The College has been an active promoter of the History of Art course, and usually takes three undergraduates each year (of the present intake of fourteen for the university as a whole). Professor Gervase Rosser is an Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Art, and the Fellow responsible for the BA course in St Catherine’s. He was also involved in the construction of the degree.
St Catherine’s has a strong tradition of interest in art and design, natural concerns in the context of world famous and award-winning buildings designed in 1960 by Arne Jacobsen and more recently by Stephen Hodder. The classical rigour of Jacobsen’s façade is offset by a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth; and Jacobsen’s imposing College hall is lent colour and warmth by tapestries designed by Tom Phillips, a Royal Academician who is a former St Catherine’s student. In 2005-6 Tom Phillips was Slade Professor of Art in the University of Oxford.
The vitality of the College as a centre for the study of the visual arts is enhanced by the presence of students taking the degree in Fine Art at the Ruskin School.
Complementing the unique resources of the University’s Bodleian Library, the St Catherine’s College Library is exceptionally well stocked for the study of the History of Art.
Core teaching on art historical methodology is conducted in the Department, and students will go to many different tutors for tutorial work in their chosen options. Professor Rosser, as a Fellow of the College and Associate Professor in the Department, is extensively involved in both core and more specialised teaching. He works on medieval and Italian Renaissance art, in addition to more modern themes, and is responsible for particular option courses available to History of Art undergraduates.