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History of Art

History of Art

History of Art at Francis Holland is an exciting sixth form subject. Your daughter will have the opportunity to gain an awareness about what is happening in the art world now, whilst understanding how these contemporary ideas have come about in the context of art history.

We look at key artists and artworks from the Ancient Greeks to the present, asking why the pieces are significant, what the artists were reacting to, and how their work impacted on the art world. While the course will no doubt appeal to art students, there are no prior subject prerequisites. All the girls need is intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm.

 

The course runs over two years. In the first year the tools to analyse painting, sculpture and architecture are taught, enabling the girls to talk confidently about any artwork in any gallery they may encounter around the world. This invaluable skill will provide lifelong enjoyment. Later we focus on particular works, ranging from Renaissance portraiture to Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North. A number of themes within Art History are studied; students will explore subjects and genres in art and sculpture, the form and function of buildings, form and style in painting, depictions of gender, nationality and ethnicity, and much more..

In the second year, two topics are studied in greater depth. Here students have the opportunity to develop their understanding of the art and architecture produced in Europe during the fifteenth century, principally considering the Early Renaissance period in Italy. Simultaneously, the early twentieth century art is investigated, providing an exciting and stimulating contrast. The major movements of 1900-1945 in both Europe and the United States are covered, including Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism and Surrealism, as well as modern methods of construction in both domestic and institutional architecture, and figurative and non-figurative sculpture of the period.

Although it has become a very popular subject choice of late, History of Art classes are generally small. Groups of eight to ten are the norm, a size that allows for lively debate. All lessons are held in a dedicated room in the new Gloucester Wing, equipped with the latest computer and AV facilities. Many Francis Holland girls have gone on to study the discipline at university. Careers can later be found in galleries, museums, auction houses and publishing. The subject is also fantastic for those considering architecture, design, film or advertising.

 

Staff

  • Mrs Alice Montgomery, the Head of Department
  • Mrs Alex Francisco
  • Miss Clare MacDonnell

Beyond the Classroom

Francis Holland girls are lucky to be situated so near to many of the world's most prestigious art collections. The Wallace Collection is moments away, and The National Gallery, British Museum and Tate Britain are regularly visited. As the subject also has a modern and contemporary focus in the second year, the Tate Modern and the commercial galleries of central London are prime resources.

The department also takes great pleasure in arranging study trips abroad so the girls can observe first hand the art they have studied in class. Recent trips include trips to Italy, visiting both Florence and Rome in 2015 and 2016, and prior to that the History of Art department and twenty girls travelled to New York for the art, architecture, sights and sounds of the Big Apple. In November this year, the department is taking a trip to Paris where the girls will have the opportunity to experience the masterpieces of Matisse in the ‘Icons of Modern Art Art. The Shchukin Collection’ at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. They will also visit the Louvre and Notre Dame de Paris. La vie est belle! 

 

What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing…

David Hockney

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