Art History

We live in a world defined by images. Art History helps us to understand our visual world and to probe the complexities of images, objects, and artifacts found in art and culture.

Through the methods and concepts of art history, students learn the ‘visual’ language of images as they acquire knowledge and understanding of all forms of visual arts ranging from earliest cave paintings to latest new media installations, from monumental to miniature.

Altamira Bison

Using diverse approaches and theories, art is critically analysed in the larger social, cultural, economic, institutional, and ideological context of its production, display, and reception. As students engage with works of art and key texts in art history, theory, criticism, they develop visual as well as verbal and written literacy. Art History fosters creative and critical thinking, inquiry, analysis, and effective communication skills.

In its cross-disciplinary reach, Art History is a unique and wide-ranging discipline that encompasses aspects of history, philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology, gender studies, and cultural studies. Cross-listed courses with the departments of Classical Studies, Sociology, and History are offered to broaden the students’ conceptual horizons.

Who is this program for?

While our program is primarily designed to meet the needs of Fine Arts students in Art History and Studio, we welcome students from all disciplines to the many courses that do not have prerequisites. Some of these courses are particularly appealing to students in Cultural Studies and New Media, Popular Culture, Religion, and Public History.

Where can this lead me?

Art History students have gone on to graduate programs in art history, museum studies, architecture, art conservation and restoration, and arts administration. Some now work in art galleries and auction houses, others as art appraisers, freelance art critics/writers, independent curators, and university teachers.

Courses & Programs


Foreman Art Gallery

A major resource for Bishop’s students, as well as for the larger community, is the Foreman Art Gallery, located adjacent to the Centennial Theatre. The Gallery mounts exhibitions of art historical interest and shows representative of new directions in contemporary art. The Foreman Art Gallery also provides paid internships for students throughout the academic year and in the summer as well.

Bishop’s University Library joins FADIS!

Fadis (Federated Academic Digital Image Systems) is a content management system designed exclusively for the teaching, studying and researching of art, architecture and visual culture. While any member of the registered institutions can browse content, the primary role of the database is to allow instructors teaching visual material to create virtual lecture Carousels that can be projected in the classroom, accessed by students online or downloaded to PDF for off line reference. FADIS currently boasts of over 123,000 images and videos and it is constantly growing.

FADIS is hosted by the University of Toronto but shared amongst participating institutions at no cost. Participating institutions manage their own digital assets and user base. FADIS supports a variety of digital media files, including image, audio and video.

For more information on FADIS please visit their website, or contact Brenda Nielsen, Bishop’s University’s FADIS Administrator.

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