The course consists of lectures, classes and tutorials offered in Michaelmas Term, and further tutorials in Hilary Term.
This course is a key element of the First Year. It will broaden and deepen students’ insights into the ways in which one can approach and analyse visual material produced by both past and present, Western and non-Western cultures. The aim is to introduce students to a wider range of approaches and world cultures than is customary in most art history introductory courses, by showing how different kinds of societies and the availability of different kinds of evidence have elicited different responses from art historians both today and in the past.
During each of the eight weeks of Michaelmas Term, the convenor will hold a related class for First Year History of Art students, to be co-taught with an expert curator or librarian. The times and places for these classes will be indicated in the syllabus. These classes will be held in museums, galleries and libraries throughout Oxford and will draw upon the knowledge of the curators and librarians of particular collections. For the classes, students will be expected to prepare short oral presentations and/or written assignments. The classes will give students an insight into the range of collections found in Oxford and into the varieties of expertise available, not least amongst the curatorial staff of the Ashmolean Museum and other university/college museums and collections. There will also be classes to review the lectures and gallery visits, and tutorials for each student during Michaelmas Term (or by arrangement).
The lectures are not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the content of the course or the examination paper, and are no substitute for tutorial and additional reading, including the readings prescribed in the syllabus handed out by the start of term. ‘Introduction to the History of Art’ is assessed in the Preliminary Examination by a three-hour unseen paper, in which students will answer questions in an essay format. The examination will take place at the end of Trinity Term of the First Year.