Department of Art and Archaeology
- Michael Koortbojian
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Nathan A. Arrington
Director of Graduate Studies
- Chika O. Okeke-Agulu (Fall)
- Charlie Barber (Spring)
- Charlie E. Barber
- Rachael Z. DeLue
- Hal Foster
- Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann
- Michael Koortbojian
- Elizabeth Anne McCauley
- Chika O. Okeke-Agulu
- Andrew M. Watsky
- Bridget A. Alsdorf
- Nathan T. Arrington
- Brigid Doherty
- Irene V. Small
- Cheng-hua Wang
- Anna Arabindan-Kesson
- Basile C. Baudez
- Beatrice Kitzinger
- Carolina Mangone
- Deborah A. Vischak
- Carolyn Y. Yerkes
Visiting Lecturer with Rank of Professor
- Yve-Alain Bois
Information and Departmental Plan of Study
The Department of Art and Archaeology is devoted to the study of the visual arts and the investigation of material artifacts from a wide range of cultures and periods. It is also where students interested in the practice of art (taught by faculty in the Program in Visual Arts) can pursue a major. Working closely with faculty members in small classes and often dealing directly with original objects and primary sources, students can explore subjects as diverse as Roman city planning, Chinese calligraphy, Greek archaeology, Renaissance architecture, 19th-century photography, and contemporary art.
Students in the Department of Art and Archaeology learn techniques for analyzing and interpreting the visual and material world. They also investigate the factors that influence artistic change (e.g., religious beliefs, economic constraints, patronage demands, and technological changes). Like any humanist or social scientist, they must evaluate evidence, form hypotheses, test data, and draw conclusions. Successful majors master the translation of visual perceptions into linguistic expression, develop visual memory, and make connections with a wide array of historical evidence. Students must have at least a C- average based on courses and independent work in order to graduate from the department.
Students interested in majoring in the Department of Art and Archaeology must choose one of two tracks, each of which has its own admission prerequisites and curricular requirements.
No advanced placement credit is granted for the Art History Advanced Placement Examination.
A sophomore may apply for early concentration through consultation with the departmental representative.
Foreign study can be a richly rewarding part of any concentration in the Department of Art and Archaeology. Art history courses taken abroad (normally up to two per term or four for a year in a study abroad program) can be pre-approved for departmental credit by the departmental representative. Students generally study abroad during the junior year or the first term of the senior year. Junior independent work can be completed under the supervision of a departmental faculty member with prior approval and ongoing contact with the faculty adviser. Senior independent work in the fall of the senior year may be done overseas, but the spring term work must be done in residence. Students contemplating study abroad should speak with the departmental representative as early as possible and should plan to take courses in the language of the country in which they wish to study.
In addition, students interested in archaeology may choose to participate in overseas archaeological excavations undertaken by departmental faculty. For further information, contact the program director, Professor Nathan Arrington.
Non-majors who would like to receive credit for history of art courses taken abroad, whether during the summer or an academic term, must apply to the departmental representative for pre-approval before dean's date of the preceding term.
History of Art Track
Concentrators in this track pursue the study and criticism of the visual arts and the investigation of material culture from a wide range of historical periods.
Any two courses offered by the Department of Art and Archaeology.
Program of Study
A total of 10 courses in the Department of Art and Archaeology, including ART 100, ART 400 (Junior Seminar) and two seminars at the 400- or 500-level. Students must also take at least one course in each of the following three areas: Group 1 (ancient), Group 2 (medieval/early modern), and Group 3 (modern/contemporary). Thematic courses spanning more than one area will be allocated to a distribution area on a case-by-case basis. ART 100, ART 400, and ART 401 count as departmentals but not as distribution courses. In choosing courses to satisfy the distribution requirement, students are encouraged to explore a range of media, e.g., architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper, film. 7 of the 10 courses need to be taught by Art and Archaeology faculty.
No more than two cognate courses taken in other departments (including the Program in Visual Arts) may be counted toward the 10 departmentals. This includes summer courses. Students participating in the Study Abroad Program may be allowed to count more than two courses taken overseas as departmentals. All cognate courses must be approved prior to enrollment by the departmental representative based on the submission of a syllabus and course description. Courses cross-listed with the Department of Art and Archaeology automatically count as departmentals, but do not count towards the departmental honors GPA.
During the fall of the junior year, all majors must take the junior seminar (ART 400). The course introduces students to various methodologies used by art historians and archaeologists, and many assignments relate directly to their junior independent work. Students who are abroad during the fall of the junior year can complete the junior seminar during the fall term of the senior year.
Junior Independent Work
Junior independent work begins in the fall, in the context of the junior seminar (ART 400), and continues into the spring with a faculty adviser. It consists of a research paper of approximately 30-40 pages on any topic related to visual and material culture. Assignments in ART 400 help students conceptualize and implement their research agendas.
Senior Independent Work
The senior independent work consists of a year-long research project of approximately 60-80 pages on a topic selected by the student and approved by the faculty adviser. The student selects a faculty adviser in the spring of the junior year and submits an outline and annotated bibliography to the adviser by mid-November of the senior year. The thesis grade is the average of the grades given by the faculty adviser and a second faculty reader.
Senior Departmental Examination
The senior departmental examination consists of a one-hour oral examination discussing the senior thesis and also covering material from departmental courses. It is attended by three faculty members, consisting of the adviser of the senior thesis, the second reader, and one additional faculty member.
Practice of Art Track
Concentrators in this track explore the traditions, thought processes, and methods of making visual art in connection with a liberal arts education. Courses are offered in painting, drawing, graphic design, media, sculpture, photography, film and video production, and film history and theory.
Two courses in the Program in Visual Arts and one course in the Department of Art and Archaeology. By the first Wednesday following spring break, sophomores submit an application and a portfolio of creative work to the Lewis Center for the Arts administrative office. The admissions committee for the Program in Visual Arts will notify students accepted into the program by early April. No AP credit is accepted toward the Practice of Art concentration.
Program of Study
A total of 10 courses, of which at least seven must be from the Program in Visual Arts and three must be from the Department of Art and Archaeology and taught by Art and Archaeology faculty.
The visual arts courses must include: studio courses in at least two different media; two studio courses at the 300 or 400 level; VIS 392 Issues in Contemporary Art; and VIS 416 Exhibition Issues and Methods or VIS 417 Fall Film Seminar. The Department of Art and Archaeology courses must include: at least one course from Group 3 (19th century to the present); and two others, including at least one course from Group 1 (ancient) or Group 2 (medieval/early modern). The third course may be from any group.
Courses for film students must include: three studio courses at any level in at least two different media (screenwriting courses are accepted as a different medium from film production courses); an additional two studio courses at the 300 or 400 level; VIS 419 (taken in the spring of junior year); and one additional film seminar, with prior approval from the film faculty. VIS 392 or VIS 416 count towards this last requirement. The Department of Art and Archaeology courses must include: at least one course from Group 3 (19th century to the present); and two others, including at least one course from Group 1 (ancient) or Group 2 (medieval/early modern). The third course may be from any group. For one of the three ART courses, film students may substitute a film course cross-listed with ART. The chronological distribution requirement remains in place.
Up to two courses in studio art or art history may be taken at other institutions during the summers with prior approval by the departmental representative (for history of art courses) or the director of the Program in Visual Arts (for practice of art courses). Courses taken as part of the Study Abroad Program may be allowed to count as departmentals with prior approval from the departmental representative and the director of the Program in Visual Arts.
During the fall of the junior year, all concentrators must take the junior seminar, VIS 392 Issues in Contemporary Art, except for film students who must take VIS 419 in the spring. VIS 392 coincides with admission to the junior studios and investigates the history, challenges, and rewards of studio practice. Through readings, discussions, studio critiques, and a culminating exhibition of works in progress, VIS 392 provides the foundation for students' independent creative development, as well as the impetus for beginning to be able to articulate the historical precedents and ambitions of their work.
Junior Independent Work
During their junior year, each student is assigned a studio work space in the Room 401 loft of 185 Nassau. In consultation with their faculty advisers, students prepare independent work in their studios. This year-long project culminates in an exhibition as part of the spring Junior Group Thesis Show.
Film students work with one adviser throughout their junior year to create a junior film.
Senior Independent Work
By the end of the second week of the fall term of the senior year, students must have three advisers, including one from the Department of Art and Archaeology faculty. The senior independent work is a major studio project completed by the end of the spring term, which is done in consultation with the student's advisers. Students are assigned semiprivate studios on the second floor of 185 Nassau. Students present their work in an exhibition at the end of the year at the Lewis Center. The grade for the senior independent work represents an evaluation of the entire year's studio work and is the average of two grades: (1) the average of the grades given by the student's three advisers; and (2) the average of the grades given by the rest of the Program in Visual Arts faculty who view the senior exhibition. A separate grade is given for the student's oral defense of the thesis exhibition by his/her thesis advisers only.
Senior Departmental Examination
The senior departmental examination takes the form of a one-hour critical discussion of the senior thesis exhibition with the student's three advisers in the latter half of the spring term, in the presence of each student's exhibition. The discussion is open to all Program in Visual Arts faculty and Practice of Art/Certificate students. The grade for the oral examination is the average of the three grades given by the advisers participating in the examination.
Resources for Research
Outstanding resources are available for students concentrating in art and archaeology. These include the Marquand Library, a non-circulating research library with over 400,000 books; the Princeton University Art Museum; the Index of Medieval Art; the Visual Resources Collection; and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art. Firestone Library also houses extensive holdings of illuminated manuscripts, prints, and photographs in departments including the Manuscripts Division, Graphic Arts Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, the Cotsen Children's Library, and the Western Americana Collection. Staff members in the University Art Museum and the Index of Medieval Art occasionally offer courses or otherwise participate in the department's teaching activities. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the proximity of major museum collections in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.
Honors are awarded by a vote of the faculty to students having the highest, weighted grade point average based on grades achieved in departmental courses, junior independent work, senior independent work, and the senior oral examination.
Preparation for Graduate Study
Students who are contemplating graduate work in the history of art and archaeology are reminded that most graduate programs require a reading knowledge of two or more foreign languages. In some fields German is particularly important.
Certificate in Archaeology
The Department of Art and Archaeology offers students the opportunity to earn a certificate in archaeology while pursuing the History of Art or Practice of Art tracks or while concentrating in another department. The Program in Archaeology aims to provide a broad introduction to the field of archaeology and to allow students to pursue archaeological interests that complement their research in other areas.
Undergraduate students may apply for formal admission to the Program during their sophomore year after taking any one of the courses offered by the Program. A freshman seminar or other alternative may be approved by the program director.
Certificate in Visual Arts
For certificate requirements, see the description under the Program in Visual Arts.