About the Department

Located in a region of unsurpassed artistic riches, Johns Hopkins University offers special opportunities for the study of art history. Students work closely with a faculty of research scholars on aspects of European and American art and have access to the remarkable collections in Baltimore and Washington. In small classes and informal excursions, they integrate their direct experience of works of art with knowledge acquired through historical research. Programs leading to the B.A. and Ph.D. degrees emphasize the value of investigating works of art in various historical contexts and enable students to deepen their understanding of cultural history through courses in other departments.

Facilities and Opportunities

Johns Hopkins is well situated for the study of art history. The University maintains an extensive art library which includes the Fowler Collection of treatises on architecture. Research materials in numerous regional libraries and museums and in the Library of Congress are also accessible to art history students.

Diverse and extraordinarily active museums and research institutions provide a rich environment for the study of art at Johns Hopkins. The Baltimore Museum of Art, adjacent to the campus, has recently completed a new addition to house its growing collections and exhibitions. A short distance from Hopkins, the Walters Art Museum preserves rare collections of ancient and medieval art, Renaissance and 19th-century painting.

Washington, only an hour away, is one of the most exciting art centers in the world. The National Gallery of Art specializes in painting, sculpture, and the graphic arts from the Renaissance to the present day. Modern art is presented in the permanent collections and exhibitions of the Hirshhorn Museum, the National Museum of American Art, and the Phillips Collection. Unique exhibitions of Byzantine and pre-Columbian art are maintained at Dumbarton Oaks, and collections of Asian and African art are housed in the Freer Museum and the Museum of African Art.

Fields of Study


Students who wish to study ancient art work will work with Pier Luigi Tucci and Alan Shapiro. Facilities available to students of Greek and Roman art include the Archaeological Collection on campus and the extraordinary holdings of The Walters Art Museum.


Ever since it was established by Adolf Katzenellenbogen, the department has given special emphasis to the study of medieval art. Students work under the direction of Herbert Kessler. As adjunct members of the faculty, William Noel and Martina Bagnoli of the Walters Art Museum are available for consultation. Stephen Nichols of the Department of Romance Languages and Literature offers courses on illuminated manuscripts and related topics. Seminars in Byzantine art, offered each year at Dumbarton Oaks, are open to Hopkins students.

The extraordinary holdings at the Walters Art Museum and at Dumbarton Oaks are especially valuable for students interested in manuscript illumination and the so-called minor arts. Students also have access to the Dumbarton Oaks research facilities, which include a copy of the Princeton Index of Christian Art.

Renaissance and Baroque

Students work with Professors Stephen Campbell, Mitchell Merback and Felipe Pereda. Associates of the department include Dr. Elizabeth Rodini, who directs the undergraduate program in Museums and Society, Dr. Carl Strehlke (Philadelphia Museum of Art), and Dr. Peter Parshall (National Gallery). Graduate students in Medieval and Renaissance can also participate in the programs of the Singleton Center for Pre-Modern Studies.


Students interested in 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century art work with Professors Michael Fried, Kathryn Tuma, and occasional visiting scholars. In addition, students can develop critical skills by taking courses offered through the Humanities Center, the Philosophy Department, and the departments of various literatures.

The Baltimore Museum of Art, which houses the Cone Collection, and museums in Washington provide stimulating resources and activities for students of modern art.