Visual Arts (Painting) - annotated exemplars level 2 AS91306

Demonstrate an understanding of methods and ideas from established practice appropriate to painting (2.1)

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This annotated exemplar is intended for teacher use only. The student work shown does not always represent a complete sample of what is required. Selected extracts are used, focused on the grade boundaries, in order to assist assessors to make judgements at the national standard.

Low Excellence

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Student work extract

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For Excellence, the student needs to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of methods and ideas from established practice appropriate to painting.

This involves identifying and documenting particular information through the analysis of methods and ideas from established practice, in order to explain how and why art works are related to the context in which they are made, viewed and valued.

In this extract the student has investigated the work of Harmen Steenwyck and James Hopkins.

The student provides sustained and accurate descriptions of technical and pictorial features. The student then links these to symbolic associations such as the orange relating to the Dutch royal family (1:47). This shows personal research from appropriate sources.

The explanations of symbolic elements are often in-depth and multi-layered as in the case of the light source for the Steenwyck work (2:18). The student explains the idea of light as a pictorial focus device, a spiritual versus physical metaphor, and a life and death symbol.

Further independent research is demonstrated in the Hopkins discussion where the mirror used as an eye is contextualised with the quote ‘The eye mirrors the soul’ (5:23).

The student uses a sophisticated vocabulary including words such as allegory, accentuated and motif. This indicates a depth of background research and a strong understanding of visual art terminology.

For a more secure Excellence, the student could provide a more in-depth explanation of how cultural and historical factors influenced each artist. For example, in the James Hopkins discussion which focusses on traditional vanitas symbolism (7:27), the student could mention how contemporary consumerism or mass production might affect this reading.

High Merit

Commentary
Student work extract

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For Merit, the student needs to demonstrate an informed understanding of methods and ideas from established practice appropriate to painting.

This involves identifying and documenting particular information about how methods and ideas from established practice are used with reference to the context in which artworks are made, viewed and valued.

In this extract the student has investigated the work of Salvador Dali, Steve Makse, Hendrik Andrieszen and Harmen Steenwyck.

The student demonstrates an informed understanding of a range of painting conventions including the role of negative space (4m28s) and the golden section (4m17s). The use of technical features to create particular effects is described. For example, how oil paint allows for more detail and variety (5:08).

The student identifies Dali’s theme of nuclear mysticism and his obsession with spiral forms, and the fact that the ‘small colourful bits represent…the bits of matter that are left over from when he painted the painting’(1:06). This information shows independent research from appropriate sources.

To reach Excellence, the student could more fully explain how or why the paintings differ in terms of content and intention. Specifically, the student could discuss these differences in relation to the contexts in which the works are made, viewed and valued.

A critical area for this topic would be how and why the approaches of modern still life differ from traditional vanitas painting. For example, the student could make greater reference to the contemporary ideas of consumerism, or the false idolatry aspects of the Steve Makse objects (1:50).

Low Merit

Commentary
Student work extract

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For Merit, the student needs to demonstrate an informed understanding of methods and ideas from established practice appropriate to painting

This involves identifying and documenting particular information about how methods and ideas from established practice are used with reference to the context in which artworks are made, viewed and valued.

In this extract the student has investigated the work of Adriaen Van Utrecht and Wayne Thiebaud.

The student presents a detailed and accurate explanation of pictorial and technical features in the work of Van Utrecht. Typical features of the artist’s style such as smooth painting (1:02) and atypical aspects such as visible brushstrokes for the flowers (1:10) are identified, and this shows informed understanding of Van Utrecht’s work.

The student correctly identifies how technical devices are used to create specific effects, as in the Van Utrecht painting where the dull light means that isolated highlights lead the eye around the composition (1:40). A range of painting field terms are used accurately, such as ‘hard edge’, ‘naturalistic’, ‘shallow space’, ‘negative space’, etc. (2:00-2:30).

For a more secure Merit, the student could show more informed discussion of the ideas that underpin the work of Thiebaud. This means moving beyond references to obvious themes such as birthdays and Christmas (5:40). For example Thiebaud cake paintings are typically connected to ideas of commercialism, consumption, gluttony, and/or temptation.

The student could also use relevant quotes from the artists to support key ideas, for example ‘Common objects become strangely uncommon when removed from their context and ordinary ways of being seen’ (Thiebaud).

High Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

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For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate an understanding of methods and ideas from established practice appropriate to painting.

This involves identifying and documenting information about methods and ideas from established practice, with reference to the context in which artworks are made, viewed and valued.

In this extract the student has investigated the work of Hendrik Andrieszen and Steve Makse.

The student begins by identifying the geographic and historical origins of the Vanitas genre (1:10). This establishes a connection with the wider social context.

The student demonstrates an understanding of particular methods with accurate references to technical processes such as glazing and scumbling (1:15).

Some explanation is provided for the symbolic and narrative purposes such as that ‘the crown symbolises wealth and upper class living’ (2:47).

To reach Merit, the student could demonstrate informed understanding of the art works through a discussion of the wider social and personal circumstances surrounding the art works. For example, the student could refer to the autobiographic nature of the objects selected in the Makse painting (3:30).

Evidence at Merit level moves beyond a focus on pictorial and technical properties to explain symbolic or metaphorical concerns. For example, the social context briefly mentioned at the beginning could be extended to talk about how the social context of the time influenced the rise of Vanitas painting. 

The ‘informed understanding’ requirement for Merit also means that the student needs to support their response with references to research sources. For example, including the Latin ‘Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas’ would provide an opportunity to explain the ideas that underpin the genre.

Low Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

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For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate an understanding of methods and ideas from established practice appropriate to painting.

This involves identifying and documenting information about methods and ideas from established practice, with reference to the context in which artworks are made, viewed and valued.

In this extract the student has investigated the work of Hendrik Andrieszen and Steve Makse.

The student describes the formal elements in each work and makes some attempt to explain the effects of these features, for example how the dark background makes the brighter objects stand out (1:01).

The wider meaning of the painting is clearly identified: ‘we can’t escape out fate and will all die eventually’ (2:15), and specific symbolism is used to support this position. For example, the skull symbolises death (2:25), and bubbles reflect the temporary nature of life (2:34).

For a more secure Achieved, the student could offer more sustained explanations of how pictorial features are used to communicate ideas. For example, the discussion of colour in the Makse painting (3:18) is largely descriptive. For a secure Achieved the student may point out that the high saturation is very contemporary in comparison to the muted tones of traditional Vanitas painting.

A comparative discussion between traditional and contemporary approaches would also provide opportunity to show greater understanding. For example, the pyramidal arrangement of the Makse painting is traditional, while the colours and objects are modern. This means that the fashions change, but the issue of life being temporary remains.

High Not Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

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For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate an understanding of methods and ideas from established practice appropriate to painting.

This involves identifying and documenting information about methods and ideas from established practice, with reference to the context in which artworks are made, viewed and valued.

In this extract the student has investigated the work of Harmen Steenwyck and Steve Makse.

Traditional and contemporary art works have been discussed. The student uses appropriate language such as background and tone. The student begins to identify some pictorial concerns such as light source from top left (0:46) and skull focal point (0:14).

The reference to the shoe in the Makse painting symbolising ‘action or life movements’ (1:44) begins to show an understanding of how pictorial features create meaning. 

To reach Achieved, the student could provide more sustained identification of the pictorial features and symbolism in each painting. For example, the discussion of the Makse painting should include reference to the fundamental compositional device of the centralised pyramid.

The student could show more frequent identification of symbolic associations, supported by evidence from research sources.

 
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