This subject involves developing creativity and the appreciation of the work of others. This involves learning the methods and techniques of the subject and producing your own work using these skills.

The Art course for Leaving Certificate consists of two main parts. The practical side of the course is about developing the student’s ability in a range of artistic fields and disciplines. The syllabus permits a huge number of media, from the fine arts such as sculpture, drawing, and painting, to puppet-making, printing and pottery.

Students are expected to spend the duration of the course practising and developing their skills in several of these areas. Unlike the Junior Cert, the practical examination takes place over the course of a week in supervised sessions of up to five hours, during which students are to complete a project (such as a sketch or drawing) and submit it for evaluation.

The art course also features a written examination on History and Appreciation of Art, which counts for approximately one third of the marks. The exam is divided into three sections, one on Irish art, one on European art, and a final section on artistic appreciation. The course content is extremely broad, and covers everything from prehistoric art to the modern day. Diagrams and illustrative sketches are encouraged in the exam. Field trips to a gallery are organised and encouraged.

The Leaving Certificate Art Syllabus is broken down as follows:
  • Imaginative Composition or Still Life
  • Craft or Design
  • Life Drawing
  • History & General Appreciation of Art

Note that the Leaving Cert Art course has nothing to do with the portfolio submissions which Art and Design colleges often require. The course does not aim to build a portfolio, and all marks are given for work done on the day. However, it is common to take Art while preparing a portfolio, and much of the practice work done in class can be included.

What kind of student might Art suit?
  • Students who have shown an aptitude for art, perhaps by getting high grades in Junior Cert Art or by presenting a portfolio with samples of their work but it is a difficult choice if the basic skills of art have not been developed.
  • Students choosing Art for Leaving Cert need to have basic drawing skills , some aptitude for design and problem solving, and an ability to work creatively.
  • Anyone considering a career in a creative discipline such as Architecture, Marketing, Film and Entertainment, Web Design, Fashion, Game Design, or Advertising.
  • Students who are weak in other areas such as languages or mathematics may find it easier to achieve points in Art.
  • Students who are looking for a break from intensive memory-work in their other subjects, or to reduce pressure on themselves in June by having a subject with exams in April/May. However commitment to the subject is essential.
  • Creative students who have a good imagination are able to analyze and question their work, think in a logical manner and produce original solutions; they will be expected to work under pressure at times to meet deadlines.
  • Students can get advice on Portfolios if they wish to progress to Third Level courses in art while many other students enjoy art, attain good grades in the Leaving Certificate and achieve high points in the subjects for entry to the Third Level courses of their choice.
  • A student who has the creative ability to do well in art but does not wish to take it as a career, can still gain high points towards their future course in college.