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History of art



History of art is a richly stimulating AS and A level subject, in which pupils gain a sound understanding of the major periods of Western art history from antiquity to modernity, and develop the ability to articulate their ideas through lively class discussion and written analysis.

The ideal criteria for a prospective A level history of art student are a budding interest in material culture, an aptitude for visual analysis, a good written prose style and a keenness to read widely from the many books held in Bryanston’s excellent art history library.

A top-tier humanities subject, the history of art A level is an excellent pathway to a range of first-rate undergraduate degrees, postgraduate study and a wide array of professions in areas such as museums and art galleries, auction houses and commercial galleries, academia and teaching, travel and tourism, government arts management and journalism.

Jethro Lyne
Head of History of Art



AS Unit 1

Visual Analysis and Interpretation: requires knowledge and understanding of formal characteristics and terminology, and a general knowledge of historical, social and cultural contexts for painting, sculpture and architecture.


AS Unit 2

Themes in History of Art: pupils develop an understanding of eight art historical themes.


A2 Unit 3

Investigation and Interpretation (1): Art and architecture in 15th-century Europe.


A2 Unit 4

Investigation and Interpretation (2): Art and architecture in Europe and the USA between 1900 and 1945.

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We strongly believe in the need to experience the great works of art and architecture in situ, to consolidate art historical issues learned in the classroom. We therefore run a biennial history of art study trip to Italy during the spring half-term break (Florence & Siena in 2013, Florence & Rome in 2015).

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