Why Study Art History at John Cabot University


Interested in art history?  Why not study at an American university in Italy? Instead of just learning about the Sistine Chapel or Roman Forum in the classroom, have class there with your professor!  John Cabot University’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History is especially structured to take full advantage of the unparalleled richness of the museums, churches, archaeological sites and art galleries that Rome and Italy have to offer.  Recent JCU Art History alumni have been accepted to top-rated graduate programs, won high-profile prizes, and have begun exciting careers.

JCU’s Art History program has signature features that make it one of a kind.  With the renowned City Series, for example, students can choose from five semester-long courses each covering a different era in the history of art in Rome:  Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern.  These highly successful and popular courses – which bring you face to face with some of the world’s greatest art – are taught entirely on location in Rome by internationally recognized specialists.  Highly popular with both JCU and visiting students, they reveal the glories and complexities of Rome and its many layers in a way impossible in a traditional classroom.

Art history students at John Cabot begin the major with a series of four foundation courses (the World Art Series) and art-historical electives in different periods and cultures to develop a strong conceptual foundation in art worldwide before branching out into their specific areas of interest. Two methodologies courses, beginning and advanced, explore the diverse approaches and analytical methods of art history. Students then practice these methods in the fascinating array of specialized courses that allow them to deepen their knowledge of the areas that most interest them – for example, Ancient Roman Portraiture; Art in the Age of Augustus; Islamic Art and Architecture; Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Illumination; Michelangelo; Venetian Painting; Roman Baroque Sculpture; Caravaggio; Picasso; and Spirituality and Transcendence in Modern Art.

In the fourth year, students select a topic for their senior thesis, working individually alongside a faculty member who specializes in the student’s area of study.  The Art History Research Practicum, another hallmark of John Cabot’s Art History program, gets the thesis rolling.  The Practicum guides art history students in the creative, nuts-and-bolts process of developing a major professional research project and opens up the full array of historical and art-historical resources available to them in Rome, including  libraries, archives, study collections, oral-history sources, and specialized scholars.

The practical element is an essential part of Art History at our university in Rome. In JCU’s Curating Museums and Galleries course, students learn about the history and practice of curating, meet important curators from all over Rome, and curate their own public exhibitions of contemporary art. During the summer JCU students can also study archaeology and material culture while digging and documenting one of the most interesting new excavation sites in the Mediterranean at the Alberese Archaeological Field School in Tuscany.  A wide range of competitive internships are available to you when you study in Italy at JCU, offering valuable professional experience and networking opportunities – for instance at the British School at Rome, one of the chief foreign academies in Rome and a world center of scholarship on Roman history and art; and at the Biblioteca Angelica, Europe’s oldest public library, with a world-class collection of decorated manuscripts and early printed books.

A Great Stepping Stone to a Rewarding Career

These kinds of opportunities are one reason that many of JCU’s students have gone on to successful careers in the art world. Alumna Flavia Frigeri is now assistant curator at the Tate Modern in London, where she has co-curated exhibitions on Paul Klee and on Matisse’s Cut Outs. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Art History at University College, London.

Right after graduating from JCU, Anna Bottinelli was hired as a researcher for the Monuments Men Foundation. She continued to work for the Foundation while completing her M.A. in Art History at the Courtauld Institute in London and then turned the job into a career, working to research and return art works stolen in war time.  As part of her job, Anna helped with the recent Monuments Men movie and got to know the cast, including George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Bill Murray.

JCU Alumna Yoko Hara is currently finishing her second year of a two-year Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome while completing her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia.  Meanwhile, Angels Miralda Tena is pursuing her doctorate in Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art in London.

2012 graduate Clarissa Ghelli was awarded a fellowship to study at Teacher’s College at Columbia University where she is now pursuing her Master’s in Art Education, while Celia Yang recently left her job at Christie’s to join the development team at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Rebecca Mir studied art history as a visiting student at John Cabot University before going on to become Director of Digital Media and Online Learning for the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

From its focused course content and internship opportunities to the guidance of its dedicated and expert professors, John Cabot University’s Bachelor of Arts in Art History not only provides you with the knowledge to succeed, but also great opportunities to launch your career. Check out the department page for more details.

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