World). Requirements thus include:

  1. ARH 110 Art and Its Histories*, normally to be completed before the junior year
  2. One course in studio art
  3. Six courses in the history of art at the 200 level, consisting of a mixture of lecture courses and colloquia
  • two courses are from Group I: Before 1300
  • two courses are from Group II: 130–1800
  • two courses are from Group III: After 1800
  1. Three courses at the 290 level and above, one of which has to be a seminar (to be taken at Smith)

*Students entering Smith with a 5 on the AP art history exam may choose to be exempted from ARH 110, replacing it with another art history course at the 200 level or above.