Visual Arts

“Every child is an artist. The challenge is to remain an artist after you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

Visual Arts encourages individual expression and thinking from the boys. The boys must combine their intellect and imagination in conceptualising and in creating artworks. We teach the boys sound observational and drawing skills as well as giving them a chance to use a variety of media.

The Visual Cultural Studies places emphasis on visual literacy and on learning to engage with the work of other artists; both past and present. The weighting of the practical and theoretical components is 70:30.

Maritzburg College is privileged to have a well-equipped print studio, with boys producing prints and etchings of the highest quality. We are in the process of revamping the ceramics department too so that ceramics can be offered to boys as an alternative medium. Owing to a great emphasis on drawing, our boys develop strong skills in this field, and they are taught to paint in oils, acrylics and water-colours. Learners are encouraged to explore any additional medium they are drawn to, and some have produced works from recycled materials, welded scrap metal and carved cemcrete.

The highlight of the course is the Matric Art Exhibition which happens in the third term. Each art student puts together a display of his body of work, featuring his three Matric pieces, as well as selected works from 5th Form.

The boys’ artistic experience is enriched by visits to galleries, museums and exhibitions as well as specialised workshops. 2017 has seen the start of an Art Club which is open to all boys, even those who have not chosen Visual Arts as a Matric subject. This club is proving popular with staff members too.

Outline of the curriculum

In each form, the curriculum provides 8 themes of which 6 must be studied. In the final examination, five questions must be answered.

Form 4

  • Visual analysis and interpretation
  • African art
  • Non-western cultures from across the globe
  • Ancient civilisations
  • The classical world
  • Middle Ages / Islamic art
  • Renaissance
  • Baroque and Rococo

Form 5

  • Overview of the 19th Century
  • Start of Modernism
  • Early 20th Century
  • Architecture
  • Between the world wars
  • A survey of post-1945 art
  • New Media
  • The art world

Form 6

  • The voice of emerging artists
  • South African artists influenced by African and/or indigenous art
  • Socio-political art- including Resistance Art of the ‘70s and ‘80’s
  • Art, craft and spiritual works mainly from rural South Africa
  • Multimedia and new media- alternative contemporary and popular art forms in South Africa
  • Post-1994 democratic identity in South Africa
  • Gender Issues: masculinity and femininity
  • Architecture in South Africa


  • Paper 1: Visual Cultural Studies (Theory) 100 marks
  • Paper 2: Practical 100 marks

Forms Four and Five

Term Formal Assessment Tasks Tasks
1 1 (practical) 50 + 50 = 100
2 (theory) 50
Practical Assessment Task (PAT ) 1
Theory test
2 3 (practical) 50 + 50 = 100
4 (theory) 100
Practical Assessment Task (PAT ) 2
June Theory Examination
3 5 (practical) 50 + 50 = 100
6 (theory) 50
Practical Assessment Task (PAT ) 3
Theory test
4 7 (practical and theory)
50 + 50 = 100
Final Examination (internal):
Paper 1 Theory
Paper 2 Practical
Retrospective Exhibition

Form Six

Term Formal Assessment Tasks Tasks
1 1 (practical)
2 (theory)
Practical Assessment Task (PAT ) 1
Theory test
2 3 (practical)
4 (theory)
Practical Assessment Task (PAT ) 2
June Theory Examination
3 5 (practical)
6 (theory)
Preliminary Examination:
Practical (beginning of Term 3)
Theory Test
4 7 (practical and theory) Final Examination (external):
Paper 1 Theory
Paper 2 Practical
Retrospective Exhibition for moderation:
At least five works which could include Grade 11 work
+ Grade 12: PAT s 1 and 2,
Preliminary Practical (compulsory)
+ Final Examination Practical