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Part I Course Outline

Part I Course Outline

The purpose of Part I in the History of Art is to introduce students to the fundamentals of the discipline and, in general, to the teaching and learning methods of the University. In this first year of study considerable emphasis is laid on direct contact with works of art and architecture in Cambridge, and on the understanding of certain traditions fundamental to the art and architecture of Western Europe. Part I therefore prepares students for advanced work in Part II in the History of Art; having completed it successfully, students may also transfer to another Part II with the agreement of their college, new department, Director of Studies and Tutor.

Part I has three components:

  1. Paper 1. This year-long survey course focusing on works of art and architecture in Cambridge is arranged more or less in chronological order from the Middle Ages to the present day. It should enable students to grasp the broad history of Western (and some non-Western) art and architecture, its main styles, techniques and traditions, with direct reference to objects which students are able to see. Teaching takes the form of on-site classes and seminars. Students are expected to be assiduous in reading around the subject of each class. This course is examined only by a visual analysis paper.


  2. Papers 2/3 and 4/5. These consist of two courses devoted to specific periods and issues. Students attend lectures and seminars, and prepare weekly written work on which they are supervised in small groups. Both papers run concurrently with Paper 1. Papers 4/5 concern how works of art and architecture are interpreted in the light of cultural traditions. In contrast, Papers 2/3 concern how works of art are made. The numbering of the Papers reflects the way they are examined in the Easter Term: Papers 2 and 4 are essay papers, 3 and 5 visual analysis papers.


  3. A Short Dissertation. This is a piece of written work of 5,000 words maximum to be submitted for examination on a work of art or architecture in or around Cambridge. The subject is chosen in consultation with the Director of Studies.