Study Art History

Study Art History Abroad

Almost everyone knows Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”. But why are these works so famous? Why is Van Gogh considered a pioneer of Expressionism? And what influence did the works of these masters have on the following generations of artists?

The subject of art history in Germany

Anyone interested in these and similar questions is in good hands with the subject of art history. In contrast to studying the visual or performing arts , this course does not train students to become an artist. Rather, the students deal theoretically with the development of art from antiquity to modern times . They classify and interpret works of art of all genres – from architecture to painting to video art. In order to be able to classify and understand the works of art correctly, they use other sciences such as sociology or literary studies .

According to, numerous German universities offer the subject of art history. The focus is sometimes quite different.

Bachelor’s degree in art history

At the beginning of the bachelor’s degree, students are given an overview of the most important epochs in art history. You will be introduced to the methods of art historical work and learn how to place paintings, sculptures and other works of art in the correct spatial and temporal context.

They also get to know various artistic techniques , such as chasing or the lead casting process. In order to be able to interpret the works of art in terms of content, they also deal with the biographies of individual artists . They also examine the history of the reception of individual art objects and critically examine their own discipline.

Master’s degree in art history

Many graduates follow a bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree in order to specialize and at the same time qualify for higher professional positions . Even those who want to stay in research usually have to do a master’s degree in order to be able to do a doctorate later. Within the master’s program, many students choose to concentrate on one topic . That can be

  • a specific region
  • an epoch
  • an art form like architecture or painting

Requirements for studying art history

Applicants shouldn’t just be enthusiastic about art. An interest in historical and social science contexts is also important for studying art history. Many universities also require knowledge of classical and modern languages . These are necessary in order to understand the specialist literature, which is often foreign-language.

The subject of art history abroad

Many universities around the world offer courses in art history. Depending on the continent, country and cultural area , the courses differ in terms of their focus . This applies not only to individual epochs or art genres, but also to regional characteristics .

In art history courses at universities in the USA, for example, Central and South American art often plays a greater role than in Europe. At universities in Canada , Australia and New Zealand, the art of the indigenous population is increasingly coming into focus.

Reasons for studying art history abroad

A semester abroad gives students the opportunity to recognize the full breadth of their subject and to attend courses that are not or only occasionally offered in Germany . In addition, it is of course also exciting to see how German and European art history is perceived and interpreted outside of Europe.

For advanced students who want to specialize in a particular geographic region , a full master’s degree abroad can be of interest. This allows them to explore art in its original cultural environment.

Professions for art historians

Graduates of a degree in art history can work in a wide variety of professional fields after graduation . Classic workplaces are museums and art galleries . Art historians are responsible for the conception and implementation of exhibitions there. For example, they ensure that all exhibits are delivered, create exhibition catalogs, design guided tours or take care of advertising and public relations .

Other classic fields of work arise in the preservation of monuments or in the art trade . Art historians often take on advisory functions and classify and evaluate public and private buildings and works of art. It is also possible to work independently as a gallery owner, art or antiques dealer . Further possible professional fields arise in specialist publishing houses , in journalism or in the tourism industry . An academic career at the university or in academic institutions such as the German art history institutes is also possible.

Most students want to work in the art-historical fields mentioned. Since jobs in this area are in great demand, it is advisable to collect additional qualifications during your studies .

Can studying art history abroad improve my career prospects?

In addition to practical experience, for example in the context of internships, one or more semesters abroad can also be useful . Finally, semesters abroad offer the opportunity to specialize in regional works of art and thus sharpen your own professional profile . Students abroad also improve their foreign language skills and gain important intercultural skills . Both are welcomed by future employers.

Study Art History