Welcome to History of Art at Hills Road!
The work outlined below is designed to develop your visual awareness of art and architecture and to get you to start thinking about how we look at the visual world around us. This will be a great way to start practising the skills that you will develop further during the A Level course!
Please look at THREE different artworks by three different artists. You should try to look at one painting, a piece of sculpture and one piece of architecture.
It might be a really good idea to choose artworks that you have seen in a gallery (or buildings that you have visited). However, this is not necessary, particularly if the work you want to write about is not easily accessible (see notes below on visiting galleries).
It would be a good idea to do the following as a Word document (or equivalent). You might want to make some written notes first before you type them up!
Firstly, make a note of the artist’s or architect's name, the full title of the work and the date it was made. With architecture, you might want to consider the location as well. It would also be a good idea to include an image.
Make some brief notes about each of the artworks that you look at. Use the following pointers to guide you:
Description: Can you describe the work of art? What’s being shown? Do you recognise any of the characters depicted? If it’s a landscape, how has nature been depicted (for example, wild or tamed?) With architecture, you might consider the form that the building takes. Is it large or small, intimidating, simple, decorative etc? If you are able, you could try to identify some of the features of a building, such as pediments or columns (this might be an opportunity to learn about the order of architecture!).
Materials & Methods: What materials is it made from? What impact do you think the materials have? With sculpture, you might want to research the properties of bronze, marble or wood (or other materials if relevant). With paintings, you might consider the different types of brushwork that are being used. This is an opportunity to learn some new subject vocabulary such as impasto (meaning to paint thickly).
Composition & Colour: You could think about how the artwork or building is composed. Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical? How are your eyes led around the piece? What kind of colour palette has been used in the work of art? How would you describe the colours (for example, warm or cool, complementary or monochromatic etc.)
Light & Tone: You might consider the impact of light and tone on a piece of work. You might consider how this adds drama and theatricality or simply allows artists to create a greater sense of depth in their images.
Spatial Recession: How do artists create the illusion of 3D space?
Contexts: You might also want to find out a little more about the artwork or building by considering things that might have influenced or inspired the artist/architect. For example, is it political in any way? Is there a significance to the date? Does it chime with other works of the period or go against them?
You can also add anything else that you feel is relevant. Bullet point notes are fine and, as a rough guide, you should aim to establish at least 10 key points about each of your chosen artworks.
Below is a selection of digital resources that will help you to get prepared and ready to study A level History of Art.
Increasingly we are providing more online materials that are shared digitally.