La Trobe’s art history alumni have welcomed the introduction of a new art history minor to the University’s Bachelor of Arts program.
The new minor will be introduced in 2018, and marks the return of art history to La Trobe.
Dr Vincent Allessi, Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts at La Trobe, said the Art History Minor was an exciting addition to the Bachelor of Arts offering.
“It is quite different to the way art history has been taught in the past at La Trobe, so instead of teaching it in a purely chronological way, students will also be looking at it thematically,” Vincent said. “This will allow students to think about art as a reflection of the society in which it is produced.”
Students studying the new minor will first be introduced to the western art history cannon from the Renaissance through to Impressionism. After the foundation subject, they will then explore other themes including the social, cultural and political contexts behind specific works.
La Trobe’s Art History Chapter was formed by graduates of the University’s art history program. Sandra Nicholson, Chair of the Chapter and Distinguished Alumnus, said the group was delighted that students would continue to benefit from art history studies.
“The subjects being offered are every exciting and they’ve been modernised which is great to see,” Sandra said. “I always encourage students to give art history a try, no matter what their major is, because it teaches you to look beyond the surface,” she said. “There’s a lot of symbolism in painting and studying it helps you understand the symbolism and thinking of the time – you learn that there is so much more to the art than what you see at first glance.”
The former La Trobe Art History Department produced many world-class curators, educators, researchers and writers. As a former Victoria Police detective, Sandra said her career proved that art history studies could benefit a wide range of pursuits.
“The discipline of art history certainly helped my career because it taught me how to be a lateral thinker and look beyond the obvious,” Sandra said. “It’s just as relevant today as it has ever been.”
During 2017 La Trobe University’s Art History Alumni chapter gathered data and oral histories to create an online historical record of Art History at La Trobe. Find out more about 'Changing Seasons: The Story of Art History' at La Trobe.