‘In order to comprehend the visual complexity of our present, we need to understand the visual context of the past’

Paintings, Sculpture and Architecture are laden with symbolism, meanings and visual appeal. They are often fascinatingly complex, relating to both specific periods of time and understandings. There are many different ways to look at works of art. In History of Art we learn how to unpack the language of ideas and visual information. We learn to interpret art’s meanings, exploring the world it came from and considering how art continues to have significant power and relevance to the world in which we live.


AS Level History of Art 

We study the AS specification which gives an introduction to some of the key themes in The History of Art. This is considered chronologically in order to provide an introduction to the subject from classical Greece to the end of the twentieth century. It is studied in two parts:

Unit 1: Visual Analysis and Interpretation
This topic involves looking at works of Art and Architecture and learning how to analyse them in order to describe and discuss their appearance.

Unit 2:  Themes in History of Art.
This involves the study of particular themes, such as materials, techniques and processes, form and style, subjects and genres, form and function, historical and social contexts, patronage, social and cultural status, gender nationality and ethnicity.

A2 Level History of Art

We currently study the AQA specification which builds on the foundations of the AS Level course. This involves in-depth study of two historical periods. Currently the periods are 18th and 19th Century art.

Unit 3:  Art and Architecture in nineteenth-century Europe
This topic deals with European painting, sculpture and architecture in the nineteenth century and explores how formal features, materials and techniques, subject matter in painting and sculpture, and function in architecture contribute to understanding and interpreting specific works. Works are explored in relation to  the context in which they were produced.

Unit 4:  Art and Architecture in eighteenth-century Europe
This topic deals with European painting, sculpture and architecture in the eighteenth century and explores formal features, materials and techniques, subject matter and function. An understanding is gained of philosophical, historical and art historical concepts and ideas.

Current AS and A2 History of Art Syllabus

The study of History of Art also involves visits to Art Galleries and places of architectural interest. It is a very popular Sixth Form subject and many students go on to study History of Art at university.  It is a subject that will provide a very broad educational experience.  It will truly open your eyes to the world and provide ‘lifelong’ learning. It will bring cities, cultures and galleries to life long after you have left the classroom.

Dr Penelope Wickson (Head of History of Art)