History of Art
What is it about at sixth-form level?
Consider the image on the previous page. What do you see? Who are these men? What are they doing? What are these objects? What do they reveal to us about their personalities? What has the image to dowith politics, religion, science and music? All of these questions and more are of interest to us, as well as how it was made and what it tells us about identity and ideas at the time. As we investigate further we will address issues concerning contemporary politics, religious issues and even why the work is in the format of a marriage portrait. Works of art are layered and structured things like poems and stories. By studying History of Art A level, you will ask questions of visual works, explore the evidence and learn how to decode them. You will decipher the images, including the differing styles, techniques, materials and processes that have gone into their construction. Alongside this analytical approach, you will evaluate works of art from new perspectives, such as considering gender, global and ethnicity issues or the social context in which the works existed. History of Art is a wide-ranging subject that raises many questions as it is a point of intersection between many subjects including History, Languages, Sociology, Psychology and Philosophy.
Works of art are layered and structured things like poems and stories. By studying History of Art A level, you will ask questions of visual works, explore the evidence and learn how to decode them. You will decipher the images, including the differing styles, techniques, materials and processes that have gone into their construction. Alongside this analytical approach, you will evaluate works of art from new perspectives, such as considering gender, global and ethnicity issues or the social context in which the works existed. History of Art is a wide-ranging subject that raises many questions as it is a point of intersection between many subjects including History, Languages, English and Philosophy.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
History of Art develops analytical and research skills, equipping students with the ability to write, developing and presenting an argument. These academic skills and an understanding of our global visual culture are of great benefit to many careers including Film, media, museums, publishing, advertising, art and architecture. In a world that increasingly uses visual ways to communicate History of Art develops skills of analysis, writing and interpretation that you can use throughout life as well as being vital to a wide range of subjects at university.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
Students who achieve higher grades in the subject will have a love of Art, an interest in historical context and be able to write extended analytical answers in English. A good GCSE English or equivalent is essential. You will have an inquiring mind and willing to ask questions as the course considers the meaning of works from a variety of angles and different contexts.
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
A World History of Art
By Honour, Fleming
Published by Laurence King, ISBN 978-1856695848
Thinking About Art: A Thematic Guide to Art History
By Huntsman, Penny
Published by Wiley-Blackwell,
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*."
"The small class sizes proved invaluable for a number of reasons, some of which I did not anticipate. Aside from the obvious individual attention, the size of the class allowed for a lot of students’ questions to turn into a fruitful academic discussion. I have found the atmosphere at the college far more friendly and supportive than I expected. The support I had from my Personal Tutor was very helpful during the application process for university. I could tell that he really did care about my future and wanted to do everything he could in order to help me secure my place at my chosen university. Overall, I am pleased to say that my high expectations of MPW were fully met."
"I have definitely made the right decision to come to MPW - my grades have gone from averaging Es to straight As. Teaching at MPW is much more personal and I felt like talking to teachers. They are very good and give you lots of support if you do not understand something. My Personal Tutor took me through the UCAS process step by step. We went through my Personal Statement many times to make sure it was completely perfect. I am very excited about my firm choice."
"As a dyslexic student who initially got CCEE for my AS, I was convinced that I could not achieve any higher. My time at MPW proved me wrong. Initially I was reluctant to move from my local school in York to a college so far away from home, my parents, and friends. At the end of my first year I was overjoyed to find that many hours of hard work and renewed revision techniques had resulted in me achieving three A's in my subjects. I wanted to continue at A2 as I knew it would greatly improve my university prospects and encourage me to work even harder. After two fantastic years at MPW I can emphatically say that going to MPW was the best decision I ever made."
"Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful."
"Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one."
"International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college."
"The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do."
Discover more at MPW
In their own words - testimonials from our past students and their parents.
MPW Cambridge was judged as Outstanding in all areas by Ofsted.
At MPW we believe in making our courses fit the student’s requirements.