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Art History Department

Here in Rome, students are ideally placed to study the rich artistic heritage which surrounds us. The Art History International Baccalaureate syllabus was written specifically to be taught here at St George’s and has subsequently been taken up by schools all over the world.

Art History at St George’s is taught as an option in Group 3 or Group 6 of the IB Diploma programme. The course aims to develop students' visual awareness and understanding, and to promote an interest in, and critical understanding of, the artistic production of human societies within their historical, political, social, economic and cultural contexts. This enables students to enjoy and benefit from our cultural heritage and to foster understanding and sensitivity towards other cultures.  

Over the two-year course, students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the art and architecture of at least two historical eras. In recent years we have specialised in the art of Ancient Greece and Rome, and the Renaissance. We look at a variety of aspects, including: function and iconography, techniques and materials, form and style, the training and career of artists, and social and economic relationships of patronage.  

Students develop a range of skills during the course, including research, critical analysis, essay planning and writing, and oral presentations to their peers. Lessons are based on discussion of images projected in the classroom, but there is a strong emphasis on looking at works first-hand, and students are expected to visit major museums, galleries, archaeological sites and churches relevant to the course.  There are visits and trips organised by the school, including a 3-day trip to Florence, and several within Rome itself.

Students are assessed by written examination, but also have the opportunity to develop their interests in an area of choice in the cross-cultural coursework project. This 2,000-word illustrated essay is an opportunity to draw together the understanding and skills which they have developed during the course and is undertaken with the supervision of the teacher.

Art History is complementary to other areas of study.  For example, the Sciences play a major part in the field of conservation and restoration of artworks and many of our students go on to develop a lifelong interest in this fascinating discipline.  As well as broadening the cultural horizons of students, Art History has many applications in terms of careers, including museum and conservation work, the art market, architecture, picture research and the media, as well as tourism.  

For more information, please contact Helen Wilford, Head of Art History.