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History of Art & Philosophy Personal Statement

Looking at the face of the figure central to Waterhouse's "The Soul of the Rose" alongside the Tennyson poem it was inspired by, I found myself hooked, not just by the detail of the painting, but by the emotion it conveyed. From that, followed my love for Collier's Delphic Oracle and Rossetti's 'Beata Beatrix' and since then, my love for art has developed further still. I have lost myself in some of the world's most loved painters.

From the Ancient Greeks through to Frida Kahlo, I've discovered that within each artist, lies a different meaning to the word 'beauty'.

That, more than anything, is what I love about art history; its desire to
unlock the world beyond paint and canvas. Art, such as the works of Duchamp, has the capacity to alter the way we understand the world and, by nature, philosophy has that same power. It's the art of the curious. Socrates stressed the power of asking 'why' and from that, philosophers have reshaped the way we think about God, beauty, and life.

Thus, philosophy and art inspire me to question; urge me to embrace new ways of thinking, making them central to my experience as a human being.

By studying them at university, I hope that will be encouraged further. The surrealists are a favourite of mine, so much so that my EPQ is a study of their philosophy of the subconscious, which I've applied to photography. While they have taught me to further understand how my mind works, the EPQ has taught me research and communication skills; skills crucial for both these subjects.

At school, I've developed critical thinking skills as my subjects require an ability to formulate arguments and pick them apart. My analytical thinking has been developed through Philosophy and English, not just through evaluating different theories, but by developing my own.

These are skills crucial in the study of art and philosophy. With school, I attended an ethics conference in Oxford hosted by Peter Vardy which enhanced my knowledge of ethical issues like euthanasia and genetic engineering, and through leading a creative writing class for KS3 students, I've learnt how to adapt my oral communication to suit different audiences. Yet, my skills are by no means limited to academia.

Through studying the art of the Pre-Raphaelites in my own time, I've boosted my visual literacy. Outside of school, my life revolves around literature and art. Writing has always been the constant in my life. I love writing poetry as I find it liberating to express myself through words without barriers.

This has lead me to be published in anthologies across the South. My favourite thing is exploring the subtleties and aesthetics of language; discovering how the smallest things can have a big impact; an interest that translates in my study of art and aesthetics.

Alongside poetry, I write stories that often explore the emotional side of being human. Photography is also something I enjoy. My photos often border on the surreal, as influenced by surrealist philosophy. Photography has led me to develop a wider understanding of composition and how it affects meaning.

The other constant in my life is books. I am widely read; enjoying both non-fiction and fiction. My favourite books explore spiritual topics and are character driven like Paulo Coelho's "Witch of Portobello" or the works of Homer and Virgil which have furthered my understanding of esoteric spirituality and art.

I also enjoy books that address the philosophy and history of religion and the spirituality of ancient civilisation, such as Jonathan Black's "Sacred History of the World", or Umberto Eco's "Book of Legendary Lands" which first introduced me to the analysis of setting in art with reference to its historical context.

In all I am genuine and individual and always find new imaginative ways of doing things. Passion driven, my absolute love for philosophy and art history will be my biggest motivation throughout university, allowing me not only to succeed, but to enjoy every moment of it.

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Author's Comments

This got me an offer from Glasgow, Essex, Birmingham, and an interview with the Courtauld Institute of Art (currently waiting for a final response)

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