A his­tory of art–now a part of his­tory it­self

Country Life Every Week - - Athena - Cul­tural Cru­sader

THE largest exam board in Eng­land, AQA, has an­nounced that, from 2018, it will no longer of­fer an A-level in art his­tory. Amid the re­sult­ing up­roar, some in­ter­est­ing facts have emerged. Athena didn’t know, for ex­am­ple, that David Cameron had shown any in­ter­est in the vis­ual arts, yet we’ve learned that he got an A in A-level art his­tory. Thus we shouldn’t con­demn the sub­ject on the grounds that it doesn’t lead to a ca­reer: study art his­tory and you might be­come Prime Min­is­ter. His achieve­ment also coun­ters the misog­y­nis­tic jibe, much heard in re­cent weeks, that it’s a sub­ject for girls.

In other ways, of course, Mr Cameron’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion re­in­forces an­other prej­u­dice: that art his­tory is a mi­nor­ity pur­suit for the posh. This is harder to counter. In 2014, just

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