Anything designed by human beings exhibits visual qualities that are specific to the place and period in which it originates. History of Art aims to arrive at a historical understanding of the origins, meaning and purpose of art and artefacts from a wide range of 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 art in its 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.
The course at St Peter's
Superb resources and collections provide a particularly rich environment for the study of art at St Peter's, and include the Ashmolean Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Modern Art Oxford, and the Christ Church Picture Gallery.
Tutorials led by prominent art historians who are passionate about their research often take place in a museum.
St Peter’s itself has a vibrant art scene. The College hosts an important collection of works by Bloomsbury artist Duncan Grant (1885-1978), and its Arts Fund supports a variety of student initiatives in drama or music.
St Peter’s students run the art magazine MiSC and each year organize Arts Week, a lively and exciting event of exhibitions, drawing classes, artists’ talks, and gigs.