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Department of History of Art


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The Department of History of Art is a leading centre for object-led research into art and architecture, broadly defined  (including visual and material culture). We work closely with our colleagues at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Kettle’s Yard and the Hamilton Kerr Institute to advance cutting-edge research on the material, intellectual and social lives of artworks in a global context. The Centre for Visual Culture supports collaboration across these institutions and the wider University. 

We have a robustly interdisciplinary outlook, engaging with fields such as anthropology, history of science, languages and literatures, gender studies, political thought, film and digital media studies. This informs our object-focused approach, in which questions about the making, meaning and display of artefacts underpin the study of art’s role in creating communities, shaping identities, communicating ideas and preserving the past. Our research leads to a diverse range of publications, exhibitions and projects, many in collaboration with local and international partners. 

With world-leading expertise in European, Russian and American art, our staff are committed to researching the history of art globally and transnationally, from antiquity to the present day. We have particular strengths in medieval and renaissance visual culture; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art and architecture; and modern and contemporary art and theory. Our current global art initiatives include the study of Asian, Islamic and South American art and material culture. We have a thriving community of graduate students from around the world, and we collaborate with colleagues in Europe, the US, Russia and the Middle East. 

We believe passionately in the value of art-historical research for fostering dialogue and stimulating debate between disciplines, cultures and places. You can find out more about our research-led teaching and Department news elsewhere on this website. Everyone is welcome—especially members of the public—to our wide-ranging programme of research events.  Come and join us to see Cambridge art history in action. We welcome applications to post-doctoral fellowship schemes such as the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship.