WEEK ONE: 8 - 12 July 2013

Course 3: Dr Susan Jones and Clare Richardson

Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden: Materials, Methods and Meanings

The fee for this course is £475 as the group will be limited to 10 students; this also includes the cost of course materials

This course is now FULL. Please contact us if you would like to be added to the waiting list.


This course will examine Early Netherlandish painting in terms of the materials and methods it employed, and the meanings it delivered, by focusing on its most celebrated practitioners: Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden. Through case studies of such paintings as van Eyck’s enigmatic Arnolfini Portrait and van der Weyden’s haunting Descent from the Cross, we will explore how their extraordinary work achieved its effects and how it was valued and viewed by their patrons. We will trace the artists’ creative processes by investigating the properties and possibilities of oil paint, the manufacture and preparation of panel supports, the design and underdrawing of compositions, and the procedures of paint application. Consideration of the contexts for which paintings were intended will further elucidate their meaning, using the latest research to investigate questions of audience, setting and function. Students will be introduced to the technical research methods employed by art historians to understand panel paintings: original objects will be scrutinised in The Courtauld’s Conservation Studios using microscopy, x-radiography, and infrared reflectography. We will visit The Courtauld Gallery, the National Gallery and the British Museum to look at works by van Eyck and van der Weyden, their contemporaries and followers.

Course 5: Professor Deanna Petherbridge

Lines of Sight and Invention: Techniques, Practices and Uses of Western Drawing across the Centuries

The fee for this course is £475 as the group will be limited to 10 students; this also includes the cost of course materials


We regret that due to circumstances beyond our control this course had to be cancelled.

This course will introduce participants to the ranges of drawing that stretch from rough preliminary sketches to completed visualisations for work in other media. It includes a practical session during which participants will explore the possibilities of different drawing materials and techniques. We will investigate how drawing is the most direct means for observing the world around us or can be an analytical medium for understanding the movement and expressiveness of bodies, the structures of buildings or the salient lines of landscape. And there will be opportunities to think about how lines and marks operate on the page, how they determine expression, render thought into image or reveal ‘the hand’ of the artist.

London is home to an unprecedented range of drawing cabinets and participants will have the chance to view drawings by designers and architects as well as artists; to get very close to the finest examples of historical drawing and visit a drawing studio where an artist caricatures everyday life with wit and economy.  It is hoped that at the end of the course students will be familiar with some major concepts about drawing practice and its theories.


WEEK TWO: 15 - 19 July 2013

Course 9: Dr Peter Dent

The Art of the Embodied Soul: An Introduction to Sculpture


Sculpture has a reputation as a difficult art, but nothing could be further from the truth. While it certainly makes demands on the mind, it also moves the body. It can engage the beholder in profoundly physical ways that frame our thoughts before they are even formed. In this course, we will explore this sensory and intellectual appeal by examining sculptural techniques, the significance of materials, texture, and colour, and a fascinating mythology that ranges from the automatons of Hephaistos, to the tales of Pygmalion and the Golem. Drawing on the ideas of writers like Pliny, Herder, and Rosalind Krauss, we will investigate different ways of thinking about sculpture. Above all, we will listen to the voice of the sculptor. Cellini, Hildebrand, and Louise Bourgeois, for example, have all spoken about their art. During the week, these ideas and themes will be pursued through a broadly chronological structure running from ancient through to modern art. There will be visits to the British Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate Modern, as well as the opportunity to experience public works in situ. This course is a journey through the art of sculpture: five days, forty sculptures, three collections, and the streets of London.

Course 13: Timothy Wilcox

The Art of Light and Atmosphere: Watercolour Painting in England and Beyond


Watercolour is a medium that achieves an astonishingly wide range of effects and appeals to the professional and amateur artist alike. Rather than thinking of English watercolour painting in artistic isolation and focusing largely on the medium’s technical aspects, we will reconnect it to contemporary contexts of drawing, painting, printmaking and writing. Watercolour painting was of significance to a variety of social and cultural practices, including gardening, travel and tourism, patronage, the rise of art exhibitions and the role of artists’ societies. We will study these rich and varied contexts in conjunction with major works by outstanding English artists, including Paul Sandby, Francis Towne, John Robert Cozens, Thomas Girtin, John Sell Cotman, JMW Turner and Samuel Palmer.  The final day will counter the conventional idea that watercolour painting is a particularly English phenomenon by considering watercolour traditions in Scotland, in Continental Europe and in the USA, and will conclude with a session on the international status of watercolour in the modern era.


WEEK THREE: 22 - 26 July 2013

Course 17: Dr Eileen Rubery

Beauty and Splendour Piece by Piece: The Art of Mosaics from Antiquity to the Renaissance

The fee for this course is £475 as the group will be limited to 10 students; this also includes the cost of course materials/workshops

mosaic of a large figure of a winged angel in long white robes, striding, half-turned to left, holding a globe in the right and a sceptre in the left hand
Angel from an apsidal mosaic, Church of Kiti, Cyprus, © Robin Cormack
The use of coloured fragments of glass, stone, shells and earthenware to decorate floors, walls and ceilings occurs from the earliest of times. Mosaics form a robust, flexible and colourful decoration that also, especially when gold or silver is included, glitters and glows in the light, giving a unique impression of movement and liveliness. We shall consider how mosaics were made and what messages they were intended to convey to the observer. Starting with secular images on floors and in the ruins of Pompeii, we shall move on to look at the earliest Christian examples in Rome and Roman Britain, the mosaics of the Imperial Palace and Byzantine churches of Constantinople, and mosaics from Greece, Rome, Norman Sicily and Renaissance Venice. We shall see how mosaics were used to create some of the most sumptuous and spectacular celebrations of religious and secular power. Visits are to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. There will also be three practical sessions in a mosaic workshop, where we will see modern examples and where every student will have the opportunity to make a small mosaic of their own.

Course 24: Dr Sarah James

Photography, Modernism and Modernity in the 20th century


This course will examine the relationship between the European avant-garde, technology and mass culture, by situating artistic production in the context of photography, mechanical reproduction, cinema, advertising, consumerism, and everyday life in the modern metropolis. We shall explore the ways in which photography intersected with painting at the turn of the century, and its role in shaping the most significant artistic movements of the European avant-garde from Futurism, Constructivism and Dada to Surrealism and New Objectivity. We will consider how artists drew on technologies, mass media and popular culture to celebrate modernity and challenge traditional approaches to artistic production, subjective experience, gender norms, and commodity culture. We'll look at photographic culture more broadly, considering photobooks, photo-essays, avant-garde journals, and major photo-exhibitions. The course will end by investigating how the avant-garde’s utopian dreams were violently deformed with the rise of mass politics and the ways in which both Stalinism and Nazism built on and transformed the avant-garde’s vision of technology and mass culture.


WEEK FOUR: 19 July - 2 August 2013

Course 27: Dr Michael Douglas-Scott

Art and Print Culture in Renaissance Venice


Renaissance Venice was a global hub of visual and textual communication. This position was strengthened in the late fifteenth century with the establishment of printing houses there. Venice was to become the most significant centre for the production of printed images and texts in Europe for a century. The rise of the printing industry provided opportunities for artists and architects working in the city. This involved not just book illustration and print-making but personal friendships with writers and publishers, cheaper and more varied source material and ultimately a more powerful position vis-à-vis their clients in a growing art market. This course will focus on how artists and architects responded to this radically new order. How did the colour-based tradition of Venetian painters like Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Titian and Veronese adapt to the modern, black-and-white age of mechanical reproduction? How did Palladio and others use printing to spread the language of classical architecture? In addition to lectures and seminars there will be more object-based classes during visits to The Courtauld Gallery Print Room, the National Gallery, the British Museum and the British Library.

Course 32: Sara Knelman

Contemporary Photography


Please note the change of lecturer. Due to unforeseeable circumstances Dr Benedict Burbridge has had to withdraw from the course. It will now be taught by photography curator and writer Sara Knelman.

black and white photo of the same man with bandaged hand and wearing a blindfold in different poses
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Afterlife, 2009,©
The Artists This course will explore the place of photography in contemporary culture and, in particular, in contemporary art. Through a series of intensive lectures, discussions and gallery visits, we will examine the conditions that have led to photography’s increased status as a medium for artistic production and the themes and approaches that have defined recent art photography. The course will offer a critical look at the work of established contemporary artists, including Jeff Wall, Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman, Rineke Dijkstra and Nan Goldin, as well as notable emerging photographers. Situating the work in a variety of historical and theoretical contexts, we will address the position of art photography in relation to other photographic genres and applications, from the documentation of war to its uses in fashion and advertising. The course will also consider photography’s increasing prominence within the art museum, the ways in which digitization and globalization have affected the production and dissemination of photographic images, and photography and the art market.