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Examination Board: Edexcel

What is the course about?

If you like painting, sculpture and architecture then you’ll love this course. Over two years, the History of Art course will provide you with the skills to understand and appreciate western art and architecture and visual culture. You will explore links between art, its contents and its contexts, developing the skills to evaluate art and its importance in the world.

For the two-year linear course you will study:

Paper 1: Visual Analysis and Themes
Section A:
Visual Analysis for each of the following types of art and architecture, students answer a single compulsory question that
requires them to comment on an unseen photograph of:

  • A painting;
  • A sculpture; and
  • A building.

Section B: Themes; choose two Themes from a choice of three:

  • B1 – Nature in Art and Architecture.
  • B2 – Identities in Art and Architecture.
  • B3 – War in Art and Architecture.

For each Theme, students answer a single compulsory question in two parts.

Paper 2: Periods

  • C1 – Invention & Illusion: the Renaissance in Italy (1420–1520).
  • C2 – Power & Persuasion: the Renaissance in Italy (1420-1520).
  • C3 – Rebellion & Revival: the British & Avant-Garde (1848-1899).
  • C4 – Brave New World: Modernism in Europe (1900–1939).
  • C5 – Pop Life: British & American Contemporary Art & Architecture (1960-2015).

For each Period, students answer a single compulsory question in four parts.

How is the course assessed?

This course is assessed by examination only. A Level – written examination:
Paper 1: 3 hours; 110 marks.
Paper 2: 3 hours; 110 marks.

What skills will I need and develop in this course?

Students will develop and require the following key skills:

  • The foundations of knowledge and understanding of art historical movements, practitioners and works, considering the way that these change and evolve within chronological and other frameworks.
  • The ability and confidence to express and communicate knowledge and understanding.
  • Awareness of art historical terms, concepts and issues.
  • Understanding of the principal methods of analysis and interpretation.
  • The ability to make critical judgements.
  • Active and independent learning.
  • An awareness of different sources of historical evidence.
  • Understanding of the relationships between society and art within historical and other frameworks.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the significance and role of environment, setting, display and audiences.
  • An understanding of art historical approaches, such as technical, formal, iconographic and contextual.
  • Skills to explore, enquire, evaluate, discuss and compare evidence, and develop and support persuasive argument and counter-argument.

Subject combination advice

History of Art is the perfect complement to subjects such as: Art, English, PRE (Philosophy, Religion and Ethics), Classical Civilization, and even the Sciences if students want to add more range for an Oxbridge application.

What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

If you dream of working in the world of art or architecture, this course could be where you launch your career. You might want to become
an art advisor or investor, gallery curator, freelance writer or even a film and television stylist.

What are the formal entry requirements for this course?

Students should have at least a GCSE Grade 6 in English Language or English Literature and a GCSE Grade 6 in History, Art or Religious

What activities enrich this subject?

Students will benefit from gallery and museum visits as well as links to the Association of Art Historians.

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