Leaving Cert art history: a clear and accessible paper

Picasso, Seurat, Neolithic period and architecture of Dublin among topics covered

This year's art history and appreciation papers (higher and ordinary levels) were broad, open and accessible, according to Liz Morrissey, ASTI subject representative and an art teacher at Mount St Michael School, Roscarbery, Co Cork.

“For the first time, the questions were phrased in an intelligent and concise manner, allowing students to elaborate as much as they like,” she said. “The students were really delighted with this year’s format, especially as the questions have previously been unnecessarily complex and verbose.”

The syllabus covers the Neolithic period, focusing on dolmens and passage tombs, through the metalwork period and on to the architecture of Dublin. This year, Picasso and French impressionist Georges Seurat came up. "The paper gave good students a chance to shine, while still allowing those of more limited ability to give their response," said Ms Morrissey.

In previous years, students criticised the syllabus for being slightly out of date. This year, however, students were delighted to see a question in art appreciation asking them to discuss the artistry behind a video game of their choice.

Ms Morrissey said the ordinary-level paper was “really lovely, well laid-out, with all the questions very readable and understandable,” but said the marks allocated to art history were too high, and may discourage less academic but artistically talented students from the subject.