Subject

Art history

Go beyond the history of art.

Art history

Art, architecture and other forms of visual culture all tell stories. 

The kind of story depends on your interpretation. There is intent and emotion behind the most abstract painting, while a human hand lays the bricks of every building; the story grows out of how you make connections.

Our world is dominated and driven by visual media and understanding this culture has never been more challenging or urgent. Study Art History and you will acquire a nuanced knowledge of art and visual culture and become an active participant in our complex visual world.

Founded by pioneers in the field, our art history provision is ranked in the top 30 universities in the UK in the Times Good University Guide (2019) and 97% of our students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2018).

Why study here?
  • 97% of our art history students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS, 2018).
  • We are ranked as 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
  • We are home to one of the most important public collections of art from Latin America in Europe.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

At Essex you are part of a strong, vibrant team of art historians, pushing the boundaries of the discipline.

Our scholars have developed influential new approaches to the study of art history since our foundation almost 50 years ago. Our mission is to meaningfully expand the concept of art history, and we explore a broad range of media that include digital art and curation.

Why study here?
  • We are 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
  • We provide our students unique opportunities to curate exhibitions, conduct placements at major museums, and organise their own research conferences.
  • We have a broad range of expertise from the Renaissance to modern and contemporary art.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year
We offer two PhDs that allow you to explore topics related to the history of art and visual culture, broadly defined.

Regardless of the PhD you pursue, you will find yourself in an environment that is both intellectually challenging and supportive.

Why study here?
  • We are ranked 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
  • Our doctoral students and academic staff regularly work together to form an active research community.
  • We're home to the most important collection of contemporary Latin American art in Europe (ESCALA).
Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) gives you the opportunity to encounter art first hand.
Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) gives you the opportunity to encounter art first hand.
Art Exchange is our University gallery and runs an ongoing programme of exhibitions of contemporary art, artist and curator talks.
Art Exchange is our University gallery and runs an ongoing programme of exhibitions of contemporary art, artist and curator talks.
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