History of Art at Collingham provides an exciting visual and cultural education, ideal for students wishing to pursue a humanities subject at university. It is, of course, particularly useful for anyone seeking a career in the arts, design, fashion or the media – areas in which the department can offer invaluable advice and support.
Why study Art History?
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.
Taking in a broad sweep of Western visual culture in the AS year – from the arts of Ancient Greece and Rome to the art of our own time, we will survey painting, sculpture and architecture across time. We will explore how art is relevant to a society, how it is produced, and why we consider some objects and images better than others.
Teaching is centered on in-class discussions and presentations using slides and online materials. A sophisticated grasp of research skills is essential in this subject, and students write homework essays regularly, analyzing works of art and architecture and critiquing art-historical texts.
A feature of the AS course is our frequent visits to collections and buildings in London, which in the past year featured an in-depth look at Renaissance painting in the National Gallery, Impressionism at the Courtauld Institute Gallery, and an architectural tour of the City of London. Students are expected to make use of the artistic resources of London in their spare time, sometimes as part of a homework assignment, but also to bolster their own knowledge of materials and meanings.
There are two written exam units at AS: Visual Analysis and Interpretation (1 hour paper) and Themes in History of Art (1 hour 30 minutes). The two A2 written exam units (each 1 hour 30 minutes) both focus on Investigation and Interpretation and require the study of Art and Architecture of two different periods, chosen from a list of options.
Both A2 units are particularly in-depth and require strong historical knowledge as well as a sophisticated approach to analyzing works of art, using the research and analytical skills honed during the first year.
School trips are organized at half-term in the Autumn and Spring terms, to substantiate students’ understanding of their chosen countries and historical periods; previous visits have included the Centre Pompidou, the Musee d’Orsay, and a walking tour of Montmartre, and a visit to Rome to see great works by Caravaggio, Bernini and Borromini.
Preferred Board: AQA