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In all cultures, both ancient and modern, art has been a primary means of interpreting and expressing the human experience. Making art at Knox involves a rigorous investigation into how the visual language organizes thoughts, feelings, memories and perceptions into dynamic and expressive visual form.
While the studio program teaches students to see and develop an acute visual and critical sensibility, the art history program emphasizes a variety of interpretive perspectives for understanding the role of art within cultures.
Art history courses examine art from a broad range of cultural, philosophical, aesthetic, and political perspectives. Courses encompass Western and non-Western art from the ancient period to the present and include offerings in Greek and Roman art, Medieval art and architecture, Renaissance art, Baroque art, Asian art, African art, and Native Arts of the Americas. As a complement to the Studio Art program, there is a strong emphasis on courses in modern and contemporary art, as well as courses in the new methodological fields of Visual Culture Studies and Critical Theory. Students begin with introductory survey courses, which are followed by more advanced period surveys. Art History faculty also offer upper level seminars focusing on more specialized topics, many of which are drawn from their own areas of scholarly research. The capstone is Senior Research in Art History, an independent study course that includes a major research paper, which is formally presented in a Senior Art History Symposium at the end of the academic year. Both the seminar courses and the senior thesis are invaluable in preparing Art History majors for graduate school.
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. Many art history classes meet in the "Round Room," designed specifically for art lectures, which features the latest technology for projecting digital images from ARTstor and the department's own growing collection of digitized visual resources. In addition, the collection of art books in Seymour Library has been carefully built with an eye to current and historical movements.The Art History program is also dedicated to various mentoring structures for pre-professional development and preparation for applying to graduate programs. Art History majors are advised on graduate programs and careers in art history and the department offers various curatorial internships for students interested in museum or gallery careers. Students have interned at such major museums as the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, St. Louis Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.Knox College art history majors have pursued successful graduate study at such prestigious institutions as the University of Texas at Austin, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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