Let’s face it – as an engineer you probably enjoy taking engineering classes more than writing classes or explorations of the classics. However, that isn’t to say that these classes you’re required to take (you can even view them as an opportunity) aren’t a valuable learning experience that seriously broadens the scope of a traditional engineering education. For instance, this spring semester, I’m taking AHIS-201: Digging Into the Past. Now, of course, Art History courses deal with a large amount of Art, by nature, but the most interesting and valuable portions of these courses are the context that they provide – through both geographical location and time period.
Not only will you learn about Stonehenge (and Woodhenge, which is nearby), you’ll also understand why art was created the way it was and how it fits in to the larger context of historical significance and how people thought during a certain time period.
A great example is that of the Lascaux, in the Cantabrian region of France. Works of art from 15,000 – 13,000 B.C. in the form of cave paintings are focused for their significance of desire from Paleolithic people – they were viewed as good luck. Paintings of abundant wild game would hopefully allow for better hunting, and paintings of healthy women served as a conscious nod towards beneficiary fertility. And, most immediately, the paintings are quite remarkable to view, expecially considering their age.