Art History Major

Study the theory, history and philosophy of art; learn to research and write about artworks; and gain expertise on art objects from a variety of cultures and periods.

Art history majors and minors examine the imagery of their own and other cultures, exploring questions concerning historical method, cultural diversity, feminism and critical theory.

Study architecture and fresco painting in Italy; the art of African artists and of artists of African descent in the Americas; the history of cities and gardens; issues of gender and the body; and the social history of North American and South American art, including Native American traditions.

Our professors in the Art History Program, a joint effort by Pomona and Scripps colleges, with affiliated faculty at Pitzer College, address European, North American, South American, African, African Diaspora, Native American and Asian topics.

Art History Professor Phyllis Jackson in class
Art history class with Professor Phyllis Jackson
Class with George Gorse
In class with Professor George Gorse

What You’ll Study

    • ​Two introductory art history courses
    • The art of Asia, Africa or the African Diaspora
    • One course in the art of the Americas
    • Courses in the art of Europe before and after 1840
    • One studio art course
artifacts are in Pomona’s Native American art collection.

Researching at Pomona

Rivera Mesoamerican Painting

An Analysis of the ‘Classic’ & ‘Modern’ in Diego Rivera’s Flower Day

Barbara Joy Peisch '19 learned how modern art involves sentiments of the past and present: it can serve as propaganda for future progress and preexisting traditions. She explored this dynamism in Rivera’s painting: he uses iconography representative of classic Mesoamerican history, renders his subjects in Modernist style, and composes his works under the influence of Greco-Roman Classicism.

Vivienne Yixuan Shi
Vivienne Yixuan Shi '19

Art reflects the artist’s and patron’s mindset. It’s fascinating to see and study how intangible, fluid things such as cultures and beliefs visually translate into something concrete.

Faculty & Teaching

Our faculty’s expertise in art history spans the centuries from ancient to modern, and includes architecture and urban planning, photography, film, museum history and contemporary museum practices, critical race theory, and public art.

Professor George Gorse

It is often said that ‘We live in a visual world’ and the old expression goes, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ Well, Art History teaches you how to see, analyze and think critically about the visual world we live in, about cultural interaction, past and present, and how meaning is made visually. It opens a new perspective on life and how to be an effective citizen in our global society today and in the future.