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Archaeology and History of Art

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History of Art and Archaeology is one of the historical programmes of Sorbonne University. The study of ancient civilizations (oriental, Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities), Islamic arts, Asian worlds (India, China and Japan), medieval, modern and contemporary periods, covers large areas in space and time extending from the Mediterranean to China through Northern Europe.

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The History of Art and Archaeology programme can be taken in tandem with up to two minors from any of the departments of History, Philosophy & Sociology, and Literature. 

The study History of Art and Archaeology is about reflecting on material and artistic productions from the Palaeolithic to the contemporary. Divided over three years of study with the equivalent of 60 credits per year (following the European ECTS system), the topics discussed include sculpture, painting, architecture, artworks, manuscripts, carpets, photography, cinema, contemporary installation art, etc., in order to give students the most relevant vision possible of these different skills, their historical origins, the main periods and places of creation, the various functions and/or meanings assigned to art, and the exchanges that have taken place since Antiquity. This approach is, as such, not only aesthetic but also historical, sociological and technical, as the sponsors, artisans, used materials and ateliers are also examined.

The focus of study is on the most influential periods in our past, covering the artistic and archaeological productions of ancient Egypt, the extra-Western world history of art (Chinese, Indian, and Islamic), as well as the medieval, modern, and contemporary Western arts. Alongside these courses, students are provided the opportunity to explore socio-political thought across different worlds, learn about social stratification, study a number of languages, and explore the intricacies of linguistics.

The main fields of study covered span a varied number of periods, places, and peoples: The Arts and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Greece, and Rome; Egyptology; History of Art and Archaeology of the Islamic World, India, and the Far East; History of Art and Archaeology of the Occidental World, from the Middle Ages to the contemporary period; Heritage; courses and options in other departments, particularly History, Philosophy & Sociology, and Literature.

The programme was designed to fulfil five key aims so as to provide our graduates a diverse cultural and general education with a good specialisation in the fields of art history and archaeology:

  • Understand architecture, sculpture, and painting in a historical and critical sense
  • Comprehend the different materials and techniques that have been and can be used
  • Identify the primary works, stylistic movements and current artistic trends
  • Participate in archaeological excavations, field trips and visits
  • Meet and become acquainted with specialists in the fields: historians, archaeologists, curators, and artists.

Successful graduates find themselves in prestigious positions around the world as curators, archaeologists, professors, researchers, art dealers and journalists, or as experts in the diverse markets of culture and heritage. Many of our graduates go on to join numerous Masters programmes, including the Master degree in History of Art and Museum Studies offered only at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

“I have selected Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (PSUAD) because it is a well-known university in the region and because its License program in Archeology and Art History is completely in line with my future values and the type of position I am seeking. My training encompasses the study of many civilizations, their artistic and other cultural activities, along with their traditions and the way people adapted to their surrounding environment. It is based on the study of both archeological sites and works of art (paintings, sculpture, architecture, etc.) belonging to different ages and various civilizations.What I found extremely useful and interesting was the archeology of the Middle East and the Gulf region. I now know much more about the values, the history and the major achievements of our civilization whose origin may be traced back at least to the fourth millennium BC ! In long term I would like to be an employee at the Louvre museum. Moreover, I will seek to get higher degrees in my studies so as to develop my knowledge and qualifications in Archeology and Art History. I will do my best to benefit my organization and I believe that UAE values Art and history and will afford numerous opportunities in the Museums that are under construction in Saadiyat Island at Abu Dhabi.”

Haneen Alblooshi, émirienne, L1 Archéologie et Histoire de l’art

“I entered PSUAD because it is one of the best universities in the world and because it was the dream of my father that I may continue my education in this prestigious university. I chose the Department of Archeology and History of art because I needed, as a painter, a better knowledge in Art History, a discipline that I is rarely taught in the Arab World. I have been also fascinated for years by the Archeology of the Near and the Middle East, as well as the Archeology and History of art of the Gulf region. After three years of studying in this Department, I have learned a great deal and I understand much better the artistic and cultural heritage of each nation. This experience opened my eyes about ancient civilizations and other contemporary cultures. I am certain I will not stop my studies when I finish the BA, but I will try to enter the MA in Art History and Museum Studies at PSUAD. Working in a museum like the Louvre Abu Dhabi would be very exciting.”

Dina Turkieh, Jordanian of palestinian origin, L3 Archeology and History of art