History of Art
What is it about at sixth-form level?
Works of art are layered and structured things like poems and stories, built of out of symbols whose significance is not always obvious. By studying History of Art A level, you will learn how to decode them. You will look at their differing styles and the particular techniques, materials and processes that have gone into their construction. Alongside this traditional approach, you will also learn about new perspectives from which to evaluate works of art, such as considering the social context in which they existed and the gender and ethnicity of the people that created them. History of Art is a wide-ranging subject that raises many questions as it is a point of intersection between history, sociology, psychology and philosophy. It is where all the different pieces of the academic puzzle start to make sense.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
A History of Art A level is excellent preparation for degree-level study in the subject. It is also of benefit to those wishing to pursue studies in or careers in the media, art and advertising. It develops skills of analysis and interpretation that are of great value to a very wide range of subjects. Art historians are much sought after for their analytical and evaluative skills.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
You should be interested in both art and history as well as philosophy and religion. You should be interested in ideas, as the course is about learning to understand the meaning of works of art in their historical and social context as well as issues such as style, gender, and patronage.
How is the course assessed?
For the A level there are two examinations. In Paper 1 (Visual Analysis and Themes) you will analyse three images and then write answers on two of the three themes on the question paper. It lasts 3 hours and is worth 50% of the A level. For Paper 2 (Periods) you will write on two periods out of five providing two short answers and one longer answer for each period. This paper lasts 3 hours and is worth 50% of the A level.
To be confirmed at the start of the course
The Story of Art
By E. H. Gombrich
Published by Phaidon Press, ISBN 978-0714832470
A World History of Art
By Honour, Fleming
Published by Laurence King, ISBN 978-1856695848
By R. Cumming
Published by Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 978-0751301588
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: Edexcel Pearson 9HT0
"I have really enjoyed my time MPW and would recommend this college to anyone. I learnt how to work more efficiently and revise more effectively thanks to the tutorials and weekly Timed Assignments, which also allowed me to prepare myself mentally for the exams from the first day. My history teacher was phenomenal. He managed to get me to reengage with the subject, as well as giving me all the support and help I asked for and more, giving me the knowledge and exams technique needed to achieve an A*."
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