3 Reasons Why You Should Take an Art History Class

When my mom first told me, “You should take an art history class!”, I thought, "That sounds like something I am not interested in." However, I signed up anyway—as the old saying goes, mothers know best (and she did) When I first walked into the class, the auditorium was dark and crowded, and I listened to the professor discuss the art and architecture that we would be learning about in the upcoming weeks. I had intended on dropping the course (I was taking one too many classes), but the more I listened in the first lecture, the more interested I became. Here's why you should step out of your comfort zone and try out an art history class:

1. You get to go on field trips. 

#TBT to grade school days, where weeks were instantly better if there was a field trip where you could sing on the bus with your friends before and after the trip—field trips were always a welcome break in the week. In my art history class at UMass Amherst, we got to go to the Mount Holyoke Art College Art Museum to study the art we learned about... in person. It was a good way to explore another college in the area, and I actually got to see the works of art that I'd been studying firsthand, rather than just on a screen in class.

2. You learn how to really appreciate art. 

When I used to go to museums as a kid, I would quickly walk from art piece to art piece. I would wonder how my parents could even look at a work of art for longer than a minute. I used to get bored because I never knew how to interpret a piece of art, but art history taught me how to look beyond what's in the image, and to focus more in-depth on the work of architecture. I learned a lot about certain time periods, about how gender was depicted throughout the years, and about how a person’s clothes showed their class status. Art history classes also teach you how the architecture in a building often correlates with its purpose, such as with churches and religion. This knowledge helps you to appreciate art in more than just one way. 

3. You learn about history, but not in a boring way. 

By learning about pieces of art from different time periods, you also learn about the history of the time period in which the art was created, like when Alexander the Great ruled, or the kind of art that emerged from defeating the Gauls. You learn about each area of the world from ancient Egypt to Italy, while also studying the art so you can see what the time period was really like.

The course overall is very interesting, more than what I expected, and I actually look forward to attending class (which might sound kind of lame, but it’s true). The course at UMass also satisfies two gen-ed classes, and the discussion classes are in South College—which is arguably the most pretty building on campus—so what’s not to look forward to? Take an art history class, you won't regret it! 

Images: 1, 2 , 3