History of Art

History of Art is a long-established and successful subject at Marlborough and is taught within the largest department of any leading school. We examine human achievement in the sphere of visual creativity, and our programme embraces the study of painting, sculpture, and architecture. We believe History of Art to be a vital subject in a modern world where reading images with insight, understanding and judgement is an increasingly critical and essential skill. It is also our aim to enable pupils to look with sensitivity and discernment at the sheer variety of visual culture across the ages, cultures and the globe.

The Department has a proud record of sending numerous pupils to read the subject at excellent universities each year, including Oxford, Cambridge, the Courtauld Institute, Edinburgh, UCL, Bristol, Exeter, Manchester, Leeds, York, Nottingham, Birmingham, Amsterdam, NYU Abu Dhabi and others. Most importantly, the grounding we provide engages pupils in a love of art and its stories that will far outlast their formal education and accompany them throughout adult life.

Pupils at Marlborough follow History of Art in the Sixth Form through the Pearson Edexcel A level syllabus (9HT0). We instil in our pupils the appreciation that History of Art is both an exciting and an exacting academic discipline. Pupils learn about the currents and influences that worked upon artists in the past and they also gain insight into the materials, methods and practices that bring art into being. An important part of the learning concerns the appreciation of works of art as cultural artefacts belonging to specific historical and cultural moments. It is our hope that pupils will come to see art as a subtle gauge of how people experienced life in the past.

The Department runs successful and popular trips to enable students to encounter key works at close hand. These range from short trips to the galleries of London, Bath, Cardiff or Oxford to residential visits to Paris, Florence, Rome, Naples, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Delft.

Other regular co-curricular activities within term time include lectures from academics, museum curators, art critics and practising artists and architects.