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What Is the Curriculum of an Online Art History Course?

An online art history course offers students the chance to study art and its historical significance from the comfort of home. Read below to find out more about what may be covered in an online art history course.

An Online Art History Course - The Basics

A course in art history is designed to offer students a survey of important historical art pieces and periods. Depending upon the particular course offered, a class may cover a large period of history or focus on a specific trend. Courses sometimes focus on the artistic contributions of particular cultures or regions of the world.

Important Facts About Online Art History Courses

Programs Some courses are offered standalone, while others are part of an online art history degree program
Online Availability Fully online
Possible Careers Historian, curator, archivist, conservator
Continuing Education Select courses are offered through continuing education departments
Median Salary (2018) $48,400 (for archivists, curators, and museum workers)
$61,140 (for historians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% (for archivists, curators, and museum workers)
6% (for historians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Course Topics

Below are some of the topics that may be covered in an online art history course:

Art Interpretation

Most art history courses include a discussion of the variety of ways in which one may interpret an artistic work. A number of art-related factors are examined, including symbolism, perspective and iconology. Students learn to evaluate a work of art based on its historical context and its aesthetic value.

Western Art

Several art history courses reference the important contributions of Western art. The legacy of Greek and Roman art and many other cultures and periods are discussed. Periods such as the Renaissance and Middle Ages are generally included in this discussion.

Asian Art

No study of art history is complete without an investigation of Asian art. A variety of ancient Chinese art pieces are examined, with particular emphasis on Buddhist contributions. Indian and Himalayan artistic contributions are also studied, including Buddhist pieces from Nepal and Tibet.

Art of the 20th Century

Most art history programs dedicate a portion of the study to the artistic movements of the 20th century that are considered important, such as Dadaism and Surrealism. Topics discussed include the rise of abstraction and the ways that social movements influence artistic expression.

Contemporary Art

In addition to studying past artistic movements, students must also consider the effect that these movements had on present artistic trends. This course focuses on art in the last 30 years, and how creative practices have transitioned from the 1900s into the 21st century.