‘History is remembered by its art, not its war machines’ - James Rosenquist

Did you know that people who study art history have advantages over those who don’t? In a world surrounded by images, now more than ever, art history teaches you skills such as critical and analytical thinking, interpretation, and attention to detail. Not only that, it transports you around our world, transcending boundaries between time, space, cultures, and beyond.

Check out some art history scholarship exam here.

NCEA art history exam

mona lisa | pixabay.comSo, in terms of picking subjects, you’ve obviously chosen well. Now, ready to revise and ace those Level 1, 2, and 3 internals and externals?

Let's (Van) Gogh!

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NCEA Level 1 Art History

91015 Demonstrate understanding of formal elements of artworks, using art terminology  

NCEA Art History Level 1
Level 1 Art History tests your knowledge of New Zealand artworks | casnovak.co.nz

Time to showcase your understanding of our local artworks! Colour, tone, light, form, composition, space, scale, and texture are just some formal elements you can explore. Remember sure to use art terminology when describing these, and include examples from the art works for each element to really back yourself up! The more details, the better. Your examiners are looking for a thorough understanding of these elements.

Your questions will be based on work from the following artists, so be sure to revise with them in mind:

Painting and Printmaking - Shane Cotton, Bill Hammond, Robyn Kahukiwa, Reuben Paterson, John Pule, Kelcy Taratoa, and Robin White

Photography - Mark Adams, Marti Freidlander, Gavin Hipkins, Fiona Pardington, and Peter Peryer

Sculpture - Neil Dawson, Michael Parekowhai, Tiffany Singh, and Elizabeth Thomson

Architecture by Athfield Architects, Bossley Architects, Jasmax and Warren, and Mohoney

NCEA Level 2 Art History 

NCEA Art History Level 2
Level 2 Art History examines your understanding of your area of study | pixabay.com

91180 Examine the effects of formal elements of artworks

 Ah, the freedom of choice that comes with Level 2. You get to choose ONE of the two questions from your area of study (Gothic Art, Towards Modernism or Art in Aotearoa), and two artworks from your resource book.

We remember from Level 1 that formal elements refer to visual components such as form, colour, composition, tone, technique, media/materials, light, line, space, scale and decorative features. Strengthen your description of each of these with examples from the artwork. Then, discuss the effects that these formal elements have. These could be expressive effects, effects of texture, effects of movements, effects related to scale, and effects on the viewer, such as thoughts, emotions, or senses. Score that excellence by explaining the importance of these effects, using evidence from the art as exemplars for each one.

91181 Examine the meanings conveyed by artworks

Once again, you need to answer one question from your area of study. This time, however, one artwork comes from the resource book and you get to choose the other. Exciting!

Meanings here include ideas, messages, subject matter, or themes in the art. You need to describe these, referencing features such as figures, motifs, and symbols in the art. To lift your grade, remember to interpret the major themes and ideas as well, and link them with what you see in the art. Why not practice beforehand with your chosen art piece!

91182 Examine the influence of context(s) on artworks

 One question, one artwork from the resource book, and one artwork of your choice. You’re getting the hang of this now. For this question, really drill down on the impact of the context (personal, social, historical, cultural, political) that the art was produced in has on the artwork. How did this context inspire the artwork? How does it come across in the art? Can you see it in the characteristics of the art, media used, symbols and motifs, or the subject matter itself? Include as much detail as you can in both your descriptions and your examples.

Areas of studies include:

Aspects of Gothic Art, including architecture, visual art as well as sculpture. Meanings here can include religious beliefs, everyday life, nature as well as wealth. Contexts examined include towns (such as larger gathering places), social (relating more to family life, Church and economic (including marketplace and trade)

Towards Modernism, including various artists, buildings, structures, and styles. The meanings here may be the portrayal of women and men, work and pleasure, events, or the rise of modernity. These may be examined in an economic, societal, political, philosophical, or technological context.

Finally, the artists and styles of our beautiful art in Aotearoa can be examined by exploring sense of place, spiritual and religious beliefs, cultural aspects, as well as everyday life. Contexts here extend to cultural and artistic influences, geographic factors, social and historical.

Check out a full list of areas of study and their context.

NCEA Level 3 Art History 

NCEA Art History Level 3
| pixabay.com

In Level 3 you either pick your own artworks, or artworks from the resource book.

Damn, Level 3? You must be a pro. Possibly among your final exams before you head into the big bad world, let’s make them a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa.

91482 Demonstrate understanding of style in artworks

You’ll have just one question here. You can choose one or more areas of study from Early Renaissance, Late Renaissance, Early Modernism, Modernist Design and Architecture, and Modernism to Postmodernism. Pick two stylistic characteristics from the options in your exam booklet, and describe them with the help of your two selected artworks.

When we talk about style in Art History, we mean characteristics (such as line, colour, tone, light, form, shape, texture) that come together to produce either the style of an artist,  movement, time, or place. Gunning for those high grades, tell us why there are similarities and/or differences in this style, and of course—you already know this by now—bring in examples from the art itself.

91483 Examine how meanings are communicated through art works

Oof, seven questions? Don’t worry, you only have to pick one!

Your two artworks can be from the resource booklet, your own choice, or one of each. Meanings here include ideas, messages, and themes communicated by the features of the art (formal elements, subject matter, symbols, motifs, etc). Explain how and why these meanings are shown through the features of the art. Include a few references to contextual influences here and you’re on a winning streak.

91484 Examine the relationship(s) between art and context

Yes! You made it. One more to go.

Seven questions, you pick one, and use art from the resource booklet, your own choice, or a combination of the two—you know the drill. What’s the relationship between the art and the context? Remember, context refers to the environment and situation in which the art was created. This can be personal, social, cultural, geographical, economic to name a few. The relationship between art and context basically describes how the art is influenced and inspired by (or even how it influences) the context in which it was created.

Areas of study for NCEA Art History Level 3 include the Early Renaissance, examining meanings such as Christian themes, people, classical influences as well as natural aspects. Contexts here extend to religious, philosophical, economic, and political.

The Late Renaissance area of study once again examines meanings such as Christian themes, people, classical influences as well as natural aspects. Contexts here also extend to religious, philosophical, economic, and political.

Early Modernism explores meanings such as life experiences, change, war response, the return to nature as well as philosophy and spirituality. Contexts include modernity, social contexts, political contexts as well as the self.

Modernist Design and Architecture are related to the meanings of modern life, change, domestic life, corporate image, philosophy, and politics. These are examined in the contexts of modernity, economic contexts, societal contexts, and political contexts, as well as The Bauhaus.

Modernism to Postmodernism looks into place, philosophy, spirituality, identity, the every day, and meanings about art. These are examined in the social contexts, economic contexts, political contexts, as well as mass media and the art world.

Finally, Contemporary Diversity (post 2000) delves into reality, identity, narrative, popular culture, and meanings about art, media and culture. These come to play in the contexts of globalization, the art world, the digital environment, challenging power, and authority, as well as environmental and cultural aspects

Check out further details on your areas of study, artists, and styles.

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NCEA Art History Past Exams

Practice really does make perfect, so don’t underestimate the power of practice exams for your best chance of success! Our Art History study guide can also help you with this.

Find a full list of past exams on the NZQA website, under ‘Art History subject resources’. Why not read a few Excellence exemplar scripts and commentary, then practice some on your own with the artists and/or areas of study relevant to you? The more you practice, the better prepared you will be.

NCEA Art History Revision (Bonus Tips)

  • Go through your class notes. Read them to understand them, or make summary notes, whatever works for you!
  • Read some Excellence exemplars
  • Start practice papers
  • Be as comprehensive as you can, but remember to stay on topic!

Answer Length Guidelines

Your work will be judged on quality, not length. You are recommended to stay under

  • 3-4 pages (550 – 600 words) in Level 1
  • 4-5 pages (750 – 800 words) in Level 2
  • 5-6 pages (800-900 words) in Level 3

All the best! We’re sure you will pass with flying colours. Pun intended.

Extra Help

If you would like to ‘brush’ up and really set yourself up for success, Superprofs are here to help. Check out our incredibly knowledgeable and friendly list of tutors to help you get the grades you deserve in Art History!

 

 

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