UC ​Berkeley Admissions Essays

intended major


What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had in the field — such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities — and what you have gained from your involvement.


 Major: Art History 

    I am an artist; a strange blossom of creativity sticking out awkwardly from a long lineage of electrical and later electronic engineers, like a lonely flower on a big, rigid cactus plant. Behind me, I have eight consistent years of rigorous education in the practice of Fine Arts with a private tutor, throughout which I have embraced a wide variety of styles ranging from the measured precision of the High Renaissance to the free, lively strokes of the Impressionists. My tutor always emphasized the origins of these techniques introducing me to monumental artists at a young age in the most interactive way possible. In explaining the works of Renoir she would pull apart the layers of paint down to the initial sketches, and with my own brushes I would build his paintings back up, layer by layer, just as he did decades ago; this filled me with the most incredible feeling, as if my own hands became portals to the past, and I could watch the creation of a painting that now became an irreplaceable part of history. Over the eight years, this approach to mastering painting shaped my deepest interest in the History of Art, making the pursuit of new knowledge in this inexhaustible field my passion. 

    My pursuits became increasingly pronounced as I gained independence: since I was fourteen, I started regularly visiting the Pushkin State Museum in Moscow, frequented museums in San Francisco, visited the Louvre, Uffizi and Dresden Galleries, and much more. Constantly sketching, I rapidly advanced in fine arts, but was left with a beautiful soup of wonder and awe, peppered with loosely connected names and dates in terms of Art History. 

    It was not until my freshman year in college that this ambiguous fascination turned into something solid and powerful. My first formal Art History courses made me glow and burn with fascination; I watched in awe as years of loved, familiar paintings suddenly snapped into a solid structure, metal rods rose out of antiquity to support all later movements, mentors linked with students and fell into their appropriate levels of this structure, each connection sparked and got welded together in my mind. The light, dreamlike veil of mystique that surrounded my idea of art evaporated in a matter of weeks, and I was suddenly awoken to see the gravity and grandeur of the things I have known for years.

     I visited the Pushkin State Museum 24 times that summer, filling 3 notebooks with notes, brought back 15 pounds of Art History books from Europe, and began serious independent research including online publications.

    Upon my return to America, I felt my mind overflowing with information and, to categorize it, came up with an extensive project which turned my room into a shrine to the world heritage of art. A long timeline ranging from 500 BC to the end of the 20th century encircles three walls of my room. It is segmented into overlapping movements, color coded for different countries, with separate lines stretching along the main timeline to show lives of artists, with small colored reproductions of their major works attached in chronological order. This timeline is thoroughly supplemented with short biographies of influential Philosophers, indications of mentor/student relations link artists, thick black lines of wars, plagues and religious reforms indicate serious shifts in ideals, and consequentially the subject matter of paintings, showing how rising and falling empires, like natural disasters, wipe out the old ways giving life to the new. 

    The beauty of this project is that it’s forever a work in progress that can be constantly supplemented with new information. The first thing I do upon returning form a museum is print colored reproductions of one or two new pieces I saw, or add an entire new line for an artist I discovered and researched. It is a growing and moving creature, always hungry for new information, urging me to fill the gaps in my knowledge. 

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How to cite this essay (MLA)

Anonymous Student. "intended major" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 01 Aug. 2015. Web. 13 Jul. 2024. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/uc-berkeley/intended-major/>.