Division of Department of Integrated Human Sciences Department of Aesthetics and Western Art History

We study actual art objects in order to figure out the value of “aesthetics”

Interest in the fine arts and visual culture has been increasing in the recent years, and therefore it seems necessary now to question their meaning. Everyone in our department addresses the subject of their research with a general question: “How can it be interpreted?” Each work of art has value of its own, but each also holds a particular place in the history of the arts. The former can be estimated by the means of aesthetic theory, while the latter is determined by considering the work within its historical context. The style of the artwork, its iconography, and its social role are also taken into account.
Research interests in our department gravitate towards Ancient Greco-Roman art, Italian Renaissance art, Dutch art, and Modern French art, and their outstanding representatives. We also address the problem of East and West representation by comparing Eastern and Western arts. Students of our department receive thorough guidance in their studies and research. Furthermore, their awareness of various problems increases on daily basis, as they participate in heated discussions of the latest papers by Western researchers during seminars, and attend regular read-and-discuss sessions and study group meetings.
Quite a few members of our department spend time studying in Europe. There are many distinguished researchers among our graduates, and since our students are usually able to gain the curator qualifications, it is easy for them to find a position at a university or in a museum.

Message from Senior

IKEDA Nagisa

3rd grade, Humanities and Social Sciences
High school : Shizuoka Prefectural Nirayama

Recommended book : Giverny’s Table / Une table de Giverny (Jiveruni no Shokutaku) by Harada Maha
Reason : Hara Maha combines the work of a curator and a writer. She has authored many books and won several literary awards, among them the Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize for the novel Painting of Paradise / La toile du paradis. I find her books about fine arts especially captivating — they can surely be enjoyed even by people who have no particular interest in the subject. Each of the four short stories that comprise Giverny’s Table covers a period of life of some famous artist. I recommend the book to all kinds of readers: but especially to those who love history, good novels, or fine arts.

Highlights of the Faculty of Arts and Letters

There are twenty five departments at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, and at least one of them is bound to match your interests. As I had always loved to peruse paintings by European masters, I decided that this hobby should become a part of my university education. Thus I joined the Department of Aesthetics and Western Art History. We are still studying the basics, but I have been able to learn a lot about areas I did not focus on before, such as the art of antiquity, Dutch art, or the history of aesthetics. I can definitely feel how my world is expanding and getting richer thanks to these lectures. For me, this sensation is the highest merit of studying at the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

To everyone aiming for the Faculty of Arts and Letters

Learning at the Faculty of Arts and Letters covers a wide range of subjects, and it seems that all of them are interconnected! This environment provides countless opportunities, but, on the other hand, you cannot decide on a specific research subject without building a solid basis of knowledge. I do not mean, however, that you must read difficult books. Rather, it matters how well-versed you are in areas other than your favorite field of study (those can include books, music, and so on). It is okay to engage with your hobbies when you get tired of studying!
Apart from the learning process, this approach will aid you in your social life. I believe that all in all it will make your university life more enjoyable.
Also, those of you who are interested in art history should visit as many exhibitions as possible and appreciate artwork from various periods!