1. Union Home
  2. Academics
  3. Programs
  4. Art History

Art History

Art History

As an art history major at Union, you will study a broad range of visual communication across historical periods and cultures – from Renaissance masterworks, Chinese scroll paintings and modern art to the art and science of painting – as you explore how societies throughout history have defined themselves through art.

The Department of Visual Arts offers a dynamic program that features small classes with individual attention and actively engaged professors. Interdisciplinary opportunities include work with Asian studiesAmerican studiesLatin American and Caribbean studiesAfricana studies, gender, sexuality and women's studies, film studies and art conservation.


Faculty specialties include Italian Renaissance painting, Latin American and Caribbean art, Islamic art and architecture, 19th and 20th century European and American art, the arts of Japan, the history of photography, the art and archaeology of early China, and contemporary art and visual culture.

Special learning opportunities



The department sponsors an array of field trips to museums in New York City and other locales. Students also learn from original works of art in the Mandeville Gallery and the special collections of Schaffer Library, home to many rare prints, photographs, manuscripts and artifacts. Each spring, art history majors present their research at Steinmetz Symposium, a day-long research festival.

"Professor Matthew is incredibly knowledgeable about the history of pigments, and you can tell she enjoys it. I love learning about art history from people who want to share their knowledge. It’s contagious."
- Kyra DeTone

Beyond campus, students can take advantage of a departmental term abroad in Italy (Florence) and mini-term in France (Paris). Internships and other forms of specialized study can be arranged with the Union College Permanent Collection, art galleries and museums in the Capital Region, as well as in New York City, Washington, D.C., and abroad.


Art history graduates have secured jobs in major museums, galleries, auction houses and libraries. Advanced study in the field can lead to positions in museum curating, teaching art history and visual culture, art conservation, historic preservation, publishing, and advertising and communications.

After Union:

Architectural conservator, Jan Hird Pokorny Associates

Department coordinator, Art of the Americas, Boston Museum of Fine Art

Associate, Impressionist and Modern Art Department, Sotheby's

Terra Foundation for American Art Fellow, Smithsonian Institution

Assistant, Office of the President, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc.

Policy analyst, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, Washington, D.C.

Within approximately five years, Union graduates with degrees in Music, Theater and Dance, Visual Arts (Art History and Studio Fine Arts) are pursuing careers in a range of fields, including:

  • Business
  • Computer/electronics
  • Design
  • Entertainment
  • Healthcare

They're finding success at:

  • Breakwater Trading
  • Tudor Investment Corporation
  • AlleyNYC
  • Dreamworks Animation SKG. Inc.
  • Columbia University Medical Center

And they are ready for everything as:

  • Broker
  • Computer programmer
  • Graphic designer
  • Artist/sculptor
  • Surgeon