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Art History & Digital Media Art

Dr. Marisa Lerer
Chair of the Department

The Department of Art History and Digital Media Art offers Majors and Minors in Art History and Digital Media Art.

The Major in Art History examines world art created from the pre-historic to contemporary eras within trans-cultural and trans-historical contexts. It provides students with the ability to interpret and find meaning in the visual world, while providing the critical thinking, research, and writing skills necessary to excel in careers in Art History or in related disciplines. Covering six interrelated areas of study, students develop a visual vocabulary, multiple perspectives on key monuments, an understanding of the cross-disciplinary nature of Art History, and learn to analyze visual materials, organize ideas, and write and speak persuasively about representational issues. In all of its courses, the Art History program takes full advantage of the world-renowned museums, galleries, architecture, and libraries in New York City.

The Digital Media Art Major teaches the history, theory, and practice of a variety of in-demand digital art fields, including Graphic Design, Digital Photography and Video, Animation, Web and Game Design, and Immersive Media (AR/VR). Under the guidance of practicing artists and educators, and working in the department’s Graphic Arts Lab, students receive industry-level training that prepares them for numerous artistic careers. This training takes place not only on campus, but also in New York City – one of the world’s most vibrant centers of digital media art. With the support of dedicated faculty, students regularly secure some of the most competitive internships and jobs that NYC has to offer, gaining invaluable real-world experience at the conceptual and technological forefront of the discipline. Coupled with the larger Liberal Arts curriculum of the College, this first-hand experience prepares graduates to make culturally significant works of art that transform how we see the world.

Majors and Minors in Art History and Digital Media Art take advantage of international and NYC-based internship programs – some of which have been established specifically for students in this department. Each summer, for example, up to two Art History Majors are placed at The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, for a one month, paid internship. In addition to these opportunities, students in the department regularly intern at numerous museums, art galleries, graphic design firms, graphic art magazines, and production companies in New York City.

Major in Art History

Majors in Art History must take a minimum of 30 credits from the following six areas:

One of the following World Arts courses: *3
Roots: Art
Roots:Art -FYS
Introduction to World Art
Special Topic: in Art (on a world art topic)
Two of the following Art Before 1600 courses: *6
Introduction to World Art
Monasticism and the Arts
Ancient Art
Medieval Art
Renaissance Art
Special Topic: in Art (on a pre-1600 topic)
Virtual Venice
Two of the following Art After 1600 courses:6
Introduction to World Art
19th Century Art: 1750-1890
Baroque Art: From Empire to Revolution
History of Modern Art
Special Topic: in Art (on a post-1600 topic)
Virtual Venice
One of the following Digital Media Art courses:3
Fundamentals of Art & Design
Art of Digital Photography
Digital Drawing
Introduction to Graphic Design
To be taken during the Junior or Senior year:3
Senior Seminar: in Art History
Art History electives:*9
Total Credits30

* ART 218 Introduction to World Art and ART 406 Virtual Venice can only count toward one Art History Major requirement. 

* Students interested in Museum Studies should take at least two of the following courses: ART 370 Current Trends, ART 402 Special Topic: in Art, on a Museum Studies Topic,  ART 412 Independent Study, or ART 375 Internship

* ART 402 Winter Intersession Study Abroad: Visualizing Venice (Venice, Italy) qualifies for one of the following: Art Before 1600, Art After 1600, or ART 212 Art of Digital Photography.  

ART 375 Internship can substitute for an upper-level course.

Minor in Art History

Minors in Art History must take 15 credits of Art History courses as follows:

ART 150Roots: Art3
or ART 151 Roots:Art -FYS
Electives. At least 9 credits must be at the 300 or 400 levels *12
Total Credits15

*ART 375 Internship can substitute for an upper-level course.

Major in Digital Media Art

Majors in Digital Media Art must take a minimum of 33 credits from the following three areas:

Digital Media Art Foundations: *15
Fundamentals of Art & Design
Digital Drawing
Art Before 1600
Art After 1600
Senior Portfolio
Three of the following 2D Design courses:9
Art of Digital Photography *
Introduction to Graphic Design
Digital Video Art: Editing and Production *
Digital Print Design
Web Design
Three of the following 3D Design courses:9
3D Design, Modeling and Visualization
Game Design & Development
VR: Perception & Production
Victorian Media
Total Credits33

* ART 218 Introduction to World Art can count toward Art Before 1600 or Art After 1600, not both.

* ART 406 Virtual Venice can count toward Art Before 1600 or Art After 1600, not both. 

* ART 402 Winter Intersession Study Abroad: Visualizing Venice (Venice, Italy) can substitute for one of the following: Art Before 1600, Art After 1600, ART 212 Art of Digital Photography, or ART 380 Digital Video Art: Editing and Production.

ART 375 Internship can substitute for a 2D or 3D-level course when the internship focuses on a relevant subject.

Minor in Digital Media Art

Minors in Digital Media Art must take 15 credits comprised of the following courses:

ART 212Art of Digital Photography *3
ART 213Digital Drawing3
ART 214Introduction to Graphic Design3
ART 380Digital Video Art: Editing and Production *3
ART 406Virtual Venice *3
Total Credits15

* ART 150 or ART 151 can substitute for one of the 200-level Digital Media Art courses.

* ART 375 Internship can substitute for a Digital Media Art course when the internship focuses on a relevant subject.

* ART 402 Winter Intersession Study Abroad: Visualizing Venice (Venice, Italy) can substitute for ART 406 Virtual Venice, ART 212 Art of Digital Photography, or ART 380 Digital Video Art: Editing and Production

A minimum grade of C is required for courses to satisfy all major and minor requirements. Minors must have a contract signed and approved by the Department Chair.


ART 134. The Culture of Games. 3 Credits.

This introductory course surveys the history of the videogame industry from its precursors in pre-digital culture to the present and near future. The course examines video game genres, theories of gameplay, gaming para-texts, careers in the field, and the marketing of games, and it introduces students to divisions of gaming, including design, coding, and narrative.

ART 145. Fundamentals of Art & Design. 3 Credits.

Students will develop an understanding of core theories and concepts in art, learn basic skills in the critical analysis of art and design, and gain hands-on technical experience through a variety of traditional and digital media.

ART 150. Roots: Art. 3 Credits.

An intensive and critical examination of major works of art from the medieval period to the present that contribute to an understanding of the modern world.

ART 151. Roots:Art -FYS. 3 Credits.

An intensive and critical examination of major works of art from the medieval period to the present that contribute to an understanding of the modern world. First Year Seminar.

ART 212. Art of Digital Photography. 3 Credits.

Focuses on the creation of conceptually oriented digital prints, the history and aesthetics of digital art, and a thorough understanding of Photoshop, color management, digital cameras, and ink jet printing. Includes extensive instruction in software and professional-grade printers that facilitate the creation of digital prints. Regular discussions and critiques of student work will scrutinize the student’s objectives, intentions, conceptual ideas, and technical skills. Materials fee: $50.

ART 213. Digital Drawing. 3 Credits.

Introduces students to variety of skills and experiences ranging from still-life, portraiture, perspective and shading to the dynamic use of the human figure, as in drawing choreography. Taught within a Macintosh-computer environment using Adobe Illustrator and Corel Painter. Each student has use of a Wacom Intous digital sketch pad and stylus pen.

ART 214. Introduction to Graphic Design. 3 Credits.

Introduces the process of making graphic designs from the initial choice of a topic through the working stages and the finished presentation. Presents instruction in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator programs. Some minor visual arts knowledge is highly recommended.

ART 218. Introduction to World Art. 3 Credits.

A survey and analytical study of selected major architectural monuments and masterpieces of painting, sculpture, and photography from Africa, Asia, Middle East, and South America. Art and architecture are placed within cultural, stylistic, and historical contexts.

ART 260. Monasticism and the Arts. 3 Credits.

A survey of the artistic achievements of monastic communities during the Catholic Middle Ages, from the Benedictines to the Franciscan and Dominicans. Students will read monastic texts and study major works of medieval architecture, manuscript illumination, painting, and sculpture that manifest monastic values.

ART 304. Art & Architecture of Renaissance Italy. 3 Credits.

An on-site study of different aspects of the political, socio-economic and cultural life of Italy as witnessed through the Renaissance art and architecture of Florence and the surrounding region. The course is offered in Italy during the summer.

ART 307. 3D Design, Modeling and Visualization. 3 Credits.

This introductory course explores the creation of three-dimensional sculptural and architectural forms, lighting principles, and texture application via AutoDesk 3ds max (Cinema 4D) (Maya). Rendering, animation and output for different media will also be covered.

ART 309. Animation. 3 Credits.

This course will address core concerts in 2D and 3D animation production focusing on design, storyboarding, character development, movement, and motion graphics using Adobe Animate and After Effects. Students will learn the principles of animation and become proficient in the processes involved in the development of computer animated sequences.

ART 315. American Art. 3 Credits.

Examines American painting, sculpture, architecture, graphic art, and decorative arts from the colonial period to 1970. Emphasizes parallels with European culture, the characteristics of American realism, and social and political contexts. Topics include the emergence of American art, 1760-1840; American Romanticism of the Hudson River School and Luminism; the insurgent Realists of The Ashcan School; pioneers of American Modernism; and the Abstract Expressionists.

ART 316. History of Asian Art. 3 Credits.

Surveys the major movements of the arts of India, China and Japan, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, architecture, photography and the decorative arts. Beginning with the Neolithic period and extending beyond modern movements to the contemporary era, the course examines works of Indian, Chinese and Japanese art in their aesthetic, social, philosophical and religious contexts. Discusses concepts essential to an understanding of Asian art, including Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism.

ART 320. Ancient Art. 3 Credits.

History of art in the Western tradition from the Paleolithic Age (20,000 B.C.) to the 4th century A.D. Examines the development of civilization in the Near East, Egypt, the early Aegean cultures, the emergence of Greek art, from the Bronze age through the Hellenistic period; and explores the rise and expansion of the Roman Empire; and the period from the beginning of the Christian era to the rule of Emperor Constantine in the 4th-century A.D. A museum assignment requires a visit to the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Brooklyn Museum.

ART 321. Medieval Art. 3 Credits.

The history of art in the Middle Ages, beginning with Early Christian art and continuing through Late Gothic. A museum assignment requires a visit to the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Brooklyn Museum.

ART 322. Renaissance Art. 3 Credits.

This class begins with the early Renaissance in Florence, continues with the High Renaissance in Italy, and concludes with the Renaissance in the North. The basic concepts that distinguish the Renaissance from the Medieval period and modern times are discussed. Individual work is placed within the context of contemporary history, emphasizing in humanism, the emerging individualism of the artist, the revival of interest in the ancient world, and the varied responses to the classical heritage. A museum assignment requires a visit to the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Brooklyn Museum.

ART 323. 19th Century Art: 1750-1890. 3 Credits.

Surveys nineteenth-century art from its roots in the Enlightenment and French Revolution to Post-Impressionism. Examines the innovations of artists and movements that led to the clash of classicism and romanticism, birth of landscape painting, and emergence of the avant-garde and radical painting that became the foundation of modern art. Focuses on how artists developed new visions in response to the century's political, social, and technological upheavals. Emphasizes major movements such as Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. Includes museum visits.

ART 326. Baroque Art: From Empire to Revolution. 3 Credits.

This class discusses the profound geopolitical, religious, and economic changes and expansions in 17th century Europe as expressed in art and architecture, from the age of empire building and mercantilism to the age of revolution and enlightenment philosophy. The class will include trips to Metropolitan Museum of Art and special exhibitions at area museums.

ART 329. History of Modern Art. 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to Modern art from the end of the 19th century to the present. Shaped by the dramatic social, technological and intellectual changes of the industrial age of modern life, painting, sculpture and new forms of art (e.g. photography) radically departed from the traditional notions of art formulated and practiced in pre-industrial society. Throughout the semester, we will examine the many artistic movements in modernisms wake, including impressionism, post-impressionism, expressionism, cubism, surrealism, and others as well as the rise of the avant-garde and the development of abstraction. This course includes visits to the Museum of Modern Art and various Chelsea area galleries.

ART 340. History of Fashion. 3 Credits.

Surveys costume and dress in Western culture ranging from antiquity to the present. Studies the costumes of various periods and the factors influencing the evolution of clothing styles. Examines historical influences, political rhetoric, economic issues and social and cultural identity in fashion in order to analyze contemporary trends and styles.

ART 358. The New York Skyscraper. 3 Credits.

An introduction to the art of building, concentrating on the skyscraper in New York City, and dealing only with such earlier work as relates to its background and development. Attention is given to planning, style, and engineering. The course features lectures, tours, visits to studios.

ART 360. New York City Architecture, Urbanism and Design. 3 Credits.

From the Federal-style row house to the modern skyscraper, New York's architectural heritage is compelling. This course is an introduction to the philosophy and socio-economic/political forces that have shaped our city. Using the city as a classroom, students experience architecture and the urban environment-look, touch, discuss, question. Classes take place on site, at various Manhattan locations.

ART 370. Current Trends. 3 Credits.

A course to introduce the student to the current New York Art Scene. There will be visits to galleries, studios, museums and performance spaces.

ART 375. Internship. 3 Credits.

Students participate in an off-campus training experience closely related to their area of study. Frequent meetings with the internship advisor and a paper are required. Internships are arranged through the Center for Career Development and must be approved in advance by the chair and the Dean of the School of Arts.

ART 380. Digital Video Art: Editing and Production. 3 Credits.

This course focuses on creating works of video art while examining and reflecting upon filmic history. There is extensive instruction in Final Cut Studio Pro and DVD Studio Pro, giving students the skills to begin making video in the first two weeks. Students create conceptual, engaging work that is critiqued at length. While examining video art's historical roots and contemporary video artists, students develop their video projects that build upon ideas and techniques realized from the first video assignment.

ART 402. Special Topic: in Art. 3-6 Credit.

An intensive study of a single artist, genre, period, culture, or issue facing visual art scholarship today. The subject studied will vary from semester to semester. A student may elect this course as often as four times for the art history minor, presuming a different subject each time. Offered every semester. Previous special topic courses include History of Photography", "Art Between the World Wars", "History of Modern Art", "History of Fashion", and "Video Editing and Production.".

ART 405. Senior Seminar: in Art History. 3 Credits.

An overview of the theories and methods of art history that clarifies approaches to analyzing and interpreting art, including formalism, iconography, semiotics, Marxism, feminism, deconstructionism, and post-colonialism. Readings will cover art historical periods from the ancient to the contemporary and a wide range of media. Students will develop critical skills necessary to practice the discipline of art history: careful looking, original research, compelling argumentation, and clear writing.

ART 406. Virtual Venice. 3 Credits.

In this course, students will use Virtual Reality (VR) technology to immerse themselves in the city of Venice. Preserving the historical experience of the city, they will produce a 360-degree educational tour of the Venetian canals, which will allow users to investigate the waterways’ history and contemporary cultural significance.

ART 407. Senior Game Seminar. 3 Credits.

In this capstone course, students from all tracks in the Game Design & Production major work in teams to develop an original videogame, combining narrative, design, and coding elements. Current and future trends in gaming are examined. Open to GDP majors who have completed a major concentration track only or by permission of instructor.

ART 408. Independent Study. 1 Credit.

Individual study of a major artist, architect, or aesthetical issue facing art scholarship and practice today with a member of the department. Open only to students who secure the approval of the Chair of the Dept. and the consent of the individual instructor. A student may elect this course only once for credit towards the minor in Digital Media arts or the minor in Art History.

ART 409. Senior Portfolio. 3 Credits.

This Capstone Course is intended to be a culminating experience for Digital Media Art Majors. Students will develop a professional portfolio as well as create a marketable resume package, website, and social media presence. The course will also involve organizing and participating in a final exhibition.

ART 412. Independent Study. 3 Credits.

Individual study of a major artist, architect, or aesthetic issue facing art history scholarship today with a member of the department. Open only to students who secure the approval of the Chair of the Department and the consent of the individual instructor. A student may elect this course only once for credit towards the Minor in Art History.