Welcome Message from the Chair
Throughout history, the visual arts have encoded and displayed the ever-changing values of humankind’s diverse cultures. Learning how to read, compare, and contextualize art and architecture offers a distinctive form of entry into the inner lives of individuals and the public lives of society, from long ago to the present day. It is a challenging and all-encompassing discipline—whether used for its own sake or for rigorous intellectual training—whose academic origins in America can be traced back to 1883, when Allan Marquand began teaching art history at Princeton.
The Department of Art and Archaeology has been home to some of the most distinguished scholars in the field and over the decades has grown to cover an expanding range of media, cultures, and methodologies. Today, coursework in art history is supported by the extraordinary art collection of the Princeton University Art Museum; by the resources of the Marquand Library, the world’s finest art history library; and by close relationships with numerous other departments on our campus.
Besides covering all periods of European art and architecture, current faculty members teach in areas as diverse as Chinese bronzes, pre-Columbian objects, Greek art, Japanese prints, African art, American art, the history of photography, and theory and criticism. The curriculum of an undergraduate major can include courses and independent work in any such area as well as in studio art taught by faculty in the Program in Visual Arts.