EDIT Gets a bit ranty.
So I just got home from my Art History and Appreciation exam and thought I’d talk about it, not how I screwed it up but the thought itself. Basically I have no idea how other country’s education system compares to Ireland’s and was wondering what the differences are. [if the link doesn’t work the exam hasn’t been uploaded yet]
In Ireland you enter secondary school ( I assume Middle School equivalent, really no idea ) at around 12/13 and spend 5/6 years studying your choice of subjects. Naturally I chose Art as one of my subjects. For the first 3 years it’s basically drawing practice and you have to make a project for your Junior Certificate exam ( a piece of paper that holds no real value (I got a B :D) ). Then for 5th and 6th year you start studying Art History and Appreciation once a week along with project work. Then you have the Leaving Certificate exam which earns you points based on grades and is what you use to apply for college/university.
The 3 sections on the art exam are Irish Art, European Art and Art Appreciation and you have to write one essay ( roughly 3-4+ A4 ) with illustrations ( sketches of what you’re talking about ) on each section. Each section has 6 specific questions and 1 vague question. You are usually expected to know 2 paintings by several artists, at least 2 Irish crosses, manuscripts, tombs, named metalworks etc. and for the Art Appreciation section a visit to an exhibition is the main topic studied although film can be studied along with architecture and design stuffs.
I want to know what you guys’ opinion is on teaching art, specifically history to students. Do you think it’s beneficial or a waste of time. Should it be mandatory as it is here or optional? Obviously I have no idea what kind of final exam the USA have or if it even focuses on specific subjects. I think it’s a really interesting subject and am glad to have had the opportunity to visit an exhibition, it was my first time and I thought it would be terribly boring. It was Gabriel Metsu BTW. Aside from making a complete balls of the exam I enjoyed the subject through the past 2 years.
If anyone’s interested I answered a question on the Metsu exhibition, the actual question was along the lines of “Do you think since so many images of artwork are available online that a visit to an exhibition is necessary to fully appreciate art. Describe 2 works by an artist to support your answer.” I was torn between a Masaccio and a Da Vinci question on European art but chose Da Vinci in the end since I only knew The Tribute Money by Masaccio and that was the work named in the question so I was stuck for a second. I wrote about Virgin on the Rocks and a Self Portrait by Da Vinci, the question was about his contribution to the development of painting so I bullsh*t about sfumato and triangular composition for three pages. For the Irish Art section I hadn’t a clue since our teacher went on maternity leave and left us with the densest woman I’ve ever laid eyes on. The question was basically to describe 2 named metalwork pieces which I screwed up and talk about 2 more of our choice. I named one of them wrong and didn’t even bother attempting to name the second piece, just referred to it as “the second piece”. How I even get a fibula mixed up with the Broighter f**king collar I’ll never know but what’s done is done. I just realised I’ve rambled for too long. XD
So art history as a subject. Ya.