Insights Into Art History

Search for:

Insights Into Art History

Young People's Workshops


Insights into Art History is a series of FREE one-day workshops especially designed for 16-18 year olds to explore a wide variety of themes responding to The Courtauld Gallery collection. Each day has an exciting focus and a new subject to discover!

Please note: This year’s Insights Into Art History Workshops have now finished, and will begin again in September 2019. If you would like to receive news of the workshops, you can sign up for our Young People’s Newsletter here.

For any queries please contact Helen Higgins

This programme is funded by a Charitable Trust and is open to young people who attend non-selective state schools and colleges, whose parents or carers have not previously gone to university, and/or who currently receive Income Support or Tax Credits.

Art History Summer University 2019
Applications have now closed

Monday 1 July – Friday 5 July 2019

Art History Summer University is a free non-residential course designed for students interested in Art History, and thinking of applying to university. It offers a unique opportunity to experience university life at The Courtauld Institute of Art, a leading institute for the study of art history, conservation and curating in the UK and across the world.

Spend one week working closely with world-leading experts, gallery curators and museum professionals, as well as current undergraduate and post graduate students from The Courtauld!

• Attend taster lectures and seminars
• Access our world-renowned collections and learning resources
• Go on off-site visits to museums and galleries with specialist art historians and curators
• Collaborate on a collections-based research project on the theme of art and identity

Summer University is a great addition to your UCAS form and an invaluable taster of what the arts and humanities can offer you at higher education.

Previous Workshops

Insights Into Art History
Portraiture & Expressive Colour

Saturday 30 March 2019, 10.45am – 4.30pm

Saturday 30 March 2019, 10.45-16.30
Suitable for ages 16-18

Join art historian Francesca Herrick and contemporary artist Nadine Mahoney at our new Vernon Square Campus for an exciting one-day art history and practical workshop exploring colour, symbolism, and identity through portraiture.

Learn about historical and contemporary artists who have pioneered revolutionary approaches to using colour in portraiture. Consider the motivations behind their masterpieces and what symbolic roles colour can play.

Explore the various ways in which colour can help to convey a person’s mood and emotions. Remix and rework historical portraits with a creative collage activity.

Discover experimental watercolour portraits connected with The Courtauld Gallery Collection. Oil paints were portrait artists’ medium of choice for centuries, but what expressive advantages might the more subtle medium of watercolour hold?

Collaborate with artist Nadine Mahoney to find out how she colour in her own abstracted portraits. Take part in a hands-on practical using pigments to make your own watercolour paints and create your own expressive portrait.

Image credits:
Nadine Mahoney

Insights Into Art History
Drawing on Architecture: Somerset House

Saturday 9 March 2019, 10.45am – 4.30pm

Saturday 9th March 2019, 10.45-16.30
Suitable for Year 10 and above

Join art historian Francesca Herrick and artist Alexandra Blum for a one-day architectural history and drawing workshop exploring the architecture of Somerset House:

Learn about the design principles behind the most ambitious public building project of the 18th century. Why were architects obsessed with ancient Rome? Why did the project run massively over time and budget? What impact has Somerset House had on contemporary architecture?

Explore the grand spaces of Somerset House and the political ideas embodied in their decoration. We will be going behind-the-scenes to uncover social histories present in the different architectural layers, from stunning staircases to dark cellars.

Discover the Courtauld’s unique Conway Photographic Library collection and uncover rarely seen photographs and prints to trace the history of the Somerset House site back to Tudor times.

Collaborate with contemporary artist Alexandra Blum to find out how she uses drawing to explore London’s urban spaces and buildings. With exclusive access to the fascinating light wells in Somerset House, you’ll make drawings from direct observation of the surrounding layers of space and architecture. Plus, you’ll learn how to make movement through time and space visible in your drawings and experience how drawing can help you see more within the architecture you are surrounded by.

Image credits:
Somerset House Trust

Insights Into Art History
Colour: From Medieval to Contemporary

Tuesday 19 February 2019, 10.45am – 4.30pm

Free art history workshop! Suitable for Year 10 and above

MORNING – visit The Courtauld (Somerset House) & the National Gallery

Learn: about the science behind how we perceive and conceptualise colour. Join a university seminar-style session to trace important developments in how paints are made and the discoveries that led to a brighter palette. Hear about some unusual ingredients, from bugs and berries to dangerous chemicals.

Discover: some of the National Gallery’s masterpieces by artists known for their spectacular handling of colour. Tour the Medieval and Renaissance rooms to see how artists like Jacopo di Cione and Titian used the most expensive pigments available in order to breathe new life into ancient and biblical stories.

Explore: the social and cultural significance of colour. Consider what it meant to wear certain colours and what they could symbolise. Place paintings in context and understand why colour has sometimes been a controversial topic in the history of art.

AFTERNOON – visit Tate Modern (lunch and travel provided)

Learn: how the substance of colour changed in the mid-twentieth century with the inventions of new kinds of paints and artistic technologies.

Discover: Tate’s magnificent collection of Mark Rothko’s Four Seasons paintings and how this pioneer of colour field painting exemplifies the revolutionary effect of the new acrylic paints on abstract and pop artists in New York City.

Explore: how a younger generation of twentieth-century artists responded to colour, such as Ellsworth Kelly, Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley, and see how they further experimented with perception and a broad range of technologies, including lights, to create new visual experiences.

Jacopo di Cione and workshop, The San Pier Maggiore Altarpiece, 1370-71. Egg tempera on wood. National Gallery, London (detail)
Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne, 1520-3. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London (detail)
Mark Rothko, Light Red Over Black, 1957. Oil on canvas. Tate Modern, London (detail) © Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2018

Insights Into Art History
Art, Architecture: Women and Power

Saturday 19 January 2019, 10.45am – 4.30pm
in collaboration with the Queen’s House, Royal Museum’s Greenwich

Free art history and practical workshop! Suitable for Year 10 and above

Go behind the scenes and explore the rich architectural history of Somerset House with Courtauld art historian Francesca Herrick.

Take a free boat trip along the Thames and uncover the connections between Somerset House and the Queen’s House, Greenwich!

Collaborate with curators from the Queen’s House, Greenwich to find out how three powerful women forged their identities through art and architecture.

Discover the real face of Queen Elizabeth I through Mat Collishaw’s contemporary installation The Mask of Youth which responds to the iconic Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (1590) in a very 21st century way. We will analyse the portrait’s use of political propaganda and the extent to which female power is tied to concepts of youth and beauty.

Develop your visual analysis skills through a closer look at key works in the Queen’s House collection and work with artist Raksha Patel to experiment with new drawing techniques!

Left: The Courtauld Gallery and Courtauld Institute of Art at Somerset House, London
Middle: Amran, 2018. Courtesy of Bettina von Zwehl. Commissioned by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Right: The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, circa 1590, courtesy National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Autumn Effect at Argenteuil

Impressionism: Theory and Practice

Suitable for students in Year 10 and upwards

Tuesday 23 October 2018, 10:45 – 16:00

What is ‘Impressionism’? Collaborate with a Courtauld art historian to define ‘Impressionism’, challenge ‘isms’, and learn more about the artists involved in radically breaking the boundaries of modern art.

• Visit the remarkable Courtauld Impressionists exhibition at the National Gallery and develop your visual analysis skills with Courtauld art historian Helen Higgins

• Discover new experimental painting techniques exploring colour and form ‘en plein air’ with a contemporary artist.

• Create your own contemporary responses!

Van Gogh: Self Portraiture and Identity

Suitable for students in Year 10 and upwards

Thursday 25 October 2018, 10:45 – 16:00

• Discover the real story behind Van Gogh’s world famous Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear!

• Collaborate with a Courtauld curator, artist and art historian to explore the fascinating history of self-portraiture and identity

• Find out more about Van Gogh’s bold use of colour and sophisticated mark making

• Create your own self-portrait in just one day!

Study Skills Workshops

Our free Study Skills workshops are especially designed for 16-18 year olds who have attended previous Insights into Art History workshops and/or our Art History Summer University. Each workshop aims to develop research and study skills and offers an insight into a previously unexplored area of The Courtauld Insitute of Art.

You will:

  • Work with a specialist Art Historian to explore our archive and library collections
  • Take part in a behind the scenes tour of the Witt Library Collection
  • Uncover rare and unseen photographic material and carry out primary research
  • Hone your critical reading, primary research and presentation skills

Please note, priority will be given to students who are able to attend all four workshops

Critical Reading and Writing  

Wednesday 19 September 2018, 16.30 – 19.00

Suitable for students in Year 11 and upwards who have attended previous Insights into Art History workshops and/or our Art History Summer University.

Dr Katie Faulkner and Helen Higgins

Primary Research and Visual Analysis  

Wednesday 26 September 2018, 16.30 – 19.00

Suitable for students in Year 11 and upwards who have attended previous Insights into Art History workshops and/or our Art History Summer University.

Dr Katie Faulkner and Helen Higgins

Secondary Research and Study Skills  

Wednesday 03 October 2018, 16.30 – 19.00

Suitable for students in Year 11 and upwards who have attended previous Insights into Art History workshops and/or our Art History Summer University.

Dr Katie Faulkner and Helen Higgins

Research and Presentation Skills  

Wednesday 10 October 2018, 16.30 – 19.00

Suitable for students in Year 11 and upwards who have attended previous Insights into Art History workshops and/or our Art History Summer University.

Dr Katie Faulkner and Helen Higgins

Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close