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Art & Design

Subject matter

Subject matter is what an artist has chosen to paint, create or sculpt.

Subject matter

You will usually be given a subject matter for your coursework. For your exam, you will be given a choice of subjects to choose from.

The subject matter or starting point gives you things to think about. You need to look at artists who have responded to the same idea as well as thinking about what the subject matter means to you.

Common subject matters include:

  • landscape and natural form
  • portrait and figurative
  • close up
  • mechanical form
  • still life
  • narrative

You can explore subjects in many ways. For example, you could make a piece of work that is realistic, abstract or non-objective.


Garland by Tord Boontje. Design by Tord Boontje for Habitat

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