WEEK TWO: 21-25 July 2014

Course 11: Dr Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski
Cabinets of Wonder: A History of Museums in Britain


This course is now FULL

Museums are not, and never were, simple repositories of objects or histories. They are not neutral spaces, but play a central role in how we define ourselves as individuals, cultures and as nations. From the objects that they exhibit, through to their often extraordinary architecture, their formation, function and purpose have always been influenced by economic, political and social pressures. This course will look at the historical development of the modern museum or art gallery. This history will take us from the formation of cabinets of curiosities in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, to the magnificent royal collections of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the great public institutions of the modern world we are familiar with today. Using specific, historical museums as case studies, and through a series of site visits, we will examine how the architecture of the museum, and the methods of display, as much as the extraordinary objects they showcase, create a rich network of aesthetic and historical meaning.    

Course 13: 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

This course is now FULL

This course will introduce participants to the ranges of Western 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. Through the rich resource of the Courtauld’s collection, 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 and the structures of buildings or recording the shapes and textures of landscape. And there will be opportunities to think about how marks and lines operate on the page, how they determine expression, render thought into image, allow for invention of the new or reveal ‘the hand’ of the artist. Participants will see the finest examples of historical drawing up close, view drawings by designers and architects as well as artists and visit a drawing studio where everyday experience is caricatured with graphic 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.

Course 16: Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli

The Art of the Sultans: Ottoman Art and Architecture

This course is now FULL

photo close up of dome and spires of Sultan Ahmed Mosque Istanbul
Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul, photograph © Jeremy Avnet
The skyline of Istanbul is one of the most recognisable in the world. However, the Ottoman artistic tradition tends to be less widely known. This course traces the most significant developments of Ottoman art and architecture from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. From the Green Mosque in the former Ottoman capital of Bursa, we will progress to Edirne and then on to that great prize: Istanbul. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 was a major turning point, changing the way the Ottomans saw themselves and how they were regarded by others. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror initiated the city’s makeover, which transformed it into the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Our exploration of the art of the sultans will introduce us to patrons of the arts, such as Süleyman the Magnificent, the architect Sinan (often referred to as ‘the Michelangelo of the East’), and the most impressive sites of Istanbul, including the Topkapi Palace and the Süleymaniye Mosque. We will discover Ottoman carpets in the paintings of the National Gallery and explore the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum’s collections of textiles, Iznik ceramics and metalwork as well as coming face-to-face with Gentile Bellini’s portrait of Sultan Mehmed II.

WEEK THREE: 28 July - 1 August 2014

Course 19: Dr Peter Dent

The Art of the Embodied Soul: An Introduction to Sculpture


N.B: please note that due to unforeseen circumstances, Peter Dent will not be able to  take part in Summer School 2014. This course will now be taught by sculpture specialist Dr Jim Harris
This course is now FULL

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 20: Dr James Hall

The Self-Portrait: a Cultural History


This course is now FULL

Detail of self-portrait of Van Gogh with bandaged right ear
Vincent Van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, detail, 1889, The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Self-portraiture appears to be the defining genre of our age.  Artists like Tracy Emin and Gilbert & George specialise in self-portrayal, while Old and Modern Master exhibitions are routinely prefaced by self-portraits. Confessional self-portraiture, visual and verbal, proliferates on TV and online.

This course aims to put self-portraiture in its historical and cultural context.  Famous artists, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh,  will be seen in a fresh light, and less familiar but fascinating figures will be introduced.  We will explore the genre’s origins in antiquity, and especially the middle ages - obsessed by mirrors and self-scrutiny. We will move on to the Renaissance and Baroque periods, with the creation and publication of collections of self-portraits, and public interest in artists’ studios and processes.  In the later stages, we will see how the traditional tendency to create a ‘definitive’ self-portrait gave way to the creation of multiple ‘tracker’ self-portraits. During the last hundred years, we will investigate how the conventional emphasis on the head and shoulders is replaced by emphasis on the body and the use of masks.

We will visit The Courtauld Gallery and print room; the British Museum print room; the Royal Academy of Arts, and the National Portrait Gallery.

WEEK FOUR: 4 - 8 August 2014

Course 29: Dr Mehreen Chida-Razvi

Painting for the Emperor: The Creation of a Mughal Style


detail of a rurbaned head
Attributed to Abu'l Hasan, The Emperor Jahangir triumphing over Death, detail, c. 1620-5, watercolour, From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Tracing their lineage from both Ghengis Khan and Timur, the Mughal dynasty which ruled over most of South Asia from 1526 to 1857, created one of the most luxurious empires of their time. As an Islamic elite reigning over a local South Asian population, it was important for the Mughal emperors to create a strong visual identity to consolidate their rule. They invested in extensive patronage of the arts and the royal atelier produced magnificent paintings. This course will explore the creation of the distinctive Mughal style of painting, focusing on images produced for the emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. We will examine the impact of Persian, European and local South Asian painting on the Mughal style, as well as the importance of portraiture and naturalism in Mughal painting. In addition, we will investigate how the political and social circumstances of the time, the personalities of the emperors, and the introduction of Christian art to the realm affected the atelier's production. While focusing on works on paper, we will also explore the use of painting on a larger scale as architectural decoration. Visits will include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the British Library.