In 1997, the Art Department at the Universidad de los Andes included, amongst its areas of study, Art History and Theory courses, and offered Art students a minor degree in these disciplines. Between 1999 and 2012, twenty students graduated from this option with a BA in Art and a minor in Art History. The program offered Modern and Contemporary Art courses for students from both the mayor in Art and the minor in Art History, and contributed to the General Education program across the University with Art History classes. Around the same time, the Department also supervised a Certificate in Modern and Contemporary Art History that was chaired by professor María Clara Bernal between 2006 el 2011. Five new professors were hired between 2008 and 2011, including specialists in Prehispanic, Medieval, Early Modern, Late Modern and Modern and Contemporary Art. This resulted in a broadening of more areas of study and courses offered to students. Conversations on the need to train professional art historians had been part of the Art Department’s history and so the minor degree was redesigned to become an official undergraduate degree in Art History. This was possible thanks to the support of the then Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, Claudia Montilla, the now former Chair of the Art Department, Carolina Franco, and to professor, Patricia Zalamea. The new Art History program was approved by the Board of Directors of the Universidad de los Andes on June 23, 2010 and was formally inaugurated in January 2012 as the first undergraduate degree in Art History in the country. As part of the history, it is important to highlight these key precedents and steps that allowed the program to become what it is today.
With the program continually growing and expanding, and with the inauguration of the Masters in Art History in August 2016, the University created the Department of Art History in February 2017. Our faculty today includes eleven full time professors with Doctoral degrees. The development and history of the Department, within the University and the country, includes the MA in Art History program, three research groups created for students by professors (Ficha técnica, Andean Art and Archeology Laboratory, Colonial Image), the peer-reviewed academic journal revista H-ART (11 issues in 2022), ten editions of the International Art History Symposium, (2010-2022), several Faculty-led research groups, like: Migrations and Exchanges in the Art of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the creation of the Colombian Chapter of the Colombian Art History Committee, CIHA, overseen by the Art History program since 2016.