Art History Minor

Art historians study the physical, social, intellectual, religious and political contexts that give rise to works of art. and architecture They analyze their stylistic qualities, explore their symbolic meanings and seek to understand the way art critics, historians and other commentators have responded to these artworks over time. The courses satisfying this minor are predominantly concerned with western art ranging from paleolithic Europe through the ancient near east, the classical world, medieval and early modern Europe to the contemporary international art world.

The minor consists of the following 15 credits:


ART-497 Internship (1-3 cr) with the Rosenthal Gallery, the Boise Art Museum, a commercial gallery or any other appropriate art-oriented organization such as the Idaho Commission on the Arts or the Boise City Department of Arts and History.

Note: Courses rich in artistic content, offered by other departments, may also count towards the nine upper-level units. Such courses can be found in the departments of Anthropology & Sociology (for example Anthropology and Art); History (especially those dealing with Ancient Greece, Rome, Medieval and modern Europe); Psychology (particularly those dealing with the cinema) and Interdisciplinary courses such as London: Art, Architecture and Literature. As new courses continue to be developed, it is possible that suitable options may become available in departments other than those listed above. Students who wish to take advantage of this broader range of options should read the catalog description carefully and check with both the course instructor and Art Department faculty to confirm that the course is suitable for the art history minor. In some cases a supplementary research project relating specifically to the visual arts covered by the course in question may be required.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Critical Thinking
  • Developing analytical skills (both visual and textual)
  • Identification and solving of problems
  • Understanding the historical context in which artworks are made
  • Understanding key theoretical approaches underpinning art history
  • Understanding how pictorial conventions contribute to artistic meaning

Upon the successful completion of a minor in art history, students should also be able to communicate effectively in the following ways:

  • discuss some of the ways in which their own encounters with artistic imagery are shaped and limited by their own cultural and historical context
  • write thesis-driven visual analyses in which they conduct fruitful close readings and discuss critically elements of imagery (such as context, composition, style, technique point of view, etc.)
  • demonstrate their ability to incorporate theoretical and/or critical perspectives into their own analyses of artistic images
  • contribute meaningfully to seminar-type critical discussions of issues in art history