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Art faculty Andrea Ferrigno shows students in printmaking class how to print multiple colors.

Art History

Contact Us

Mark Holmes

Chair & Associate Professor of Art

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Tubes of various color paints.

Major, Minor
Art Museum Studies Minor

How We Work

  1. We put art in context by studying the historical and social relevance of each work. But we start by examining the object. We believe that by studying its form and style, we can understand the broad range of historical and social factors that influenced its creation. In “Baroque Art and Architecture,” you won't just learn about seventeenth century European painting, sculpture, and architecture. You'll also examine topics such as artistic identity, gender, theories of visuality, and the role of art in relation to Absolutism.
  2. We’re multifaceted. Art History courses are cross-listed with four other programs including American Studies, classics, film studies, and Latin American Studies. In a single class, you’ll study art from many diverse angles and disciplines. We believe in a wide range of interpretations. We'll make sure you’re familiar with a variety of approaches including social, political, economic, philosophical and psychological viewpoints. We also consider issues of gender, sexuality, and race in relation to art.
  3. We focus on modern and contemporary art. We offer courses that cover a wide range of movements and historical periods. However, since there is a strong link between the art history and studio art programs, we especially believe that you should have a deep understanding of modern and contemporary artists and their work. Our curriculum has distinctive courses in the areas of 19th and 20th century art, contemporary art, and theory. Contemporary American and European Art focuses on late modern and post-modern art and takes different topical approaches focusing on art criticism, the relation of art to global politics and war, the rise of feminist and queer art, racial power movements, and the impact of mass media.
  4. We believe art shapes who we are. We are one of only a few undergraduate programs offering a course in "Visual Culture Theory." Through studying this growing interdisciplinary field, you'll analyze the role of mass visual images in shaping cultural, political, racial, and sexual notions of identity. You’ll study everything from film and television to the visual culture of the web.
  5. We want you to succeed. That's why we take an active interest in your academic progress and professional goals. We’ll help you find a museum internship, present your paper at a national or international conference, revise your senior thesis project, or even just decide what you'd like to do next. If graduate school is your next step, our senior seminars and thesis capstone will prepare you for advanced coursework.
  6. We draw concepts from a wide range of disciplines. Many of our students even pair a major in art history with a second major or minor—some recent combinations include Gender and Women's Studies, philosophy, anthropology and sociology, and French. Even if you don't double major, you'll have plenty of chances to integrate your study of art history with other disciplines. Kayleigh O'Brien '16 even found a way to combine Classics, art history, and the music of Kanye West with her Honors project, “Emperors Among Us: Kanye West, Roman Spectacle, and the Appropriation of Classical Imagery."
  7. We prepare students for success in the museum field. Our art museum studies minor allows students to critically learn about art museums, and the broad range of opportunities for professional growth within them. Students will acquire a multiple range of skills to support a career in this field, including curating, collections management, organizational leadership, grantsmanship, marketing, installation of galleries, and popup and online digital exhibits. Art museums are transforming into vital centers for community dialogue, which is why our program is also committed to addressing issues of social, racial, gender and sexual diversity, and social justice themes.

Where we learn

Knox College Special Collections include the Famulener Collection of prints and drawings by old and modern masters—a valuable resource for all art students, and subject of exhibitions and research projects by art history students.

Art History courses are taught in the lecture room of the new Whitcomb Art Center, which has been designed specifically for art lectures and features the latest technology for projecting digital images from ARTstor and the department's own growing collection of digitized visual resources.

The collection of art books in Seymour Library has been carefully built with an eye to current and historical movements. Art History classes also include special field trips every term to major art museums in Chicago and St. Louis.

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Students hang their art work on the walls of the Ford Center for Fine Arts in preparation for the Al Young Student Art Show.
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Printed on Saturday, May 21, 2022