Candidates are required to have taken an essay-based subject to A-level, Advanced Higher, or Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent. History of Art, Fine Art, History, English or a language can be helpful to students in completing this course, although they are not required for admission.
How to apply (see page 118) [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]
No upfront costs: you can get a loan for the full amount
Grants, bursaries and scholarships available
More on student finance: p 120 [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]
+44 (0) 1865 286830
Oxford Open days
2 and 3 July, and 19 September 2014 ox.ac.uk/opendays
What is History of Art?
Anything designed by human beings exhibits visual qualities that are specific to the place and period in which it originates. History of Art concentrates on objects generally described as ‘art’, though in Oxford this definition is framed broadly to embrace items beyond ‘Fine art’ or ‘Western art’. History of Art aims to arrive at an historical understanding of the origins of artefacts within specific world cultures, asking about the circumstances of their making, their makers, the media used, the functions of the images and objects, their critical reception and – not least – their subsequent history. As well as educating students in the historical interpretation of artefacts in their cultural contexts, a degree in History of Art provides skills in the critical analysis of objects through the cultivation of ‘visual literacy’. The acquired skills have broad applicability in a wide range of professional settings, as well as serving the needs of enduring personal enlightenment.
History of Art at Oxford
Oxford possesses unsurpassed resources for the study of visual cultures on a global basis. The University collections, including the world-famous Ashmolean Museum, provide subjects for first-hand study under the supervision of those entrusted with their care. The historic architecture of the city and its environs supplies a rich source of study in its own right. The Oxford degree is designed to provide innovative insights into a wider
range of world art than is available elsewhere in Britain in a single course, drawing its expertise from various faculties and the staff of University collections, as well as from the department itself. There is a strong emphasis upon how the primary visual and written sources from various periods and places can be analysed in different ways, as well as encouraging students to enquire about the nature of reactions to what we call ‘art’.
What are tutors looking for?
Candidates should show evidence of lively engagement with culture, both contemporary and historical. Prior knowledge of the history of art is absolutely not a requirement: many successful applicants have never studied the subject before university. What is looked for in applicants is a keen and critical observation of art and of the material environment in general. At interview, candidates are invited to demonstrate willingness to engage in focused discussion and debate about visual issues, and in addition to respond to one or more photographs of unfamiliar images (which applicants will not be expected to recognise).
Students interested in this course might also like to consider Archaeology and Anthropology, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Classics, English, Fine Art, other History courses or Modern Languages.
The cultural industries are one of the biggest employers in the world. In addition to museums and galleries, there are many governmental and non-governmental agencies that work to conserve, research and promote cultural heritage and to further the production of art. Furthermore, History of Art graduates will be especially competitive for posts in any area that requires combinations of visual and verbal skills, such as publishing, advertising and marketing, as well as entering the wide range of professions available to all humanities graduates.
For more information about careers after Oxford, please see p 122 [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].
History of Art Podcasts
A number of core lectures and some public lectures and seminars on a range of subjects are available at podcasts.ox.ac.uk/units/department-history-art
Four elements are taken:
Core course: Introduction to the History of Art
Core course: European Art 1400–1800: Meaning and interpretation
First University examinations: Three written papers and one extended essay
2nd and 3rd years
Seven elements are taken:
Core Course: Approaches to the History of Art
Further subject in Art History (choices currently include: Anglo-Saxon archaeology; The Carolingian Renaissance; Culture and society in early Renaissance Italy; Northern European portraiture 1400–1800; Flanders and Italy in the Quattrocento; Court culture and art in early modern Europe; Intellect and culture in Victorian Britain)
Two 2nd-year options (choices currently include: Egyptian art and architecture; Greek art and archaeology; Byzantine art: the transition from antiquity to the middle ages; Art under the Roman Empire; Hellenistic art and archaeology; Gothic art through medieval eyes; Art in China since 1911; Understanding museums and collections; Literature and the visual arts in France; German Expressionism in literature and visual arts; European cinema; Modernism and after; The experience of modernity: Visual culture, 1880–1925)
‘Special’ subject and extended essay in Art History (choices currently include: Art and culture in Renaissance Florence and Venice; The Dutch Golden Age: 1618–72; Painting and culture in Ming China; English architecture; Art and its public in France, 1815–67)