Leaving Cert art history: Among ‘best papers of recent years’

However, teacher suggests that extra 20 minutes should be added to the exam

Students were happy with the higher-level art history. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Students were happy with the higher-level art history. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire


Students were happy with one of best higher-level art history and appreciation exams of recent years, teachers have said.

Clodagh O’Hara, TUI subject representative and an art teacher at St Patrick’s Comprehensive in Shannon, said students who covered a reasonable amount of the course were given a good opportunity to apply their knowledge.

“My students were thrilled with Frederic William Burton and Dorothy Cross appearing on the Irish art section of the paper,” said Ms O’Hara.

“There was plenty of choice on question 7 and the vast majority of students will have been able to write about an artist that they studied.”

Jean Bourke, teacher in St Gerald’s College in Castlebar, said that the paper was very fair and had a good choice of questions.

“The Irish art section had a good choice between bronze age manuscripts and Christian stonework, and the paper had a good amount of choice,” said Ms Bourke, who is also an ASTI subject representative.

“Question 10 on the European section gave them an opportunity to apply their knowledge of art composition and subject matter, while question 14 featured a huge variety of artists from different time periods.

“The Gothic question was very fair and the appreciation of art section gave students a chance to reveal their own experiences of viewing an exhibition.”

Ms O’Hara praised questions on the Book of Kells and Irish buildings in the Palladian style.

Art students generally visit a number of exhibitions and Ms O’Hara’s class have been to Hunt Museum in Limerick, the Casino at Marino in Dublin and the National Gallery, where they saw the Caravaggio exhibition.

The ordinary level paper was very fair and received good feedback from students, said Ms O’Hara.

Topics included Jack B Yeats, the architecture of Russborough House, Donatello’s Mary Magdalene and the design of smartphone apps.

Ms Bourke pointed out that there is a significant amount of writing and diagrams to be produced and suggested that an extra 20 minutes should be added to the exam.

About 9,300 students sat the exam, with more than 8,000 sitting the higher level paper.

About two-thirds of these students are female. Students have already submitted coursework, which accounts for 62.5 per cent of their overall mark.

Try this at home: Leaving Cert art, higher level

“The primary objective in the design of an art gallery, museum or interpretive centre is to create a space for the interaction of people with artworks/artefacts. Discuss this statement with reference to a named art gallery, museum or interpretive centre that you have visited.

“In your answer describe and discuss two named works and refer to the ways in which the use of the space affected your interaction with these works. Briefly outline your visual concepts for the layout of a school-based exhibition of student artwork. Give reasons for your design decisions.

“Illustrate your answer.”