Art History & Visual Culture

Program Overview

The study of Art History & Visual Culture provides essential tools for experiencing and understanding humanity's creative visual achievements, while enhancing critical thinking and communication skills. The program in Art History & Visual Culture offers a curriculum covering the major periods of Western civilization, Asia, the Americas, and Africa, as well as museum studies. Students explore contemporary developments in art and art history within our global society.

Among the many outstanding resources available to students are internships at the Fairfield University Art Museum's Bellarmine Hall Galleries and Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, specially arranged visits to major museums in New York and Connecticut with behind-the-scenes tours, internships at New York and regional museums and cultural organizations, and research using the Fairfield University Arts Museum's collection and the historic Plaster Cast Collection.

Many Art History & Visual Culture majors enrich their experi­ence further by spending a semester or year studying abroad. Our alumni work in museums, galleries, and auction houses as well as in education, law, the non-profit sector, marketing, public relations, development and fundraising, publishing, as well as nearly every occupation that requires observation, analysis, and communication. Our dedicated alumni are valuable resources for current students, returning to campus regularly to give career advice and participating in job shadow programs and intern hiring.

Students may choose the traditional Art History & Visual Culture major, or an Art History & Visual Culture major with a concentration in Visual Arts Administration.

Follow the exciting activities and artistic adventures of our students, alumni and faculty on Fairfield's Visual Arts Tumblr blog.

Students in introductory Art History courses should be able to meet the following learning outcomes:

Demonstrate factual knowledge within the discipline of Art History; demonstrate understanding and appreciation of art as a cultural activity; apply course material in order to improve critical thinking and problem solving; find and use resources effectively to answer questions and solve problems.

 

Students in upper-level semi­nars should be able to show proficiency in the above outcomes, as well as:

Demonstrate writing and research skills necessary in the field of Art History; demonstrate creative capacities in oral and written expression;analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view.

Requirements

Art History & Visual Culture Major

For a 30-credit Art History & Visual Culture major, students:

  1. Complete two of the following survey courses (six credits):
    • AH 10: Origins and Transformations in Western Art
    • AH 11: Visual Culture Since 1400: Expression and Experimentation
    • AH 13: Art of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas
    • AH 14: Art of Asia
    • AH 15: History of Architecture
  2. Complete three 100-level courses (nine credits). Students are advised to take courses from a range of time periods and geographical locations.
    • AH 102: Art of East Asia
    • AH 109: Jewish Art: Moses to Modernity
    • AH 111: Greek Art and Archaeology
    • AH 112: Etruscan and Roman Art and Archaeology
    • AH 113: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
    • AH 120: Medieval Art of Western Europe
    • AH 121: Celtic and Early Irish Art
    • AH 130: Early Renaissance Art in Italy
    • AH 131: High Renaissance and Mannerism in Italy
    • AH 140: Baroque Art
    • AH 152: Modern Art
    • AH 161: American Architecture
    • AH 164: American Art: Civil War to Civil Rights
    • AH 165: The Black Experience: African- American Art and Criticism in the 20th and 21st Century
    • AH 172: History of Photography
    • AH 175: Contemporary Art
    • AH 191: Art and Mythologies of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Bolshevik Russia: Comparative Systems/Outcomes
    • AH 192: The History, Theory, and Practice of Museums
    • AH 193: Inside Museums & Galleries: Taste/Place/Public Spaces
  3. Complete one of the following 200-level courses (three credits):
    • AH 209: The Historic Plaster Cast Collection at Fairfield University
    • AH 210: Myth in Classical Art
    • AH 221: The Arts of Ireland and the British Isles, 500-1000
    • AH 222: Byzantine Art
    • AH 290: Special Topics Seminar
    • AH 292: Museums, Art, Ethics and the Law
  4. Complete three additional art history courses at the 100 or 200-level (nine credits)
  5. Complete AH 330: Senior Capstone Seminar (spring semester of senior year) (three credits)
  6. Other courses available to advanced students (only one can be counted toward the Art History Major):
    • AH 300: Independent Study
    • AH 310: Internship 

 

Art History & Visual Culture Major With a Concentration in Visual Arts Administration

  1. Complete two of the following foundational courses (six credits):
    • AH 10: Origins and Transformations in Western Art
    • AH 11: Visual Culture Since 1400: Expression and Experimentation
    • AH 13: Art of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas
    • AH 14: Art of Asia
    • AH 15: History of Architecture
  2. Complete one Art History & Visual Culture course at the 100-level, one at the 200-level, and one 100-level or higher (nine credits)
  3. Complete at least one of the following museum-themed courses (three credits):
    • AH 192: The History, Theory and Practice of Museums
    • AH 193: Inside Museums & Galleries: Taste/Place/Publics Space
    • AH 292: Museums, Art, Ethics, and the Law
  4. Complete one of the following Dolan School of Business courses (three credits):
    • AC 11: Introduction to Financial Accounting
    • MG 101: Introduction to Management in Organizations
    • MG 240: Leading and Managing People
    • MG 335: Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
    • MG 370: Managing Non-Profit Organizations
    • MK 101: Principles of Marketing
  5. Complete EN/W 339: Grant and Proposal Writing (three credits)
  6. Complete one Art History internship (three credits):
    • AH 310: Internship
  7. Complete senior capstone seminar (three credits):
    • AH 330: Senior Seminar

It is recommended that AE 291: Business Ethics be one of the courses taken for fulfillment of Core area #3. Additional courses in area #4 above are recommended as electives

 

Art History & Visual Culture Minor

For an 18-credit Art History & Visual Cultureminor, students:

  1. Complete two of the following survey courses (six credits):
    • AH 10: Origins and Transformations in Western Art
    • AH 11: Visual Culture Since 1400: Expression and Experimentation
    • AH 13: Art of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas
    • AH 14: Art of Asia
    • AH 15: History of Architecture
  2. Complete four art history courses at the 100-level or higher (12 credits) (AH 310 may not be used. At least three art history courses must be taken while in resi­dence at Fairfield.)

Course Offerings

Note:

All courses count for the history/theory credit towards the Visual and Performing Arts component of the University core curriculum.

A = Applied 
H = History

  • AH 10: Origins and Transformations in Western Art (H)
  • AH 11: Visual Culture Since 1400: Expression and Experimentation (H)
  • AH 13: Art of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas (H)
  • AH 14: Art of Asia (H)
  • AH 15: History of Architecture (H)
  • AH 102: Art of East Asia (H)
  • AH 109: Jewish Art: Moses to Modernity (H)
  • AH 111: Greek Art and Archaeology (H)
  • AH 112: Etruscan and Roman Art and Archaeology (H)
  • AH 113: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (H)
  • AH 120: Medieval Art of Western Europe (H)
  • AH 121: Celtic and Early Irish Art (H)
  • AH 130: Early Renaissance Art in Italy (H)
  • AH 131: High Renaissance and Mannerism in Italy (H)
  • AH 140: Baroque Art (H)
  • AH 152: Modern Art (H)
  • AH 161: American Architecture (H)
  • AH 164: American Art: Civil War to Civil Rights (H)
  • AH 165: The Black Experience: African-American Art in the 20th and 21st Centuries (H)
  • AH 172: History of Photography (H)
  • AH 175: Contemporary Art (H)
  • AH 191: Art and Mythologies of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Bolshevik Russia: Comparative Systems/Outcomes (H)
  • AH 192: The History, Theory, and Practice of Museums (H)
  • AH 193: Inside Museums & Galleries: Taste/Place/Publics Space (H)
  • AH 209: The Historic Plaster Cast Collection at Fairfield University (H)
  • AH 210: Myth in Classical Art (H)
  • AH 221: The Arts of Ireland and the British Isles, 500-1000 (H)
  • AH 222: Byzantine Art (H)
  • AH 290: Special Topics Seminar (H)
  • AH 291: The History, Theory, and Practice of Museums (H)
  • AH 292: Museums, Art, Ethics and the Law (H)
  • AH 300: Independent Study (H)
  • AH 310: Internship
  • AH 330: Senior Capstone Seminar (H)

See Art History & Visual Culture course descriptions from our catalog for more information 

Visual Arts Administration Concentration

The Art History program, in collaboration with Dolan School of Business, announces a new concentration for students interested in careers in museums, art galleries, non-profit arts organizations, and auction houses. The interdisciplinary major includes classes in art history, museum theory, grant-writing, management, and an internship at a New York City or local venue. Fairfield students have held internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Rubin Museum of Art (NYC), the Westport Art Center, Visual AIDS, the Fairfield Museum and Historical Society, and the Bellarmine Museum of Art on campus, among others. Through this concentration, students will gain theoretical background, skills, and experience. For more information on this program, contact Dr. Marice Rose.

Requirements/Curriculum:

  1. Complete two of the following foundational courses (six credits):
    • AH 10 Origins and Transformations in Western Art
    • AH 11 Visual Culture Since 1400: Expression and Experimentation
    • AH 13 Art of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas
    • AH 14 Art of Asia
    • AH 15 History of Architecture
  2. Complete one art history course at the 100-level, one at the 200-level, and one at 100-level or above (nine credits)
  3. Complete at least one of the following VPA courses (three credits):
    • AH 192 The History, Theory and Practice of Museums
    • AH 193 Inside Museums & Galleries: Taste/Place/Public Space
    • AH 292 Museums, Art, Ethics, and the Law
  4. Complete one of the following Dolan School of Business Courses (three credits):
    • AC 11 Introduction to Financial Accounting
    • MG 101 Introduction to Management in Organizations
    • MG 240 Leading and Managing People
    • MG 335 Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
    • MG 370 Managing Non-Profit Organizations
    • MK 101 Principles of Marketing
  5. Complete EN/W 339 Grant and Proposal Writing (three credits)
  6. Complete one Art History internship (three credits):
    • AH 310 Internship
  7. Complete senior capstone seminar (three credits):
    • AH 330 Senior Seminar

 

It is recommended that AE 291 Business Ethics be one of the courses taken for fulfillment of Core area 3. Additional business courses in #4 above are recommended as electives. 

Faculty

Director

0000_faculty-profile_rose_06062017

Marice Rose

Associate Professor

Visual & Performing Arts

Professors

0000_faculty-profile_schwab_06062017

Katherine Schwab

Director, School of Communication, Arts and Media

Professor

Visual & Performing Arts

Lecturers

Lauren Cesiro
M.A., State University of New York, Stonybrook

Ive Covaci
M.A., Stanford University, Yale University; Ph.D., Yale University

Megan Paqua
M.A., American University in Cairo

Dawn Pilotti
M.A., New York University

Alison Poe
M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers University

Linda Wolk-Simon
Ph.D., University of Michigan

 

VPA Coordinator

Melissa Roberto
CNS 3
Ext. 2459

Fairfield University Art Museum

The Fairfield University Art Museum

The Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery

Opened in 1990, the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery establishes direct and active connections with students and faculty in the Art History Program. As a practical study laboratory and host to diverse exhibitions and lectures, the gallery is a significant and visible symbol of the importance of the visual arts at Fairfield University.

vpa_ah_resource_1


The Bellarmine Hall Galleries

Opened in October of 2010, the museum is housed on the lower level of historic Bellarmine Hall, and features:

  • The Kress Collection of Italian Paintings
  • select works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Plaster Cast Collection at Fairfield. View pictures of them on display in Loyola Hall, room 14
  • an important loan of Byzantine, Medieval and Renaissance art from the Department of Medieval Art and the Cloisters Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • selections from the University's growing collection of art from Asia, Africa, and the Americas
  • 3-4 special exhibitions per year

Resources

The Visual Resources Collection

The Mutrux Visual Resources Collection (VRC) is the primary visual teaching resource and laboratory for the Art History Program, with state-of-the-art computer and digital imaging equipment. Many majors in the program like to work here for an insider's perspective on the teaching of art history and the Visual Resources profession.

 

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden at Bellarmine Hall was designed in 1926 by Arthur Asahel Shurcliff for the Walter B. Lasher family. Students are welcome to walk the paths and enjoy this charming outdoor space.

 

Special Events and Conferences

Regularly scheduled lectures, conferences, and symposia bring visiting scholars and artists to the campus, greatly adding to the depth of the Art History Program. Explore recent and upcoming events on the Bellarmine Museum calendar.

 

Traveling Exhibitions

The following two photography exhibitions were organized by Fairfield University and traveled to venues around the country.

  • The Creative Photograph in Archaeology (no longer available)
  • Photographs of the Athenian Acropolis: The Restoration Project (no longer available)
  • An Archaeologist's Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab (available - more information)

 

Regional Museums and Galleries

The galleries and museums of New York City are just an hour away by train. Nearby Connecticut museums include the:

  • Bruce Museum (Greenwich)
  • Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art (Ridgefield)
  • Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford)
  • Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven)
  • Yale Center for British Art (New Haven)

 

Follow the exciting activities and artistic adventures of our students, alumni and faculty on Fairfield's Visual Arts Tumblr blog.

Internships

Interns play critical roles in the day-to-day operations of the museums and galleries for which they work. They contribute in real and meaningful ways to the operation of the arts organizations to which they lend their time and talents. Through internships, students gain meaningful, hands-on experience, leaving them better prepared to evaluate their career options after graduation and enhancing their standing in an increasingly competitive job market.

In recent years, for example, art history majors and minors have held internships at:

  • UBS Corporate Art Collection in New York City
  • Westport Arts Center in Westport, Connecticut
  • Fairfield Arts Council in Fairfield, Connecticut
  • VisualAIDS in New York City

On campus, internships are available at the Bellarmine Museum of Art and the Walsh Art Gallery to students majoring or minoring in Art History.

Though areas of focus vary widely, interns at the Bellarmine Museum of Art can expect to engage in several of the following professional activities during any given semester:

  • Researching objects in the permanent collection
  • Researching loan objects slated for special exhibitions
  • Conducting provenance research
  • Installing and de-installing exhibitions
  • Creating educational programs for elementary, secondary and university students as well as life-long learners in the wider community
  • Leading educational tours for a range of constituencies
  • Assisting with marketing and PR efforts
  • Conducting research related to grant-writing and other fund-raising avenues

Caryatid Hairstyling Project

The Caryatid Hairstyling Project, spearheaded by Dr. Katherine Schwab in 2009, tested whether or not ancient Greek sculptors invented an artistic convention, or were inspired by actual hairstyles, when creating the marble Caryatid sculptures that adorn the South Porch of the Erechtheion on the Athenian Acropolis. The modern-day recreation of these elaborate hairstyles reflected a visual symbol that traveled through the ages of time to connect our Fairfield students with the maidens of Ancient Greece.

Life After Fairfield

Fairfield University Art History & Visual Culture Alumni

Hold graduate degrees in:

Art History, Law, Education, Business, Art Administration, Museum Studies, Art Business, Psychology, Film Studies, Interior Design, Osteopathy, Graphic Design, Occupational Therapy, Heritage Management, Veterinary Medicine, Economics


from universities including:

Yale University, Columbia University, New York University, Cornell University, University of Chicago, Rutgers University, Temple University, Boston University, University of Miami, Christies Education London, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Fordham University, Case Western Reserve University


Are working in the following places and fields:

Art museums (MoMA, MFA in Boston, Wadsworth Atheneum, Frick Collection), art galleries/dealers, non-profit organizations, universities (professors and administrators), development/fundraising, auction houses (Christies, Sotheby's, Bonhams), law firms, Connecticut State Supreme Court, finance, medicine, book and magazine publishing (Oxford University Press, Town and Country, TIME for Kids), elementary and secondary schools, historical societies, design firms, government agencies (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development), volunteer agencies (Peace Corps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Augustinian Volunteers), fashion marketing, public relations firms, marketing firms, computer software, real estate


Learn more about how the University's Career Planning Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

School of Communication, Arts, and Media Alumni Panel

Once a year, the College of Arts and Sciences’ invites alumni from each of the School of Communication, Arts, and Media’s four departments (Communication, Visual and Performing Arts, English, and Modern Languages and Literatures) to participate in an interactive panel discussion. From public relations professionals to digital managing editors, the panelists represent a wide breadth of careers and share their professional advice and personal journeys with current students.

Student Profiles

cas_ah_hogan.jpgName: Devon Hogan '16
Undergrad Degree: Art History
Hometown: Newport, Rhode Island
Extracurricular Activities: Traveling, athletics, art/design

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

My father attended Fairfield University and absolutely loved it. I will always remember touring the campus and seeing the beach with him. He had this priceless smile on his face as he told me all about his Fairfield experience (living in Loyola, Campion and at the beach). I knew then that this was a place where I could be comfortable spending the next four years of my life, growing both academically and socially. We were both extremely excited upon my decision to attend Fairfield University, and it has become a very special place for both me my family over the past four years.

 

How/why did you select your major/minor?

Like many other students, I started at Fairfield University without declaring a major. I was undeclared until my junior year, exploring all my options as I completed the widespread core curriculum. I always loved art history, and thrived in my AP classes in high school, however, I was apprehensive about declaring this as the focus of my college career. The majority of my friends seemed to have promising majors in nursing, finance, marketing and so on, but I knew deep down those were just things I wasn’t personally passionate about.

The moment I decided to go with my gut and declare art history major, I was abroad in Brisbane, Australia. Living on my own on the other side of the world gave me the opportunity to really focus on myself as an individual, without the influence of the people or environment of home. I sat down one day in the local library and told myself that I could not leave until I had made a decision. After making endless lists of pros and cons, I came to the conclusion that art history was something that I was passionate about, and provided an outlet for me to thrive on both a personal and academic level. Declaring another major out of fear of success/job placement felt like I wasn’t being true to myself and what I truly was passionate about. That day in Australia I took the leap of faith, and returned in the spring as an art history major. Since then I have taken incredible classes with Dr. Schwab, Dr. Rose, and Dr. Covaci and haven’t looked back.

 

Describe a project done through the program that you are particularly proud of.

The summer before senior year, Dr. Rose contacted me about an opportunity to take on an internship in interior design for Calla McNamara Interiors during the fall semester. This internship was absolutely perfect for me because it not only allowed me to obtain credits toward my art history major, it also provided real-world experience in a career field that one wouldn’t typically associate with an art history student (such as a museum curator, or art history professor). I really enjoyed this internship because it allowed me to combine my creative strengths and interests, with the office environment and client-based work that I will take with me as I begin to build my professional career upon graduation.

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