Course 25: Dr Eileen Rubery

Queen of Heaven and Humble Servant: The Image of Mary from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance

£455

NEW COURSE

This course is now FULL

In the Bible, Mary, the Mother of God, almost disappears from view after the nativity.  In art, however, from the medieval period, her image proliferated.  She was depicted by artists major and minor, and in all media, more frequently even than the adult Christ and her imagery powerfully influenced the representation of secular women, too.  Our course explores how Mary became the archetypal cult figure, and how differently the enthusiasm for her was expressed by men and women, priests and laity, rulers and ordinary people.  We will investigate the differences in the perception of  Mary in Byzantium, Syria, Egypt, and in the West, and at different times. We will compare her with other powerful women, from pagan mythology, from the Bible and from history. Many different image types will be explored in the context of relevant Church writings - from Mary, Queen of Heaven to Mary, Madonna of Mercy. Some of the most memorable representations of women produced in art are of Mary, and through them we will assess the multitude of ways people viewed both her and the role of women in society more widely.  Visits will include the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.



Course 26: Dr Geoffrey  Nuttall

Lucca and the Courts of Europe, 1350-1450: Merchants of Luxury and Patrons of Art

£455

NEW COURSE


The sumptuous garments worn by the rulers of Europe in innumerable manuscript illustrations and paintings are representations of the fabulous silks manufactured and supplied to them by merchants from the small Tuscan city of Lucca.  These fabulously wealthy men, who were unique in being not only consumers, but also producers of luxury goods, provided kings, popes and princes not only with gorgeous robes but with every imaginable luxury, from pearls to tapestries.  On their own behalf, they commissioned some of the most famous yet enigmatic masterpieces of early Renaissance art; Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Double Portrait, Gentile da Fabriano's Adoration of the Magi, and Jacopo della Quercia's Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto.  

This course explores the art of Lucchese silk and the cosmopolitan patronage of the international merchants who controlled the industry.  We will look at their contacts with the great courts of France, Burgundy and England, and explore how the Lucchese networks promoted artistic exchange between Italy and Northern Europe.  Visits will include the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Courtauld Gallery.



Course 27: Dr Michael Douglas-Scott

Might and Munificence: Court Patronage in Renaissance Ferrara, Mantua, Rimini and Urbino

£455

NEW COURSE

This course is now FULL


During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, some of the most sophisticated courts of Europe were concentrated in a few small towns in north-eastern Italy. The most significant were at Ferrara, Mantua, Rimini and Urbino, each dominated by a ruling dynasty, respectively the Este, Gonzaga, Malatesta and Montefeltro. From these families emerged some of the most magnificent patrons of the Renaissance in the visual arts, music, literature and humanist learning: Isabella d’Este and her brother Alfonso, Lodovico Gonzaga and his pleasure-loving descendent Federico, Sigismondo Malatesta and his arch-rival Federico of Montefeltro. Their reputations have been immortalized by Piero della Francesca, Andrea Mantegna, Leonbattista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian. How did these rulers attract such major figures to work for them? What motivated them to spend so much on the arts? How could they compete with much larger, more powerful, and richer states in the patronage of sophisticated culture? How did their refined taste come to be adopted elsewhere in Italy and then influence much of European culture? There will be visits to the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Library and the British Museum to examine first-hand some of the finest products of these splendid courts.

 



Course 28: Dr Lucy Jessop

A Vision of a New City: Architecture in London, 1660-1715

£455

In 1661, John Evelyn described London as having a ‘Congestion of misshapen and extravagant Houses’, set in a labyrinth of narrow and busy streets, full of smoke and smell. It was not what Charles II and his court were used to, returning to London after many years of foreign exile, nor was it what his people, released from the traumas of the Civil War and the strictness of the Commonwealth, demanded. This course will examine many of the projects for making London and its environs a suitable residence for the restored Stuart monarchy, for rebuilding and developing the Cities of London and Westminster, and for creating religious and public buildings which responded to the dominant issues of the age. These projects were mostly overseen by the vision of one man, Sir Christopher Wren, with the assistance of several close colleagues, including Robert Hooke and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Through contemporary texts, drawings and visits, this course will look at some of London’s best-loved buildings - possible visits include Hampton Court Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, some of the City Churches, and the former Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich.



 

Course 29: Dr Mehreen Chida-Razvi

Painting for the Emperor: The Creation of a Mughal Style

£455

detail of turbaned 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.

 


Course 30: Dr Caroline Levitt

Picasso and Matisse: Approaches to Modernism

£455

NEW COURSE


This course is now FULL

Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse are two of the best known names in the history of twentieth-century art. This course will begin by asking why this might be the case and by thinking about what their different approaches can tell us about the nature and characteristics of ‘modern’ art or ‘modernism’. Through looking at their work, we will approach themes such as form and colour, the ‘primitive’ and the ‘exotic’, the sacred and the classical, genre and gender, and the decorative. We will think about the role of critics, collectors and dealers in the period and will challenge and test critical tools such as chronology, biography and artists’ statements. In discovering overlaps and contradictions in the work of these two so-called ‘modern masters’, we will aim to better understand their work in a variety of media (from sculpture and painting to illustration, ceramics and stained glass) within the context of the various ‘modern’ art movements and artists they engaged with or shunned. Visits will include Tate Modern’s major Matisse retrospective, the permanent collections at Tate and the print room at the British Museum. 

 

 


Course 31: Dr Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski

From Pollock to Pop: American Art c. 1930-1972

£455

detail of giant spider sculpture at dusk
Louise Bourgeois, Maman, outside the National Gallery of Canada, 2005, photo @ Radagast

This is a survey of major artistic developments in the United States from the first beginnings of Modernism to the early 1970s, when Modernist practice began to be questioned. The shift from medium-specific to medium-resistant practices (site-specific work, conceptual art) is a central concern. Throughout, we will consider artistic production in relation to larger patterns of historical and cultural change. We will explore the ‘Ashcan School’ and the seminal Armory Show; Precisionism in the context of the 1920s economic boom and of European avant-gardes; Regionalist painters and the impact of the Great Depression; and the development of Abstract Expressionism (and Pop Art’s reaction to it) in the context of Surrealism and the influence of Marcel Duchamp. We will look at figures like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as at less readily defined artists like Louise Bourgeois and Joseph Cornell. Minimalist, post-minimalist and conceptual art will be studied in the context of the civil rights movement, feminism and gay rights. Works by Eva Hesse and Robert Morris and the architectural interventions by Gordon Matta-Clark will be examined in light of the political and economic questioning of the art establishment. Visits include Tate Modern and the British Museum’s Print room.

 


Course 32: Janine Catalano

From Still-Life to Eat-Art: Food as Subject and Medium in Modern and Contemporary Art

£455

NEW COURSE

detail of fruit on a plate and primrose pot from still-life by Cezanne
Paul Cézanne, Pot of Primroses and Fruit, 1888-1890 © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Food and consumption have always featured in art.  And, like so many other subjects, from the female figure to religious imagery, its familiarity has made it a theme ripe for exploration and exploitation by various artistic innovators from the late nineteenth century onwards.  Indeed, when in 1947 Picasso declared, ‘It is not necessary to paint a man with a gun; an apple can be equally revolutionary’, he captured the potency artists found in embracing and often upending these basic staples of daily life.

This course critically examines major artistic movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through this lens.  Beginning with the Cubist fracturing of fruit, the unpalatable ‘formulas’ in the Futurist Cookbook, and the subversive scenes of the Surrealists, we will then explore Fluxist productions, Pop Art iconography, the Eat-Art movement, and feminist art.  We will discuss food as subject and also as medium, particularly in contemporary performance and installation art, and explore the viewers’ role both in art making and art consumption in this context.

Artists discussed will include canonical figures like Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, Roy Lichtenstein and Damien Hirst, food-art pioneers such as Daniel Spoerri and Gordon Matta-Clark, and cutting-edge innovators like Jennifer Rubell and Rirkrit Tiravanija.