Art History

Following the recent successful national campaign protesting against the sudden decision made by AQA to withdraw the Art History A level, we are delighted to announce that Edexcel are developing a new A level in Art History which we shall add to our subject choices for 2017 entry.
Please follow this link to see the related ‘STOP PRESS’ guidance on our Applications page about how to include Art History as a subject choice.
We shall update these website pages as any further information emerges.

Why choose Art History?

History of Art provides you with an intimate environment for focused and intense discussion revolving around the history and development of Western Art. It provides you with the tools to analyse a range of historical periods from the unique viewpoint of the visual arts. Classes are highly interactive, and you are encouraged to discuss and debate your ideas with both your teacher and with each other.

The course consists of studying works of art and architecture from classical antiquity to the present day. This takes place both in galleries and museums and in the classroom, using digital slides and films. You will learn through discussion, presentations and written essays how to understand these works in the context of the time in which they were made.

A key component of the course seeks to develop your ability to write analytically and to make substantiated judgements in relation to key themes throughout art history. Learning to interpret images and understand design are skills for life! Homework involves consolidating work done in class by reading recommended texts, and adding to notes, making use of TV programmes and the internet. The second year allows for a more in-depth study of two periods in art history.

“I have loved studying History of Art as it has opened my mind to a new way of looking both at art and the architecture around us, especially in Cambridge. The teachers are very knowledgeable and the classes are small and intimate like seminars - everyone can give their views on an art work and answer questions in a discussion.”

You will have the opportunity to visit galleries and architectural sites in Cambridge, Norwich and London, and international visits form a big part of the course. In Year 13 you will have the opportunity to visit Paris or Barcelona whilst in Year 12 you can attend regular project days organised at the Tate Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Ely Cathedral and the University of East Anglia amongst others.

The department is well equipped with a large slide, video and DVD collection (many programmes are now available online through Clickview), and you will also have access to electronic journals alongside the usual internet resources.

More information about Art History at Hills Road

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Entry Requirements

GCSE grade 6 (or B) in English Language or Literature

Awarding Body


Units of Study

Year 12

Art History - Unit 1

Visual Analysis & Interpretation – aims to develop your aesthetic awareness of painting, sculpture and architecture throughout the world. Questions on images assess knowledge and understanding of formal aspects and how they contribute to meaning.

Art History - Unit 2

Themes in History of Art – from Classical Greece to the end of the twentieth century (500 BC – 2000 AD) - aims to develop a contextual understanding of significant art historical themes.

Year 13

Art History - Unit 3

Investigation & interpretation (1) - Art & Architecture in 19th Century Europe.

Art History - Unit 4

Investigation & interpretation (2) - Art & Architecture in the early 20th Century Europe & America.