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Art History

Department of Art


The art history program will enrich your understanding of the art of Western civilization by setting it within its broader social and cultural context and by seriously considering the variety of alternatives and responses to the Western tradition. Courses such as Women Artists, Topics in World Art, Methodologies, and Museum Studies help to balance the traditional chronological period courses. Even within these period courses, various thematic issues and theoretical approaches will help to unify your studies in the history of art. You will explore artistic meaning through responsive as well as analytical discussion and writing, and will learn to trust and strengthen your own voice at the same time that you acquire an understanding of the vocabulary and methods of analysis of the discipline of art history.


Millsaps College Art History students in the New Orleans Museum of Art sculpture garden, April 2014
Art History students in the New Orleans Museum of Art sculpture garden, April 2014

Millsaps College Art History students on the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 2014
Art History students on the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 2014

Art History students on a field trip to New Orleans: Baroque Art & World Art Classes (Spring 2013)

From some of our 2011 graduating seniors:

Virginia Schreiber: "I have grown comfortable with my constant restlessness and see it as simply the product of a curious mind, something that Millsaps certainly works to foster. Art History has given me a love of the beautiful things in life and an open-minded nature in terms of what can be categorized as beautiful."

Chris Eden: "I was recently talking with a fellow Art History major and a mutual friend of ours about why we liked our major. Naturally, we liked the discipline for various differing reasons, but we came to realize that these differences were what we loved most. Art History is truly interdisciplinary in the way it tries to come to an understanding of an artwork's significance. Art Historians may delve into religious studies, philosophy, women's and gender studies, math, anthropology, or any other discipline to supplement and further support their conclusions. Last year, for instance, in our junior seminar class we discussed early Netherlandish marriages in depth to be able to fully understand the Arnolfini Portrait. I never thought I would have been studying such a topic in the Art History department!"

Leanna White: "My closest friends that I have at Millsaps I met in my favorite classroom. The art history majors have become a close-knit family. We spend hours together in AC 335 every week taking classes and then spend hours outside of class talking about class dynamics, lectures, readings, and the occasional gossip. This spring we will all come back to AC 335, where we will present our senior theses."

There are also plenty of additional opportunities beyond the classroom. Many of our students get academic credit for internships at the Mississippi Museum of Art, as well as other local or regional sites. We have students who complete honors projects and who study abroad (including most recently Perugia, Italy, and Northern Ireland), in addition to Millsaps' own summer programs in Europe, Africa, and Yucatan). Some of our students have been part of the prestigious Ford Fellowship Program, in which they team up with faculty mentors and get college credit for learning about college teaching as a profession. Groups of us have traveled to various cities to visit museums and galleries, either arranged by the Art Club or by individual professors. New Orleans and Memphis are favorites, but students with one or two faculty mentors have also been to Houston, Washington, and New York.

ARTstor - http://www.artstor.org - As a student at Millsaps you'll have access to this large database of digital images. For instructions on how to use this database, including how to study the image groups set up by your professor and how to make your own classroom presentations, click on the link at the left.

Tableaux Vivants from Baroque Art class, Fall 2010:

Caravaggio's Cardsharps

Caravaggio's David with the Head of Goliath

Bernini's Rape of Proserpine