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Why study History of Art?

This is a popular A-level choice at Queen's and a wonderful subject to learn when surrounded by the rich resources of London's galleries, museums and buildings. 

To be a suitable candidate you should be literate, open-minded and above all enthusiastic about exploring intellectual concepts and visual material. Abilities in English, History and possibly Religious Studies are probably the best guide to your likely success in History of Art. You do not need to have studied GCSE Art, and no practical work is involved.

"History of Art was incomparable to any other subject I had studied at GCSE. I learnt new academic skills, but much more importantly, I understood more about myself.... as History of Art is such a personal but sociable subject."

What will I study?

We follow the Pearson Specification: A level History of Art. In the first year, we cover varying aspects of art history from many different periods and cultures. Your perceptual skills are trained and refined, enabling you to analyse paintings, sculpture and buildings with confidence and literacy. You will learn about a theme (taken from Identity/War/Nature) and a special period. In the second year, you will study a further theme and a further period in preparation for the two examinations at the end of the course.

“You find yourself yearning for another work of art and doing extra study simply because you want to.”

We take art historians on many trips in London and beyond, including abroad – in recent years visiting Antwerp, Florence, Paris, Rome, Siena and Venice! 'History of Art is demanding but the most rewarding and inspiring of subjects - it makes you aware of everything.”

What skills will I gain? Where can History of Art lead?

You learn to open your eyes and to analyse what you see. You discover how to respond to works of art and to place them within contexts and cultures. You find out how and why art is made, and about artists, styles and influences. But History of Art is much more than an A-level. Yes, marks and grades are important (and not easy - this is a demanding and rigorous subject), but it opens up previously unimagined worlds.

Few students remain unchanged - new horizons and perspectives stay fresh long after the dates and facts have fulfilled their short-term examination purpose. Many students from Queen's have gone on to further their passions in the subject through university degrees. Career possibilities are varied including journalism, museums and galleries, heritage, media, art administration and teaching at all levels.

“People always remember if they studied History of Art at school. History of Art will make an impact on your life!”