History of Art

Johns Hopkins offers unsurpassed opportunities for the study of art history. Not only are the department’s faculty members among the most distinguished in the fields of ancient Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern art history, Johns Hopkins routinely welcomes visiting scholars and museum curators to offer courses on the arts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Internationally renowned artists and art historians visit campus to discuss their work in lectures and seminars attended by students and faculty alike. Intensive classroom study is matched by the rich opportunities provided by several world-class museums in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area. Excursions to these great collections, such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington (just one hour away), supplement undergraduate course work with the excitement of direct interactions with great works of art.

Academic Details

Overview of the Undergraduate Curriculum

Undergraduate students majoring in the history of art begin their work with the introductory survey, Introduction to the History of European Art, and then deepen their knowledge by taking seven advanced courses: one Ancient, one Medieval, one Renaissance/Baroque, and one Modern in addition to three additional advanced-level classes. A secondary field consisting of three courses outside art history is developed with the undergraduate adviser. Students must acquire an intermediate-level knowledge of French, German, or Italian and must demonstrate this proficiency either by the successful completion of two intermediate-level courses or, on special request, by departmental examination.

Honors Opportunities

To receive honors in the history of art, students must have a G.P.A. of 3.6 or higher in all the courses required for the major, including those used to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

Student Stories


Kirsten Gausch ‘14 and Ryan Bender ’15 were selected to assist in the collection and research of over 1000 objects to be included in Johns Hopkins’ own wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, which is the focal point of the quiet reading room in the Brody Learning Commons. Artist Mark Dion assembled the piece, entitled “An Archaeology of Knowledge”. For more about the project, visit Arts & Sciences Magazine.

Laura Somenzi ’13 used her Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship to research and curate the exhibit Choreography in Color: The Art of Zelda Fitzgerald, which was on display at the Evergreen Museum and Library from October 2011-January 2012. Laura worked on every aspect of the curatorial process from research to conceptualization, which included everything from coordinating loan requests and photo permissions to writing the text for the exhibit and its accompanying catalog. To learn more about Laura’s project, please visit the Johns Hopkins website.


Joseph Shaikwitz ’14 worked in the offices of American Painting, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts at the Baltimore Museum of Art and interned at Gallery CA, a contemporary art gallery and artist-in-residence studio located in Baltimore. Kirsten Gausch ’14 served as the school partnership program intern at the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Becca Krishnan-Ayer ‘13 interned at a small contemporary art gallery in the Marais in Paris, and Ryan Bender ’15 spent time at Christie’s, one of the largest international art auction houses in the world.

Study Abroad

The History of Art Department regularly offers Renaissance Art in Florence, a course that takes place in Italy during intersession (the 3-week period between winter break and the start of the spring semester). The city of Florence becomes the classroom!  The major in museums and society also offers intersession and summer classes that are held abroad; the galleries, museums, and streets of Paris, London, and Madrid have all served as living art laboratories for these courses. Students majoring in the history of art have also studied abroad for longer terms in Paris, London, Sicily, Istanbul, Berlin, and Singapore.


Related Student Groups

Art Brigade

Thoroughfare Arts Magazine

Hopkins Museum Club

Campus & Baltimore Resources

Johns Hopkins is home to three teaching museums:

Museums in the greater-Baltimore-Washington area:

The Walters Art Museum

The Baltimore Museum of Art

The American Visionary Arts Museum

The National Gallery of Art

The Smithsonian

Majors & Minors Programs