Art History

Apply Now MSA Visit

Courses Offered This Year

Fall 2020

From the Baroque to the Digital Age: Art and People of the Modern World - ARHS 1302


This course introduces the arts and societies of the modern world, from 1700 to the present, primarily in Europe and the Americas. Highlights include the ornate surfaces of the Rococo, Impressionism’s enchanting landscapes, the challenges of Surrealism, and current trends toward intermedia and time-based art. In exploring some of the most famous works of the Western art canon, students consider how historical and social events shaped these artistic movements.

  • Dr. Anna Lovatt
  • Monday/Wednesday11:00-11:50 am, and Friday lab section
  • O’Donnell Lecture Hall (Room 2130), Owen Fine Arts Center
  • UC: Foundation/Ways of Knowing
  • Photo: Fernand Léger, Three Women, 1921-22, MoMA

The Visual Arts in France - ARHS 1330

EduoardManetBarAtThe Folies-Bergère

This course traces the history of the visual arts in France from the splendor of Renaissance court culture to the social and artistic revolutions of Impressionism and Cubism. Themes will include: the political uses of art, the invention of the artist as genius-provocateur, the visual articulation of gender, and the definition of France and French art in the ages of exploration and colonialism.

  • Dr. Amy Freund
  • Tuesday/Thursday11:00am-12:20 pm
  • O’Donnell Lecture Hall (Room 2130), Owen Fine Arts Center
  • UC: Creativity & Aesthetics Breadth, Historical Contexts Breadth
  • Photo: Eduoard Manet, Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1881-82, Courtauld Institute

Visual Cultures: Impressionism - ARHS 1351


No art movement is more famous or beloved than Impressionism.  But when it first emerged in Paris in the late 1860s, critics condemned it as bizarre, radical, and dangerous.  This class will explore the artistic and social conditions that made Impressionism possible, as well as the way it reshaped modern art with intense colors, loose brushwork, and wide-ranging scenes of contemporary life. 

  • Dr. Randall Griffin
  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00-10:50am
  • O’Donnell Lecture Hall (Room 2130), Owen Fine Arts Center
  • UC: Creativity & Aesthetics Breadth, Historical Contexts Breadth
  • Photo: Claude Monet, Garden at Sainte-Addresse, 1867, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mortals, Myths, and Monuments of Ancient Greece


A visual analysis of the rich tapestry of ancient Greek culture, fountainhead of Western civilization, with emphasis on mythological, archaeological, and historical settings in which the art and architecture occur. Touches on various aspects of ancient Greek life such as religious practices, Olympic contests, theatrical performances, and artistic perfection.

  • Dr. Stephanie Langin-Hooper
  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00-12:50pm
  • Room B600, Owen Fine Arts Center
  • UC: Humanities and Fine Arts Depth
  • Photo: The Temple of Athena Parthenos (“The Parthenon”), Athens, c. 447-432 BCE

Portraiture and Selfhood


Taking advantage of SMU’s world-class Meadows Museum collection, this course examines the development of the portrait across space and time. We will explore how artists and sitters have tackled what it means to be a person – including issues such as gender, race, class, citizenship, religion, and even species. Our journey through the history of portraiture will be grounded in the first-hand study of works of art.

  • Dr. Amy Freund and Dr. Adam Jasienski
  • Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:20 pm
  • Smith Lecture Hall (Room 0151), Meadows Museum
  • UC: Humanities and Fine Arts Depth; History, Social and Behavioral Sciences Depth
  • Photo: Juan Carreño de Miranda, Portrait of the Dwarf Michol,, c. 1670-1682, Meadows Museum, SMU

Eighteenth Century Art


This class will examine art during the Age of Revolutions (1770-1830), a time when ideas about freedom, individual rights and democracy gave rise to modern nation states. The course will take us around the Atlantic world to study extraordinary events: the beheading of a French king, a successful slave revolt in Haiti and the anti-colonial struggles in the United States, Mexico, and South America. Through lectures and class assignments we will debate the role of art in political revolutions, examining how art objects negotiate abstract ideas about power, freedom, race, citizenry and the rule of law. In turn, students will critically assess how art shaped the founding ideologies of nations states, which continue to be contested until the present day.

  • Asiel Sepulveda
  • Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-10:50am
  • Room 2020, Owen Fine Arts Center
  • UC: Creativity & Aesthetics, Historical Contexts, Humanities and Fine Arts Depth, History, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Proficiencies & Experiences

Seminar on Contemporary Art Topic: Worldwide Africa


The seminar will discuss the current art system – art theory and production, criticism, historiography and other means of reception, individual and collective collecting, museums, biennials and other events, art market and art fairs – with a focus on the worldwide reverberation of arts of Africa and African diaspora. The discussion will interweave the condition of art in the context of globalization and the presence of Africa in the world, especially after the slave trade, European colonialism and the recent processes of independence.

  • Dr. Roberto Conduru
  • Thursday 2:00-4:50pm
  • Seminar Room (0105), Meadows Museum
  • Photo: Romuald Hazoumé. La Bouche du Roi (The King’s Mouth), 1997-2002. Multimedia installation, variable dimensions. British Museum

Areas of Study



Art History

Comini Lecture Series

Undergraduate Studies

Our Program

Courses Offered This Year

Spring 2021 Course Descriptions

Declaring The Major or Minor

B.A. in Art History degree requirements

Minor in Art History

Senior Honors Thesis

Graduation Honors and Awards

Art History Careers Event Series

Schedule a Visit

Graduate Studies

Classes (See Catalog)


Faculty and Staff

Graduate Students

Graduate Seminars

Graduate Student Conference

HECAA Conference

Department Projects

Dallas Resources

Libraries and Visual Resources

Community Engagement


Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts