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History of Art

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Why Study History of Art?  

History of Art is a challenging and highly rewarding subject with an equal share of historical research and detailed visual analysis. It is an exceptionally popular and well-regarded subject at university. Students taking the A-level will have a head start in this subject and will develop skills of research, discussion and analysis that are invaluable in all the humanities. Former students of History of Art often go on to careers in museums, auction houses or commercial galleries. An A-level in History of Art will be well respected wherever the student goes on to study, and is an intellectually exciting and enjoyable subject.   

Course Content at a Glance

The subject content is divided into three areas: Visual analysis; Themes; Periods.

We will begin with visual analysis and students will develop visual literacy across painting, sculpture and architecture from within the European tradition of art, from Classical Greece (500 BCE) to the present. This core skill will enable students to go on to analyse artists’ work to identify more complex interdependencies between visual language and the effects achieved. Visual analysis is assessed specifically in Paper 1 Section A but students will also draw on these skills when answering questions on Themes and Periods.

The chosen themes for section B are Nature, and War, in art and architecture. These Themes are intended to be broad-based explorations of the developments in art and connections between movements and periods across time and place. Therefore, we explore artists and works from both pre- and post-1850 and from both within and beyond the European tradition. We look at work across at least three types of art: 2D, 3D and architecture.

In Section C we concentrate on the 20th century and study the 'Brave new world: Modernism in Europe (1900-39), and 'Pop Life: British and American contemporary art and architecture (1960 - 2015).

The study of a Period is intended to allow students the opportunity to research and explore in detail the key movements, concepts, artists, architects, contextual factors and related developments of art and architecture in a specific place/s and across a clearly defined time frame.

Assessment - At the end of the two years students will sit two papers, both are three hours long and work 110 marks.  Paper one covers Section A and B (visual analysis and themes), and paper two covers section C (periods).  For section A students answer a single compulsory question that requires them to analyse an unseen photograph of a painting; a sculpture; and a building.  In section B students must answer, for each theme, a single compulsory question in two parts.  In section C students must answer, for each period, a single compulsory question in four parts.

Academic Skills - Students will need to be able to approach the subject content with an open mind and a willingness to learn.  An interest's in the arts is always a bonus however this will be encouraged with trips to gallery's and studios.  Students will be assessed mainly on their ability to be observant, critical, analytical and diligent.  Essay writing skills are very important, and we will look at a number of techniques, which will allow students to improve and develop.  The main skill needed is enthusiasm, and compassion towards themselves so that they can feel comfortable making mistakes in order to learn.

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