an outdoor class on the grass


The Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University prepares students to undertake journeys into visual culture through traditional areas of study such as ancient, Medieval and Renaissance art, as well as through the integration of recent fields of theory and research. Students explore the history of cultural interactions as manifested in visual culture both inside and outside the West, from antiquity to present.


Note on teaching during COVID in the Department of History of Art:

History of Art is a discipline that depends on the viewing and discussion of images. Due to technical constraints in many of our classrooms, faculty and instructors are often unable to project their lectures via Zoom in accompaniment to physical teaching. For the same reason, recording lectures for viewing later is also not always possible.

Students missing classes due to COVID precautions are advised to keep up with the syllabus, readings, and other Canvas and library resources available to them, so as not to fall behind during their physical absence from class.

Amos Stars and Stripes artwork

History of Art Majors' Society Exhibits:

From 1991 to 2018, the History of Art Majors’ Society (HAMS) provided a way for Cornell history of art majors to enhance their knowledge about the discipline of art history beyond the classroom. Students worked under the guidance of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies. These students met at the Johnson Museum one evening each week throughout the academic year to develop an annual exhibition drawn from the permanent collection and to research, write, and publish an accompanying exhibition brochure. Students also planned educational programs and public lectures to coincide with their exhibition while it was on view at the Johnson.

Browse recent exhibits via the links below:


Image: Emma Amos. Stars and Stripes, 1992. Laser transfer photography, oil on paper. Gift of Sylvan Cole, Jr., Class of 1939. 2001.022. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art [shown at History of Art Majors’ Society exhibition, enticing the eye / exploring the frame, 2014]