Art History

Art History is the study of visual images and objects.

Subject overview

Art History develops the skills necessary to analyse and interpret a world that is saturated with images. It provides a deeper understanding of different cultural traditions and historical periods, and teaches us the importance of creativity and freedom of the imagination.

You can study a range of art forms from many countries, from historical times to the present day. As well as painting, drawing and sculpture, you can explore photography, video, digital and computer-based art, performance art, cartoons, design, weaving, carving, prints and architecture.

Where can Art History take you?

Studying Art History can build skills in creative thinking, design and planning. These are useful for careers in communication and media, marketing, journalism, conservation, exhibition management, galleries and auction houses, intellectual property and copyright law, tourism, diplomacy, and business management.

Career options with an Arts degree

Explore your study options in Art History


"My greatest satisfaction in teaching comes from seeing students discover a new world, particularly Te Ao Māori." Dr Ngarino Ellis – recipient of a 2019 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award and currently the only Māori art historian holding a teaching position in a New Zealand university.

Video credit: Ako Aotearoa.