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the accuracy of historical paintings

The accuracy of historical paintings

Preparation for GCSE history coursework – History around us.

A Study of a local castle.

Courswork preparation

  • This presentation explored the way in which you can assess the accuracy of historical paintings or drawings.
  • You will be taught what to look for in a painting and what factors need to be considered when accessing how accurate or realistic they are.
  • For the purposes of this preparatory work, we will look at Caerphilly Castle in Wales.

Courswork preparation

the task
The task
  • How accurate is this painting of Caerphilly Castle?

Courswork preparation

what needs considering
What needs considering?
  • The geography of the site
  • The features within the painting
  • When the painting was completed
  • Any changes that may have occurred since that time
  • The purpose of the painting
  • The person who commissioned the painting

Courswork preparation

what does the site really look like
What does the site really look like?

This map illustrates the size of the Castle and the location of different sections of the Castle.

From this it is possible to identify the area painted.

The arrow shows the angle that the artist was looking from.

Courswork preparation

what is the site like today
What is the site like today?

Compare the damage

Leaning tower

2 Drum Towers

Is there a slope here?

Was there a Bridge?

Courswork preparation

could things have changed since the artist painted the castle
Could things have changed since the artist painted the Castle?
  • You need to look for evidence of the Castle having been rebuilt or redesigned.
  • Could parts of the Castle have decayed since the artists painting.

Courswork preparation

  • Describe the similarities and explain how close the artist is to representing the castle as shown in the photograph and the map.
  • Explain that some things may have changed since the time of the artist – the bridge is a modern addition for example.
  • Explain the differences to show any inaccuracies.
  • AND…

Courswork preparation

  • Remember that you have to consider the following:
  • PURPOSE of the painting, was it trying to illustrate only certain aspects of the Castle? If so, how accurate was that representation?
  • ARTIST – who painted it, what genre were they? Who, if anybody commissioned the painting?
  • CONTEXT – what circumstances was it painted in, this might affect it’s accuracy.
  • TONE – is the artist trying to suggest a certain mood?

Courswork preparation

why consider these things
Because the artist might not have intended to portray the CASTLE accurately.

The artist may have been presenting a MOOD, THEME or EVENT rather than attempting to paint the Castle.

The more you consider, the greater the depth of your ANALYSIS – which will result in a higher mark being given.

Why consider these things?

Courswork preparation

structure of the answer
Structure of the answer
  • An introduction that sums up, in general terms, your findings.
  • An explanation of the ways that the painting is accurate, referring to other evidence such as the photo and the map.
  • An explanation of the ways in which the painting appears not to be accurate, again with reference to supporting evidence.
  • An evaluation of the things that may have changed since the artists sitting. Incorporate here an evaluation of the artists intended purpose – what was he trying to portray?
  • An evaluation of your findings. This should weigh up the different possibilities and use evidence to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the case for/ against accuracy.
  • Your conclusion. This should be succinct and objective.

Courswork preparation