Art history is the study of artists, their work, their patrons, their critics, their collectors and their historical context. The student of art history recognizes that artists do not create alone, but are influenced by the economic, political, social, and cultural environment in which they live. Consequently, art history is also the study of the history of ideas. Thus, art history is a multidisciplinary study which uses the art object as one, among many, primary documents to explain and understand the experience of human beings and their material cultural expressions.
Because art history is multidisciplinary, drawing from history, literature, philosophy, psychology, religion, music and even science, it is an ideal major for students of the liberal arts. The study of art history enhances visual literacy and is especially important in advancing our understanding of our multicultural reality. For the liberal arts student art history is particularly helpful in encouraging students to understand the contemporary world from a comparative view. Further, because art history stresses analytical and critical skills, along with the ability to communicate well through research, reading, writing and speaking, the undergraduate student of art history is well on the way to a complete education.