History of Art

Number of students per year: 1-2 

Typical offer: A*AA at A-level or 7 7 6 (42+ overall) in the IB. For other qualifications, please click here.

(Please note that Clare typically requires applicants to achieve an A*, 7 or equivalent in an essay-based subject, rather than in Art and Design.)

Essential subjects: There are no specific subject requirements, but all candidates must be taking at least one A-level/IB Higher level essay-based subject.

History of Art at Clare 

With its spectacular built environment, museums and libraries, Cambridge offers a unique opportunity to study the History of Art. The Department has an exceptional reputation within the field, ranking highly in the Guardian’s League Table and winning outstandingly high student satisfaction scores. It is located in Scroope Terrace, near the Fitzwilliam Museum. Most lectures and seminars take place in the Department, and its facilities include the Faculty Library.

Clare College, often said to be the friendliest and most welcoming in Cambridge, centres around the beautiful seventeenth-century Old Court and the handsome Memorial Court, built by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (designer of Liverpool Cathedral).

As well as possessing an excellent art collection in its own right, the college prides itself on showing important contemporary sculpture throughout its grounds and runs regular photography and fine art competitions for its undergraduates. Former students have gone on to senior positions in academia and the arts.

Part I is a one-year course which offers a broad introduction to the making and meaning of art. Part II involves the study of special subjects, which range from the art and architecture of medieval Europe to the modern period.

Key People


Professor Alexander Marr

Director of Studies

I am the Founding Director of the University's Centre for Visual Culture, which launched in May 2019.  The CVC promotes object-led research into visual culture in its global contexts.

Between 2014 and 2019 I directed a major, ERC-funded project on the early modern culture of ingenuity. The project employed eight postdoctoral researchers and has produced numerous outputs, including the monograph Logodaedalus: Word Histories of Ingenuity in Early Modern Europe (2019).

My research has been funded by (among others) The British Academy, the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust (Philip Leverhulme Prize, 2008), the DAAD, and the ERC (Consolidator Grant, 2013). My work has been published in journals such as The Art Bulletin, Renaissance Quarterly, The Burlington Magazine, Word & Image, Print Quarterly, and the Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek.