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A Program of the Virginia Department of Education

05153 AP Art History

Field of Study

The AP Art History course explores such topics as the nature of art, its uses, its meanings, art making, and responses to art.

Material Covered

Through investigation of diverse artistic traditions of cultures from prehistory to the present, the course fosters in-depth and holistic understanding of the history of art from a global perspective.

Student Expectations

As students study works of art in a 250-image set supplied by The College Board, as well as additional supplementary works, they apply essential art historical skills of identification and categorization within the learning objectives, such as visual, contextual, and comparative analysis.

Additional Information

The curriculum and content of the course are based on three sets of big ideas and essential questions intended to encourage investigation of art throughout time and place and to help students make connections between art historical concepts in the image set; essential questions frame explorations of the nature of art, art making, and our responses to art.

Related Requirements

This AP course is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university art history survey course.


  • There are no prerequisites for AP Art History; however, students who have been particularly successful in humanities courses, such as history and literature, or in studio art courses are especially encouraged to enroll since those experiences will likely support and enrich the context of the art history course.

Course Texts and Materials


  • Gardner’s Art through the Ages A Global History (with CourseMate, 2 terms (12 months) Printed Access Card), 14th Edition


  • AP Art History Course and Exam Description Revised Edition, Effective Fall 2015
    The CollegeBoard
    Item # 150087182
  • The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History From Prehistoric to Post-Modern by Carol Strickland, 2nd edition
    ISBN: 9780836280050 or 0836280059
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