History of Art

Students must be studying an essay based subject to A2
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The UNIQ History of Art course demonstrates the breadth of images and objects that can be studied in history of art at Oxford —including European paintings, Asian sculpture and ancient Egyptian artefacts. History of art allows you to think about different cultures, the objects they produce, what kinds of meanings they have, how they were used and how these uses have changed overtime. The course leads you to consider a variety of visual environments, from the ancient to the modern, and ask questions about where visual stimuli come from, and how we react to them.

During the week you will attend lectures and classes taught by tutors and museum staff. Classes often take place in front of the objects being discussed to encourage close, real-life observation of objects. Throughout the week you will be introduced to Oxford’s vast collections. The variety of objects in the Oxford collections, from fine art paintings, mass-produced posters to old scientific instruments, allows students first-hand experience of many kinds of objects that reflect the breadth of the history of art undergraduate course. Not only does Oxford have vast collections of objects, but the buildings, both old and new, also offer rich opportunities to observe and discuss architecture.

Using various libraries in Oxford, you will have an opportunity to research an object as part of a group. You will attend a tutorial with a staff member in which you will discuss the object, helping you to prepare a short group presentation for the end of the week. History of art teaches students how to research, analyse, and present their interpretations of visual objects both orally and in written form. History of art does not require any specific subjects but rather good essay writing skills potentially gained from history, English or foreign language subjects. All that is required is an interest in the visual world, cultivated either by going to museums or looking at and thinking about the buildings, decorations and designs that you encounter in everyday life.

For a sense of what to expect from the programme, please see this blog post written by Nathan (former History of Art undergraduate and UNIQ participant).