IB Art History

History of Art is so much more than just an academic sixth form subject. It is a journey of discovery across the vast expanse of human history and the artefacts that we leave behind: painting, sculpture and architecture. History of Art aims to arrive at a historical, cultural and political understanding of these objects by asking questions about the circumstances of their making, their artistic production and their public reception. By investigating the meanings of these cultural products, shaped and reshaped over time, we better understand ourselves and each other.

History of Art is a unique humanities subject which combines elements of Art, History, English, Theology and Sociology. Those who study History of Art develop a curiosity in the world around them as well as a lifelong appreciation of visual culture.

Thinking about a career in politics? History of Art equips you with nimble and confident debating abilities. Considering a job in advertising or marketing? Art History provides you with the skills to visually communicate ideas. How about a career in journalism? The subject teaches you to formulate a substantiated argument and deliberate in writing. Perhaps you are contemplating going to Art School, becoming an architect or working for a gallery, museum or auction house – Art History provides the foundation you will need to embark on your future.

IB Standard Level course structure:

  • Topic one: Art of the Renaissance c. 1400-c.1550 CE: We explore the most significant and celebrated period in the history of Western art, and how it gave birth to some of the world’s most famous artists, architects and patrons. We examine how artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were able to create extraordinary levels of realism by combining their interest in the art of ancient Greece and Rome with scientific developments and artistic innovation.
  • Topic two: Rococo to Realism c.1720-c.1860 CE: : We investigate the ways in which artists responded to the social and economic upheaval caused by the industrial and political revolutions that occurred in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. We examine the ways in which this shift in the distribution of power from the land owning aristocracy to the newly-wealthy merchant class brought about a change in artistic tastes, prompting artists to examine, critique and satirise contemporary life in ways that had never been seen before.
  • IA: The coursework component allows you to focus on a topic that really fascinates you. The comparative investigation requires a visual comparison between two art historical periods or artists.

Course benefits:

  • A residential trip to Paris in the Michaelmas term including a visit to the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou Centre and Musée Rodin.
  • An inspiring programme of lecturers from leading experts in art history. Previous speakers have included Andrew Graham Dixon, Dr James Fox and Dr Janina Ramirez.
  • A student-led Kenneth Clark society.

Course requirements:

  • Pupils must have attained at least a 7 in GCSE English Language or English Literature.
  • Pupils who take this course will be prepared to visit museums and galleries independently, read widely and enjoy writing about art history and visual culture.

Where can it take you?

  • Art History is a well-regarded subject choice amongst art schools and universities. Students have gone on to study at Art History at Cambridge, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Edinburgh and Leeds.

Specification Link

We currently study the following specification:



For more information, please contact: spw@wellingtoncollege.org.uk