Art History (Pre-U)
We study Art History in order to develop our critical literacies in discussing the great paintings, artworks and artefacts of the past. We study to understand how human beings have responded to their environments and the situations they have found themselves in throughout history by creating beautiful objects.
Our location offers an excellent opportunity to study Art History in unique surroundings in the centre of London. Immediate experience of an array of architecture as well as major collections such as the Tate Galleries, The National Gallery, the V & A, The British Museum, The Wallace Collection, The Royal Academy, The Saatchi Gallery and the Courtauld Institute, help to bring the history of painting, architecture, sculpture, film and installations into the classroom. In an era of increasing globalisation it can also provide a fascinating insight into other cultures and societies.
The subject is recommended to those who enjoy History and English but also wish to explore visual culture and language. It is enjoyable for Modern Linguists, Classicists and Artists and combines well with most other subjects. Anyone wishing to study Architecture, Politics or Philosophy would find it useful and highly informative.
Art History is a rigorous academic subject, and a student will be expected to develop research and essay skills. It prepares pupils well for further study at university and the subject can be studied alone, or in combination with a range of other subjects, at most universities including Oxford and Cambridge.
The commercial world of the 21st century is highly visual. The marketing and advertising world is constantly seeking the visually aware. One important aim of Art History is to produce visual literacy; the ability to assess images of all kinds critically and perceptively and discover proof. This unique combination of visual sensitivity and intellectual rigour has proven valuable in areas such as journalism, advertising, publishing, law and film and television work. More directly related careers include those in teaching and research, conservation and restoration, museum and gallery administration, commercial galleries and auction houses.
There are currently two obligatory trips, one to Paris in the first year and the other to Venice in the second year. There is also a voluntary trip to Florence in Year 13.
Work experience and outreach programmes are an important part of the department’s work and pupils are able to participate in a number of schemes. The department has direct links with Sotheby’s, The Courtauld, Christies, the Art Fund, the ICA, the University of London, The Estorick, The Queen’s Galleries and other exciting places.
History of Art is offered through our association with Westminster School. Lessons will take place at Westminster and places are limited.