Art History

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Program Overview

The arts contribute over $700 billion to the US economy and form a vital component of communities from small towns to large cities. Studying art history and visual culture develops the mind and vital skills—such as visual literacy, critical thinking, writing, and speaking—that prepare students to thrive in a wide spectrum of careers. Art history and visual culture alumni readily find employment and build careers in museums, galleries, and auction houses around the world, as well as in social media, law, the non-profit sector, marketing, public relations, development and fundraising, education, publishing, and nearly every occupation that requires observation, analysis, and communication. Fairfield’s dedicated alumni are valuable resources for current students and return to campus regularly to give career advice and participate in job shadow programs and intern hiring.

Fairfield’s program in art history and visual culture offers a curriculum that covers African, American, Asian, and European art, as well as museum studies. Students explore contemporary developments in art and art history within our global society and may choose a traditional art history and visual culture major, or an art history and visual culture major with a concentration in visual arts administration.

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, special visits to major museums in New York and Connecticut, 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 and visual culture majors enrich their experi­ence further by spending a semester or year studying abroad, including our specially-designed programs in Florence, Italy and Aix-en-Provence, France.

Student Learning Outcomes

1

Analyze

Recognize and analyze paradigm monuments and monuments related to them.

2

Implement

Use historical art vocabulary correctly.

3

Connect

Make meaningful connections between artworks and other examples of human expression within their historical contexts.

4

Evaluate

Find, evaluate, and use sources to answer questions and present findings in appropriate written form.

Requirements & Course Offerings

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

  1. Complete two (2) of the following exploration courses (6 credits):
AHST 1001 Exploring Art: Technology & Art
AHST 1002 Exploring Art: Migration & Art
AHST 1003 Exploring Art: Life & Death
AHST 1004 Exploring Art: Propaganda & Art
AHST 1005 Exploring Art: Sex & Sacrilege
AHST 1006 Exploring Art: Destruction, Plunder, & Preservation
AHST 1103 Art of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas
AHST 1104 Art of Asia
AHST 1105 History of Architecture
  1. Complete three (3) 100-level courses (nine credits). Students are advised to take courses from a range of time periods and geographical locations.
AHST 1102 Art of East Asia
AHST 1109 Jewish Art: Moses to Modernity
AHST 1111 Greek Art and Archaeology
AHST 1112 Etruscan and Roman Art and Archaeology
AHST 1113 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
AHST 1120 Medieval Art of Western Europe
AHST 1121 Celtic and Early Irish Art
AHST 1130 Early Renaissance Art in Italy
AHST 1131 High Renaissance and Mannerism in Italy
AHST 1152 Modern Art
AHST 1164 American Art and Media Culture
AHST 1165 African-American Art
AHST 1172 History of Photography
AHST 1191 Art Nazis, Bolsheviks, Fascists
AHST 1192 History, Theory, and Practice of Museums
AHST 1193 Inside Museums and Galleries
  1. Complete one of the following 200-level courses (3 credits):
AHST 2209 The Historic Plaster Cast Collection at Fairfield University
AHST 2210 Myth in Classical Art
AHST 2221 Arts of Ireland and Britain, 500-1000
AHST 2222 Byzantine Art
AHST 2900 Special Topics Seminar
AHST 2292 Museums, Art, Ethics and the Law
AHST 2295 Museum Exhibition Seminar
  1. Complete three additional art history courses at the 100 or 200-level (9 credits).
  2. Complete AHST 4999 Senior Capstone Seminar (Senior year - 3 credits).
  3. Other courses available to advanced students (only one can be counted toward the Art History Major):
AHST 3990 Independent Study
AHST 3980 Internship

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, contact Dr. Marice Rose.

For a 30-credit Art History & Visual Culture Major with a Concentration in Visual Arts Administration, students:

  1. Complete two (2) of the following exploration courses (6 credits):
AHST 1001 Exploring Art: Technology and Art
AHST 1002 Exploring Art: Migration and Art
AHST 1003 Exploring Art: Life and Death
AHST 1004 Exploring Art: Propaganda and Art
AHST 1005 Exploring Art: Sex and Sacrilege
AHST 1006 Exploring Art: Destruction, Plunder, and Preservation
  1. Complete one (1) Art History & Visual Culture course at the 1000-level, one (1) at the 2000-level, and one (1) 1000-level or higher (9 credits).
  2. Complete at least one (1) of the following museum-themed courses (3 credits):
AHST 1192 The History, Theory and Practice of Museums
AHST 1193 Inside Museums & Galleries: Taste/Place/Publics Space
AHST 2292 Museums, Art, Ethics, and the Law
AHST 2295 Museum Exhibition Seminar
  1. Complete one (1) of the following Dolan School of Business courses (3 credits):
ACCT 1011 Introduction to Financial Accounting
MGMT 2101 Introduction to Management in Organizations
MGMT 4335 Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
MGMT 4370 Managing Non-Profit Organizations
MKTG 1101 Principles of Marketing
  1. Complete ENGL 1839: Grant and Proposal Writing (3 credits).
  2. Complete one (1) art history internship (3 credits):
AH 3980 Internship
  1. Complete senior capstone seminar (3 credits):
AH 4999 Senior Seminar

It is recommended that AETH 2291: Business Ethics be one of the courses taken for fulfillment of Core area #3. Additional courses in area #4 above are recommended as electives.

For an 18-credit Art History & Visual Culture minor, students will complete the following.

  1. Complete two (2) of the following exploration courses (6 credits):
AHST 1001 Exploring Art: Technology and Art
AHST 1002 Exploring Art: Migration and Art
AHST 1003 Exploring Art: Life and Death
AHST 1004 Exploring Art: Propaganda and Art
AHST 1005 Exploring Art: Sex and Sacrilege
AHST 1006 Exploring Art: Destruction, Plunder, and Preservation
  1. Complete four (4) art history courses at the 1000-level or higher (12 credits). AH 3990 may not be used. At least three (3) art history courses must be taken while in residence at Fairfield.

Stag Spotlight

Tyler Heffern

Class of '22

Get to Know Tyler

Name: Tyler Heffern ’22
Undergrad Degree: BA in Art History and Politics with minors in Classical Studies and International Relations
Hometown: Stratford, CT

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University?

I liked that Fairfield was a small college that allowed for students to feel connected and not drowned out by such a large population. The campus is modern, yet historic and not so large that students can't get around quickly. Finally, it was close to home and near New York City so I could travel often (especially to museums!).

How did you choose your major?

I originally set out as a politics major but wanted to take at least one art history course. My first semester, I took an art history survey class and loved it. I wanted to continue taking art history courses and by my sophomore year, I became a double major and helped to write labels for artworks at the Fairfield University Art Museum.

What have been the best aspects of your experience at Fairfield?

I love the community aspect of Fairfield. People are very friendly, and I often see friends around campus or in the dining hall without knowing they'd be there. I also like the small class sizes, and that professors go out of their way to help students.

What would you tell a student who is considering attending Fairfield as an undergraduate?

There are so many opportunities at Fairfield that you can truly pursue what interests you. Whether you like science, acting, or finance, there is a club for you on campus. I would encourage you to join as many organizations as you can, to get to know people and check out their events. You don't have to stay in these groups for long but it's important to branch out and get engaged.

Molly Lamendola

Class of '22

Get to Know Molly

Name: Molly Lamendola ’22
Undergrad Degree: BA in Art History & Visual Culture
Hometown: Albany, NY

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University?

The proximity to New York City is a definite draw. With just an hour train ride, you get countless new internships and job opportunities… the world really is your oyster! I am also a big supporter of the well-rounded student who knows more about the world than just their specialized subject area. As a Jesuit University and through the core curriculum, Fairfield really creates an environment for a student to do just that and use the core classes to their advantage so that they stand out in the job market.

How did you choose your major?

My freshman art history professor pitched the idea to me. I was taking his class to fulfill one of my core requirements, and he opened me up to the possibility of majoring in art history. What’s great about the art history major is that it’s really similar to communications or marketing in that it’s a blank slate and you choose what you want to do with it. Fairfield’s Art History Department is a particularly special department, and the small size and true care for student success is what really sold me on the major. I have participated in research projects and taken opportunities that I would not have had in other majors and have developed critical skills. I now know how to research and write papers about diverse topics. I have a deep understanding of world history and how that influenced the art of the region. And I developed many more skills that are going to give me such an edge in my future job search. It's also super fun to show off some of my knowledge on Jeopardy nights or walking around museums with my friends. You'll get some ultimate show-off abilities if you choose to major in art history.

What have been the best aspects of your experience at Fairfield?

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to really go after opportunities, Fairfield has countless options. We’d joke in my house that I made more of my freshman year than most students make in all four years! I really wanted to get heavily involved and try as many clubs, activities, and internships as I could, and it worked out. I always tell prospective students and incoming freshman to take every opportunity and go to every event that you can because it’ll help you monumentally! Because I did all of this, I had the opportunity to study abroad during my sophomore year as part of the Bellarmine Scholarship program. It was an unbelievable, life-changing experience, and I tell everyone to try it if they can.

What interesting projects, research opportunity, or leadership experience were you involved in at Fairfield?

I a, heavily involved in the Fairfield Mirror, which is Fairfield’s student-run newspaper. I’m currently the editor for the Vine Section, which covers all art and culture related stories. I love going to events at the Quick Center and writing stories to inspire other students. I also do a lot of research and design work for art history professor Dr. Philip Eliasoph. I was tasked with redesigning both of his freshman core classes to appeal to a more tech-savvy audience and help with any other research projects he’s doing at the time. I was also able to start work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Westport, CT - an opportunity found through my connections at Fairfield and the Art History Department.

What would you tell a student who is considering attending Fairfield as an undergraduate?

Fairfield is the perfect school for students who really like to be involved on. I’m in many clubs and participate in a lot of activities and thus really enjoy my Fairfield experience. But you have to put yourself out there and really state that you want to make the best of these four short years. Try and do it all! If you have that mindset, you’re going to be successful.

Danielle Sondgeroth

Class of '22

Get to Know Danielle

Name: Danielle Sondgeroth ’22
Undergrad Degree: BA in Art History and Digital Journalism with a French minor
Hometown: Queens, NY

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University?

First, Fairfield's small class sizes are extremely beneficial to learning. There are usually less than 30 students per class, which allows you to get to know you professors one-on-one. There are more opportunities to receive help whenever you need it. Second, the environment at Fairfield is supportive all around. Both faculty and students want to see you succeed. There's never a day when I feel completely alone on campus- there's always someone who is genuinely happy to see me and wants me to do my best.

How did you choose your major?

I've known I wanted to be an art history major since my junior year of high school. I took AP Art History on a whim to get extra credits and ended up enjoying the class so much more than I had initially expected. I came to Fairfield and immediately declared a minor in Art History, not expecting to go much further. However, once I met the faculty and other students in the department, I knew I couldn't just take a few classes and be done. I wanted to continue learning about art and its impact on our mass culture thanks to my professors.

What have been the best aspects of your experience at Fairfield?

Fairfield has given me life-long friends from all different backgrounds and walks of life. It has truly allowed me to find my people and to make friends from every corner of the globe.

What would you tell a student who is considering attending Fairfield as an undergraduate?

Be ready for a curriculum that challenges you. The requirements in the Core may seem daunting but they are in place to help you explore different areas of knowledge that you may not know about. The Core can help you to learn more about yourself and your interests and may introduce you to something you never knew interested you.

More About Art History & Visual Culture

Life After Fairfield

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Life After Fairfield

Fairfield University art history and visual culture alumni have successfully gone on to pursue careers in the following fields and with the following organizations:

  • Art museums (MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston)
  • Social Media
  • Finance
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Universities
  • Development/fundraising
  • Auction houses
  • Law firms
  • Art galleries/dealers
  • Connecticut State Supreme Court
  • Medicine
  • Publishing (Oxford University Press, Hearst)
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Historical societies
  • Design firms
  • Government agencies (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department 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

Those seeking higher education have pursued graduate programs in art history, law, economics, publishing, education, business, art administration, museum studies, psychology, advertising, film studies, interior design, osteopathy, graphic design, occupational therapy, heritage management, veterinary medicine, economics, library science, international affairs, historic preservation, counseling, and accounting from a wide range of academic institutions, including:

  • Yale University
  • Columbia University
  • New York University
  • London School of Economics
  • 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
  • Parson’s School of Design
  • University of Glasgow

School of Communication, Arts, and Media Alumni Panel

Internships

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Internships

Interns play critical roles in the day-to-day operations of museums, galleries, businesses, and non-profits. Through internships, students gain meaningful, hands-on experience, preparing them to evaluate their career goals after graduation and enhancing their options in an increasingly competitive job market.

Fairfield art history majors and minors have recently held internships at:

  • Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield CT
  • MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) Westport CT
  • Barnum Museum, Bridgeport CT
  • Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT
  • Pequot Library, Southport CT
  • Fairfield University Art Museum

Interns at the Fairfield University Art Museum can expect to engage in several of the following professional activities:

  • Researching objects in the permanent collection
  • Researching loan objects slated for special exhibitions
  • Creating educational programs for elementary, secondary, and University students as well as life-long learners in the wider community
  • Leading educational tours
  • Assisting with marketing and public relations efforts
  • Conducting research related to grant-writing and other fund-raising avenues
  • Museum collections management

Fairfield University Art Museum

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Fairfield University Art Museum

The Fairfield University Art Museum (FUAM) is a dynamic space for engagement with the visual arts on the campus of Fairfield University. The museum consists of two spaces: the Bellarmine Hall Galleries and the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery in the Quick Center for the Arts.

The Bellarmine Hall Galleries present the museum’s small but choice permanent collection of European and American paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs, as well as Asian, African and Pre-Columbian objects. Objects on long-term loan include antiquities and medieval pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Museum, the Worcester Art Museum, and the American Numismatic Society; Asian art on loan from the Columbia University Collection; and European paintings and objects borrowed from private collections.

FUAM presents special exhibitions showcasing works of art in all media from a broad swathe of time periods and world cultures, ancient to contemporary, in both the Bellarmine Hall Galleries and the Walsh Gallery.

Through coursework and internships, students help with hands-on exhibition planning and programming.

Visit the FUAM Website

Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Resources

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Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Resources

Fairfield University is home to an impressive collection of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine resources that provide students with unique opportunities to explore the rich history and ancient art of these great civilizations. From fascinating research projects, hand-drawn sketches, and powerful photography exhibitions to antique coin collections, ancient artifacts, and a robust collection of Greek and Roman plaster casts, the visual culture preserved and presented at Fairfield University takes students on an engaging and interactive journey through the past.

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Caryatid Hairstyling Project

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Caryatid Hairstyling Project

The Caryatid Hairstyling Project, spearheaded by Dr. Katherine Schwab, 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.

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Visual Arts Blog

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Visual Arts Blog

Catch up on the latest news and follow the exciting activities and artistic adventures of our visual arts students, alumni, and faculty on Fairfield's Visual Arts Blog.

Read the Blog

Faculty

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Faculty

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to a vibrant community of faculty and staff devoted to the process of invention and discovery. Meet the passionate members of our Art History program.

Meet the Faculty

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