Common Time 2019

Art History

Barbara Hepworth sculpture at Roche Court
Cathedral at Torcello
Mediaeval stained glass in Treasury Museum

Art History provides an introduction to painting, sculpture and architecture. At the end of the course a candidate will be able to understand the contexts in which artists and architects worked, and their responses to contemporary ideas. The skills of visual literacy are cultivated. Art History combines well with other subjects, including sciences. Boys often study both Art History and Art and the cross-over between the two disciplines makes for a continuous dialogue.

Winchester College has a unique visual environment. William of Wykeham commissioned the foremost craftsmen of his time to create the magnificent school buildings. He even acknowledged the mason, carpenter, glazier and clerk of works by having their portraits incorporated into the East window of the Chapel. Kenneth Clark, arguably the most influential art historian of the twentieth century, was a boy at the School. The Kenneth Clark Prize has been instituted in his honour, open to all in the Sixth Form and there is also the Kenneth Clark Society to which boys may belong.

Art History Pre-U

The School offers Art History at senior level. The Head of Art History was one of a team of four who wrote the Art History Pre-U syllabus. There is a ‘canon' of 48 works studied for Paper 1. The focus of Paper 2 is the Romanesque and the Quattrocento. The art and architecture of Barcelona is the subject of Paper 3. Finally, Paper 4 is a 3000 word personal study on a topic chosen by the candidate. It provides the opportunity for independent research and includes a viva. Recent studies have ranged from Titian's Portraits of Farnese Power to Roger Hiorn's Seizure and Art as Propaganda in the Augustan Age.

Study visits in the UK and abroad

First hand experience of art is essential. Study visits are organised to museums and galleries in the UK such as Tate, the National Gallery, the V&A and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Our trips abroad have included Venice, Florence and Rome, Paris, Barcelona, New York and Boston. We are frequently involved in the educational programme at the New Art Centre, Roche Court.

Through the Kenneth Clark Society, lecturers are invited to speak and links are made with the wider community. Those studying Art History have the opportunity to arrange exhibitions of College Treasures in collaboration with the Curator. The Watercolour collection includes works by Turner, Constable, Cotman, Dadd and Lear.

Former pupils are currently studying the subject at Cambridge, UCL, the Courtauld Institute, Edinburgh and St Andrew's. Others are studying at postgraduate level. The department stays in touch with them and those working in the art world.