Art History

Get an up-close view of the journey of Katrina King, art history major

Challenge your expectations and experience the world from new perspectives

Roanoke College's exceptional program combines art history and archaeology, allowing students to examine art and material culture from diverse societies and time periods.  In our classes you can develop the skills to decode visual language and become a master at questioning the obvious and interpreting the ambiguous.

king tut's mask

Tutankhamen's gold mask is the best known object belonging to an iconic king. But why was such wealth placed on a mummy, only to be buried and lost forever? The mask might be thought to show us a culture obsessed with death. Many people, not all kings, had gold (or gold-toned) masks.  However, the skin of the gods was made of gold; with a mask, the skin of the deceased became like that of a god. Why this parallel - how do people enter the underworld and become divine?

David, Palazzo Vecchio

Michelangelo's David is a statue of a biblical character that was originally made for the cathedral of Florence.  But when the 17' tall sculpture was finished, the Florentines took it out of its religious context to place it in front of their city hall. What role did naked heroes play in the public life of Renaissance Italians?


Edgar Degas produced dazzling images of the ballet, but are these merely a celebration of an elegant art form? In 19th-century Paris, ballerinas were mostly poor teen-age girls working long hours for low wages that were reputedly "supplemented" by older men.  So, what is Degas showing us and why does he paint this kind of subject?

Art history faculty at Roanoke include specialists in 19th-century France and Renaissance Italy.  In addition our program offers a rare  opportunity in Virginia to study with an Egyptian archaeologist.

Art History Faculty

The Art History program at Roanoke College offers a bachelor of arts or a minor in art history as well as a concentration in Classics & the Ancient Mediterranean World. Art History is part of the Fine Arts Department; we are located in Olin Hall.  Fine Arts Office: Rm. 307, (540) 375-2096.

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