Welcome Letter

Dear Colleagues, Students, Alumni, Auditors, and Friends,

As an undergraduate, I was required to take one Art History class. This “Art Humanities” requirement was just a box that I needed to check off on a form (yes, a print form and not an electronic one!). Or so I thought.

Very quickly, I learned that this course had so much more to teach me. To understand a single painting, we would spend most of the class exploring concepts that I was learning in my other courses in Religious Studies, Philosophy, and History. Suddenly I understood why people would walk into a museum and carefully examine a visual or material object, and not just rush through to the museum shop and café.

As I write these words reminiscing on my undergraduate Art History class, it is the first day of the Fall 2019 semester. The campus is suddenly full of students, some new and some returning, all on their way to class. And many of them will walk into a class that they think will merely check off a box, only to discover new worlds and new possibilities.

The Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison strives to be a place where students can have such experiences. We have award-winning teachers and researchers who help teach visual literacy and inspire inquiry in the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea.

This year we welcome a new faculty member, Prof. Jennifer Nelson, who specializes in Early Modern Art. We also re-introduce Prof. Yuhang Li, who has just been promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor. We will have many exciting announcements about new faculty books and publications over the 2019–20 academic year. In addition, we will host our first annual Howard Schwartz Memorial Lecture in the spring.

As we near the celebration of our 100th year as a department (in 2025), I am proud to say that the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has a bright future. We will continue to work to inspire the next generation of students who walk into our classrooms expecting to fulfill a requirement, and who walk out with a much greater sense of fulfillment.

If you are interested in learning more about our department, please do not hesitate to contact me.

On Wisconsin!

Jordan D. Rosenblum
Belzer Professor of Classical Judaism
Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies
Chair, Department of Art History