Art History

Colin McCahon (1919-1987), Gate III, 1970, acrylic on canvas, 305 x 1067.5cm, Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection. Reproduced courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

We live in a world of images. Art history offers a way of engaging with that world, through the study of art and visual experience.

The Art History programme at Victoria University provides contextual frameworks for understanding art and other forms of representation within the visual environment. It examines art within its historical, cultural, aesthetic and theoretical contexts. It encourages students to develop an interest in all aspects of visual experience and to understand the ideas and theories that surround art and other forms of visual representation.

Art History staff offer courses in art from the Medieval period to the present, including focused study of New Zealand, Pacific and European art.

Christina Barton, Adam Art Gallery Director, provides supervision for some Art History Honours and Postgraduate students.

The Art History programme fosters opportunities for students to undertake primary research and to develop skills appropriate to the application of the discipline. At all levels of the teaching programme students have first-hand contact with works of art, collections, commentators and institutions. The Programme also offers a range of seminars, conferences and other events.

Art history touches on many other fields, including History, Philosophy, Religion, Literature, Anthropology, Architecture and Design, Classical Studies, Film and Theatre Studies, Māori Studies and Pacific Studies. Our graduates work in universities, museums, galleries, auction houses and for publishers, taking with them a greater appreciation of the way that images work and enhanced skills in looking, researching and critical thinking. For further details about careers in Art history, see the Art history Careers page.

Related Victoria sites: Adam Art Gallery