What is a work of art? Why have human beings, throughout history, found the need to make and destroy images and monuments? And how do new technologies—from concrete vaulting to oil paint to cinema to jpegs—change the nature and function of spaces and pictures in our lives? These are some of the questions asked in the Department of Art History at Rice, a place where images, architecture, and works of art are examined with open minds and attentive eyes.
Our core faculty includes experts in the art and architecture of the Americas, Asia, and Europe, spanning from antiquity through contemporary times. Across these diverse fields, we look beyond categories of period and style to ask essential questions about what images, built structures, and works of art do, and what we do with them in turn.