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Art & Art History

Stanford’s art and art history department teaches students at all levels to engage with the world around them with insight and imagination.

Students in the Department of Art & Art History develop more than just visual literacy skills. Whether they’re painting or filming, sculpting or studying, they also learn to think critically about the historical, theoretical, and cultural implications of art.

At Stanford, the teaching and practice of art are closely integrated. Leading scholars and critically acclaimed artists guide students’ work in the classroom and studio.

Together, they not only help students build a strong conceptual and technical background but also encourage them to take risks in their scholarship and artwork. Classes spanning history and mediums explore topics from medieval art to light as a sculptural element.

The department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in art history and art practice, including master’s of fine arts in studio art and design. It is also home to the MFA program in documentary film, one of the top filmmaking programs in the country.

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In the Spotlight

  • “Illustrated Title Pages: 1500-1900” exhibit at the Cantor Arts Center“Illustrated Title Pages: 1500-1900” exhibit at the Cantor Arts Center
    This exhibition of 80 illustrated title pages, drawn from the Center’s collection and Stanford Library’s Special Collections, traces the development of the title page from the 16th to 19th centuries. During that time, title page techniques evolved from woodcuts and engravings to the more sophisticated practices of lithography, wood engraving, and photography, along with increasingly complex compositions.
  • A discussion of art censorship issuesA discussion of art censorship issues
    In response to the recent censorship of the exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” Stanford screened the censored film “Fire in My Belly” by David Wojnarowicz and hosted a panel discussion on art censorship with faculty members, students, and cultural leaders from the Bay Area.

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