History of Art and Architecture

Professor Yukio Lippit, Director of Undergraduate Studies

The History of Art and Architecture concentration offers training in the historical interpretation and critical analysis of the visual arts and architecture. It develops the skills of visual discrimination and verbal expression fundamental to art historical analysis.

Encompassing material from the widest range of geographic and historical origins, art history is itself a multifaceted discipline embracing many different methods, perspectives and interests. Sometimes it deduces from works of art the time and place of their making, or the identity of their makers. Sometimes it examines how concepts, ideals, and sensibilities of people of the past are expressed in their art, and further, how that art influenced wider aspects of their culture.  Sometimes it explores within large-scale fabrications (buildings, towns, cities) the dynamic between human and natural worlds. These and other approaches are reflected in the teaching and scholarship of the History of Art and Architecture faculty.

Training in the critical analysis of art seeks to clarify the perception—and understanding—of how artworks relate to the techniques and materials used in their making, and to the environment in which they are seen. It also fosters the ability to make and explain judgments of quality and value. Instruction in critical analysis is aided by the history of art and architecture department’s partnership with one of the world’s greatest teaching museums, comprising the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Sackler Museums. This offers students a unique opportunity of first-hand study of original works of art in many media.

Concentration requirements insure that students are well versed in both the historical and critical facets of the field. Generally, course work offers coverage of the history of art, while a sequence of small-group tutorials develop critical skills.  For students with a special interest in architecture, the concentration offers courses on architectural history and urban planning, while also helping to advise in, and coordinate, relevant coursework undertaken beyond the department.  Courses in the History of Art and Architecture undergraduate curriculum are structured as a three-tier system, consisting of a sequence of entry-level and field-specific introductory courses, upper-level courses, and tutorials.

History of Art and Architecture (HAA) 1, HAA 10, and HAA 11 are general, conceptual introductions (to world art from pre-history to the present, history of later western art, and history of world architecture, respectively) each of which could serve as a point of entry into the courses and concentration of History of Art and Architecture, as would the new Gen Ed offering HUM 11a, “The Art of Looking”.

Tutorials are small-group seminars which discuss the methodology of the discipline or examine a specific research topic in the discipline. These are intended to provide increasing expertise in critical and analytical thinking, and serve as a basis for independent senior research projects. The senior thesis offers a student the opportunity to apply in greater depth one or more of the methods and aims developed in courses and tutorials, although, of course, theses often deal with subjects not included in class work.

The concentration in History of Art and Architecture can be pursued in conjunction with several other concentrations, most commonly Visual and Environmental Studies, English, Anthropology, Literature, area studies, or Romance Languages. Together with the Departments of the Classics, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Anthropology, the Department of History of Art and Architecture initiates students in the study of archaeology.

Architecture Studies is a track within the History of Art and Architecture concentration, jointly administered by the History of Art and Architecture and the Graduate School of Design. The track has its own requirements, which are detailed below. Students wishing to pursue other specific interests may receive advising from appropriate faculty as arranged by the director of undergraduate studies.

Requirements for all concentrators, joint and full, provide exposure to a variety of areas within art history, as well as allow for the selection of a major field focus from among the following: African, Ancient (Egypt, Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome), Architecture, Baroque and Rococo, Byzantine, Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Islamic, Latin American/Pre-Columbian, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary, and Renaissance.

A History of Art and Architecture concentration is an effective core to a liberal arts education, and not merely pre-professional training for future art historians. The history of art and architecture is virtually unique among academic disciplines in studying the products of societies in every part of the world over the entire span of history, from the Paleolithic cave paintings to the works of our closest contemporaries.

Students concerned with joint concentration, credit for work done elsewhere, and late transfer into History of Art and Architecture should consult with the director of undergraduate studies. All concentrators should arrange advising appointments with the director of undergraduate studies at the start of each term.

REQUIREMENTS
Basic Requirements: 12 courses (48 credits)

  1. Required courses:
    1. Three courses from offered introductory courses, numbered History of Art and Architecture 1–89. (Freshmen considering the concentration should normally take at least one of these in their freshman year, although this is not a prerequisite for the concentration.)
    2. Three courses in a major field chosen from the list in item 5c.
    3. Three courses in at least two different areas outside the major field to be chosen from courses with two or three-digit numeration or offerings in the Program in General Education.
    4. One course of History of Art and Architecture 97r (see item 2a).
    5. One course of History of Art and Architecture 98ar (see item 2b).
    6. One course of History of Art and Architecture 98br (see item 2b).
    7. Note: Of the twelve courses required, a distribution requirement must be fulfilled as follows:
      1. One course in items 1a, 1b, 1c, or 1d must be in Asian, Islamic, African, or Latin American/Pre-Columbian if the major field is in any area of European or North American art or architecture; or one course in European or North American art or architecture if the major field is Asian, Islamic, African, or Latin American/Pre-Columbian.
      2. Two courses in two different periods other than that of the major field. No more than five of the series of courses numbered History of Art and Architecture 10-89 may be taken for concentration credit, except with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. The balance should be tutorials and upper-level courses.
  2. Tutorials:
    1. Sophomore year: History of Art and Architecture 97r (one term) required. Letter-graded. Group tutorial, is an introduction to the methods and research skills of art history.
    2. Junior year: History of Art and Architecture 98ar (one term) and History of Art and Architecture 98br (one term) required. Letter-graded. History of Art and Architecture 98ar, faculty tutorial, consists of weekly meetings with designated faculty, where regular reading and writing assignments are focused on a topic of mutual interest. History of Art and Architecture 98br offers concentrators the choice of several study groups investigating a particular field of art history. History of Art and Architecture 98ar and 98br need not be taken in sequential order.
  3. Thesis: None.
  4. General Examinations: None.
  5. Other information:
    1. History of art and architecture courses may include: General Education courses given by members of the Department of History of Art and Architecture; all historical courses in visual and environmental studies; classical archaeology; selected courses in the Program in General Education, the humanities, anthropology, and African and African American studies; certain offerings of the Graduate School of Design; and certain Freshman Seminars. The designation of any course taken outside the Department of History of Art and Architecture as a concentration course is subject to the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. No more than two half-courses may be “imported” into the concentration by petition over and above those which are already cross-listed; exceptions for coursework done as part of study abroad programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
      1. Pass/Fail: Normally, no work taken Pass/Fail will be accepted as part of the concentration; however, the director of undergraduate studies may make an exception for not more than one Freshman Seminar (graded SAT/UNS).
      2. Major fields: Students elect one of the categories below as an area of focus.
    African Ancient
    Architecture Baroque and Rococo
    Byzantine Chinese
    South Asian Islamic
    Japanese Latin American/Pre-Columbian
    Medieval Modern and Contemporary
    Renaissance  

    Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 14 courses (56 credits)

    1. Required courses: Same as Basic Requirements.
    2. Tutorials:
      1. Same as Basic Requirements.
      2. Same as Basic Requirements.
      3. Senior Year: History of Art and Architecture 99 (two terms). Graded SAT/UNS. In the fall term, History of Art and Architecture 99 includes several group tutorial meetings with the senior honors adviser, where assignments are aimed at facilitating the writing of a senior thesis.
    3. Thesis: Required, ordinarily written as part of History of Art and Architecture 99. A student who does not complete the thesis but wishes to receive year-long 8-credit or year 4-credit course credit for History of Art and Architecture 99 must submit a paper or other substantial piece of work. Only students with a minimum grade point average of 3.00 within the concentration are eligible to write a thesis.
    4. General Examination: None.
    5. Other information: Same as Basic Requirements.

    Architecture Studies Track
    Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 14 courses (56 credits) and thesis

    Architecture Studies is a track within the History of Art and Architecture concentration, jointly administered by the History of Art and Architecture and the Graduate School of Design, it pursues the study of architecture within the spirit of a liberal arts education.

    The track has its own requirements, which are detailed below. A statement of purpose and a proposed course plan is required for Architecture Studies. Interested students should contact the HAA coordinator of undergraduate studies for further information on this process and on the curriculum overall.

    Architecture stands at the intersection of creative imagination, practical realization, and social use, comprising not only material structures of human occupation, but also the dynamic processes that shape human action and experience. The study of architecture integrates technical and humanistic methods of inquiry with written and visual modes of representation, in traditional classroom venues and “making”-based studios designed especially for this concentration.

    Within the Architecture Studies track, two broad areas of emphasis may be chosen:
    (1) History and Theory, which includes the study of architecture, cities, landscapes, designed objects, ornament, architectural photography, and material culture, in diverse places and time periods including Africa, the Americas, China, Europe, India, the Islamic world, and Japan, all from antiquity to the present; and (2) Design Studies, which includes investigations into the social and aesthetic dimensions of contemporary architecture, landscapes, cities, and territories, emphasizing issues of sustainable environments, new forms of urbanism, and the use of digital media for visualization and analysis.

    Both the “History and Theory” and the “Design Studies” areas teach architecture within the larger visual culture.

    1. Required courses
      1. HAA 11, Landmarks of World Architecture  - or - HAA 22, The Architectural Imagination.
      2. Three courses in architecture or a related field from offered courses numbered HAA 12-89 and 100-199, adhering to the following guidelines: at least one course in Asian, Islamic, African, South Asian, or Latin American/Pre-Columbian art or architecture; one course in any area of European or North American architecture; and one course in architecture before 1800. See the Undergraduate Coordinator for a list of approved courses.
      3. HAA 96a, Architecture Studio 1: Transformations (course). Studio may be taken sophomore or junior year. No prerequisite. Studio meets for six hours per week.
      4. HAA 96b, Architecture Studio 2: Connections (course). Studio may be taken junior or senior year. HAA 96a must be taken as a prerequisite. Studio meets for six hours per week.
      5. One course of HAA 98ar (see item 3a).
      6. One course of HAA 97r (see item 3b).
    2. Distribution Requirements for Areas of Emphasis

      History and Theory. Four courses in architecture or a related field, from offered courses numbered HAA 100-299 or related courses at the GSD, with approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (e.g., GSD 4121, 4122, 4223, 4141, 4142). Courses should be balanced between the two departments. Courses in the HAA 200 range require permission of instructor. Other courses from the HAA or GSD rosters, or courses from other departments, may be substituted with approval of the DUS (see item 6a).

       Or

      Design Studies. Four courses from offered courses that investigate design media, and the social, ecological, and aesthetic dimensions of environments, numbered HAA 100-199 or related course at the  GSD with approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (e.g., GSD  2223, 3241, 3242, 3332). Courses should be balanced between the two departments. GSD courses require permission of instructor.  Other courses from the HAA or GSD rosters, or courses from other departments, may be substituted with approval of the DUS (see item 6a)
    3. Tutorials:
      1. Junior Year: History of Art and Architecture 98ar (one term) required. Letter-graded. Tutorial led by individual faculty member, offers concentrators the choice of several topics in the field of art and architectural history. 
      2. Sophomore Year: History of Art and Architecture  97r  (one term) required. Letter-graded. History of Art and Architecture  97r is an introduction to the methods and research skills of art and architectural history.
    4. Thesis: None required.
    5. General Examinations: None.
    6. Other information:
      1. The designation as a concentration course of any course taken outside of those listed above or on the program’s list of approved courses is subject to the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. No more than two courses may be “imported” into the concentration by petition over and above those which are already cross-listed; exceptions for coursework done as part of study abroad programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
      2. Pass/Fail: Normally, no work taken Pass/Fail will be accepted as part of the concentration; however, the Director of Undergraduate Studies may make an exception for not more than one Freshman Seminar (graded SAT/UNS).

    Architecture Studies Track
    Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 14 courses (56 credits) and thesis

    1. Required courses: Same as Basic Requirements
    2. Tutorials:
      1. Same as Basic Requirements.
      2. Same as Basic Requirements
      3. Senior Year: History of Art and Architecture 99 (two terms). Graded SAT/UNS. In the fall term, History of Art and Architecture 99 includes several group tutorial meetings with the senior honors adviser, where assignments are aimed at facilitating the writing of a senior thesis.
    3. Thesis: Required, ordinarily written as part of History of Art and Architecture 99. A student who does not complete the thesis but wishes to receive year-long 8-credit or year 4-credit course credit for History of Art and Architecture 99 must submit a paper or other substantial piece of work. Only students with a minimum grade point average of 3.00 within the concentration are eligible to write a thesis.
    4. General Examination: None.
    5. Other information: Same as Basic Requirements.

    ADVISING

    Departmental academic advising is provided by the faculty, and by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Yukio Lippit, who meets individually with concentrators to discuss course selection, tutorials, and thesis topics (usually at the beginning of each term and by appointment at other times).

    Students are reminded, however, that they are each ultimately responsible for the fulfillment of concentration requirements, and should check regularly on the current status of their progress. Procedural information and advice is available throughout the year in the Undergraduate Office. Please contact the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies, Thomas Batchelder at 2 Arrow Street, 3rd Floor, (617-495-2310), who is available on a walk-in basis during most regular office hours. Senior Honors Advisor is Professor Jinah Kim and Director of Graduate Studies is Professor Jeffrey Hamburger. Our Department Chairman is Professor David Roxburgh.

    RESOURCES

    History of Art and Architecture concentrators benefit from the unusually rich University collections of Harvard’s five museums: the Fogg, Sackler, Busch-Reisinger (-the Harvard Art Museums), Semitic, and Peabody museums containing Western, Asian, and ethnographic art.  Concentrators often have an opportunity to be involved in aspects of museum operations, working with curators and museum staff to research pieces in the collection and/or share in the mounting of exhibitions. Harvard’s library holdings in art and archaeology include more than 250,000 books and more than 1,500,000 photographs and slides.

    The Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts are three of Boston’s great cultural resources.  Entrance to these institutions is free to undergraduates who show their Harvard ID cards at the door.

    HOW TO FIND OUT MORE

    For further information regarding the concentration contact the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies, Thomas Batchelder, 2 Arrow Street, 3rd Floor, 617-495-2310; email: tbatchel@fas.harvard.edu.

    Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9–5.

    ENROLLMENT STATISTICS
    Number of Concentrators as of December

    Concentrators 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
    History of Art and Architecture 62 52 60 63 69 63 61 45 36 28
    History of Art and Architecture + another field 4 4 2 0 1 2 3 0 0 4
    Another field + History of Art and Architecture 6 3 3 2 3 3 4 8 0 6