Division of Department of Integrated Human Sciences Department of Eastern and Japanese Art History
We study the “shape” of works of art to learn more about humans and expression
Art history stands apart from other fields of history because it studies the product of expression, that is, the work of art. New artwork reflects the “shape” of preceding art pieces, and passes it on to those created later. Moreover, a work of art is a means of communication between the creator and the audience. Thinking about the connection between a person and expression can reveal a whole range of insights into history and human nature.
It is hard to translate into ordinary language the information conveyed by an art work – its “shape” – and yet a researcher in art history utilizes his or her senses and knowledge to put this abstraction into words. Here lies the appeal of the discipline. Such an approach requires the researcher to examine the work of art as closely as possible, above everything else. Members of our department travel across the country and abroad to directly observe the objects they study, and our new students learn research methods as they help to prepare for and participate in collective study tours. In that sense, art history is a practical discipline. We hope that everyone who joins us is fascinated by art and is never tired of discovering and appreciating new artwork.