The History of Art course at Cambridge aims to develop your practical, historical and theoretical understanding of Western art and architecture, through both visual and critical analysis. The first year provides an overview of the discipline, from Ancient Greek and Roman architecture to Italian tempera and oil painting and 17th-century Dutch genre painting (to name just a few topics). It is then possible to specialise in the second and third years, by choosing modules which are taught alongside compulsory papers. These special subjects include Early Medieval Art, British Architecture in the Age of Enlightenment, The Poetics and Politics of Surrealism, and Orientalism and Occidentalism.
This course is unique, especially with regard to the emphasis placed on first-hand observation of the work that is studied. As a result, many lectures, particularly in first year, take place in the Fitzwilliam Museum or out and about in Cambridge. Moreover, it provides the opportunity to interact with lecturers who are at the forefront of research in their chosen fields of expertise. Alongside artistic techniques, the curation and display of art and the analysis of movements, styles and individual artworks, your studies will also encompass a number of contextual disciplines such as philosophy, theology and politics.