History of Art

The study of History of Art provides a critical introduction to Western culture and a stimulating insight into the use of images in an increasingly visual world.

How does the form of a Gothic cathedral reflect its function as a place of worship?  Why were ‘six-footer’ landscape paintings such a shock for the Royal Academy?  Can we tell the gender of an artist by studying their work?  History of Art answers these questions and many more.

We study Western art, architecture and sculpture and their social and political contexts, covering topics such as Visual Analysis and Interpretation, Themes in the History of Art, and Art and Architecture in Sixteenth and Nineteenth-century Europe. Written and visual skills are developed and girls contribute actively in lessons, with a focus on explanation, discussion and debate. History of Art is taught in the Tower Room of the new Sixth Form Centre. The course is structured around tutorial group lessons using resources such as a C Touch Screen, DVDs, and an extensive departmental library.

Many girls study the subject on its own merits or as an extension to studio-based disciplines such as Art & Design or Ceramics, or with History or Classics.

Visits to major museums in the UK and abroad to see the masterpieces of Western culture and design at first hand form an essential and enjoyable part of the course. Recent trips abroad include the Louvre, Pompidou Centre, Musée d'Orsay and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. We enjoy regular visits to the National Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum.  We attend the annual Association of Art Historians Schools' conference and have been successful in the ARTiculation public speaking competition organised by Cambridge University and the Roche Court Educational Trust. Outside speakers visit the department, for example a Curator from the Tate and a Professor of Art History from Sussex University.