When The Faculty of Fine Art was established in 1948. it was called `Government Institute of Art’. The Institute was established under the leadership of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin.
In 1963 theoretical subjects was added to the practical curriculum. Professor A.K.M Abdul Matin Sarker Joined in 1965 to teach history of Art. Though students of the institute have had to study history of art since 1963 as one of the theoretical papers, there was no separate department for the subject till 1988. In 1989 authority of Dhaka University gave permission for opening the department of History of Art. In 1990-91 academic session the first batch of student was admitted to this department for MFA course. At first only MFA course was introduced. Professor A.K.M. Abdul Matin Sarker was the founding Head of the department. The other teachers were Professor Bulbon Osman, Nazma Begum, Rafiqul Alam and Naheed Akhter. BFA course was introduced from 2001-2002 academic session.
The Department of History of Art is an indispensable department of Faculty of Fine Art. In this modern age, especially in the age of rapid expansion of institutional art practice, it became inevitable for the artists and students who study art and art history to know about inception, evolution and development of art practice, entire knowledge of material and applicable scheme, advancement of art history, human society, nature, culture etc. In spite of starting its Journey concisely, at present Department of History of Art has created an enriched theoretic foundation by configuring syllabus centered upon world art of past and present, indigenous culture and tradition, aesthetics, art theory and art criticism for the students of this department. The discipline encourages humanity and sympathy by teaching visual expression of diverse cultures and societies. The curriculum is designed to address descriptive, conceptual and analytical issues. The courses cover understanding the art of different ages and places of the world. Methodologies of art history and research work are taught according to this curriculum. The discipline also emphasise study and research on art of Bangladesh from ancient to present time. Interdisciplinary studies are encouraged through the curriculum. The Department of History of Art offers Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA, Honors), Master of Fine Art(MFA), Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) and Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD).