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The History of Art and Architecture concentration offers training in the interpretation and critical analysis of art and architecture. It develops skills in visual discrimination and verbal expression which are of fundamental value to your life at Harvard and beyond. In an era marked by the mass proliferation of images, chiefly through digital technologies and platforms, the cultivation of visual acuity and critical discernment is all the more pressing.
Encompassing material from the widest range of geographic and historical origins, art history is itself a multifaceted discipline embracing many different methods, perspectives, and interests. Sometimes it deduces from artworks the time and place of their making, or the identity of their makers. Sometimes it examines how concepts, ideals, and sensibilities of people of the past are expressed in their art, and further, how that art influenced wider aspects of their culture. Sometimes it explores within buildings, towns, and cities the dynamic between human and natural worlds. These and other approaches are reflected in the teaching and scholarship of the Faculty. Training in the critical analysis of art seeks to clarify the perception—and understanding—of how artworks relate to the techniques and materials used in their making, and to the environment in which they are seen. It also fosters the ability to make and explain judgments of quality and value.
History of Art and Architecture is offered as both a concentration and a secondary field.
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