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History of Art A Level *FEES PAYABLE* at Ashbourne Independent School

Course description

History of Art provides students with an intimate environment for for focused and intense discussion revolving around the history and development of Western Art. Classes are highly interactive, and students are encouraged to discuss and debate their ideas with both their tutor and with each other. A major advantage of studying History of Art at Ashbourne is the College’s proximity to the world- class galleries and museums of central London, and students are able to take full advantage of Ashbourne’s location to undertake regular visits to exhibitions in order to see original in venues including the National Gallery, The Royal Academy of Art, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, the Wallace Collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

There is also an overseas trip each year, where students get to visit other major European cities and explore the galleries, museums, art and architecture relevant to their own unique cultural heritage and development.

History of Art provides a wide range of both print and audio-visual resources that students use throughout the course of their studies, and are also encouraged to be familiar with the practical work produced by the other creative and expressive disciplines within the department. The teaching staff are both passionate and highly knowledgeable, and are committed in striving to instill in their students a lifelong interest in, and enthusiasm for, the study of art and artefacts.

The study of History of Art, first and foremost, provides students with the skills and the critical vocabulary they need in order to analyse and interpret works of art. However, History of Art goes beyond providing a mere overview of artistic trends, giving students a wide-ranging cultural and historical understanding as the course follows the progression of Western art from the Classical world to the present day. Students are taught to consider works of art within their historical and cultural contexts; this makes A Level History of Art an ideal complement to other humanities subjects (including English Literature, English Language, History, Classics, Modern Languages, or Philosophy) but it is also a helpful A Level for students of Fine Art as it helps them to make links between their own work and that of previous artistic traditions. By the end of the course, students should be able to look at any painting, drawing, sculpture or building and analyse it critically in terms of its composition and historical context.

Course content

There are four units in total: two at AS and two at A2.

Unit 1:

AS Unit 1 – Visual Analysis and Interpretation. Students begin the course by learning how to analyse the visual features and stylistic elements of painting, sculpture and architecture. The works studied span the whole of the Western artistic canon and candidates are taught how to use appropriate terminology to examine art and to show awareness of the historical, social and cultural contexts of art and architecture.

Unit 2:

AS Unit 2 – Themes in History of Art. In this unit, students investigate art historical themes such as patronage, form and style, subjects and genres, gender, nationality, and ethnicity, and materials, techniques and processes. They are then taught to consider and apply these themes to a range of teacher-selected examples drawn from the history of Western art from Classical Greece the end of the twentieth century.

Unit 3:

A2 Unit 3 – Investigation and Interpretation (1) 
In this unit, students undertake an in-depth study of one historical period of art, selected from one of four different options. Currently, Ashbourne students study Option 4: Art and Architecture in Europe and the United States of America between 1946 and 2000.

Unit 4:

A2 Unit 4 – Investigation and Interpretation (2)
 In this unit, students undertake an in-depth study of one historical period of art, selected from one of four different options. Currently, Ashbourne students study Option 4: Art and Architecture in Europe and the United States of America between 1900 and 1945.

Students study Unit 1 and Unit 2 concurrently during the AS year and Units 3 and 4 concurrently during the A2 year.

Entry requirements

While there is no specific entry requirement to study AS History of Art, a minimum of a B-grade in an English subject at GCSE is advised.

Assessment

Unit 1:

In this unit, candidates are required to answer three questions on unseen works of art (analysing one painting, one sculpture and one piece of architecture) in one hour.

Unit 2:

Candidates answer three essay questions (chosen from 3 different topic areas) in one and a half hours. Candidates have a choice of 3 topic areas out of 6, with one essay question per topic.

Unit 3:

Candidates answer two essay questions from a choice of 4 on their prescribed art-historical period in one and a half hours.

Unit 4:

Candidates answer two essay questions from a choice of 4 on their prescribed art-historical period in one and a half hours.

Future opportunities

History of Art A Level is, of course, ideal for anyone who wants to pursue study in History of Art at undergraduate level; studying History of Art at university is an immensely enjoyable course and can lead to further study of art history at graduate level, or into a wide range of careers including work in arts administration, art galleries, museums, auction houses, art conservation, curatorial posts, and the travel and tourism industries to name just a few. In addition, History of Art A Level combines well with (and is a good preparation for) other humanities subjects at university (such as literature and history), but it is equally a good choice for those studying Art and Design courses.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Ashbourne Independent School directly.

Last updated date: 09 November 2016

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