Animals in art - from medieval art to today

Course Dates: 21/09/21 - 12/10/21
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: Online
This course focuses on historical shifts in the depiction of animals from the late medieval period to the present, and on the contemporary representations of human-animal relations.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £60.00

This course has now finished

Course Code: VB595

Finished Tue, eve, 21 Sep - 12 Oct '21

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Animals have been object of artists’ curiosity since time immemorial. In the recent years, however, our understanding of animal sociality, and their use of tools and language has changed dramatically. The transformation of our knowledge through the studies of animal behaviour and cognition, popularised in mass media, has been so significant that characteristics traditionally attributed to humans have now been proven to also manifest themselves in the ‘animal kingdom’.

In this art history course we explore how artists have depicted animals and human-animal relations from the late medieval period to today, and how new scientific knowledge and new ways of thinking about animals have been taken up in contemporary art.

We will study the use of animals, both imaginary and real, as images, as dead objects, and even as living actors in the works of art. We will discuss the philosophical questions that these works generate.

We will examine the works of artists including Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, Adriaen van de Velde, Karel Dujardin, Paulus Potter, George Stubbs, Théodore Géricault, Henri Rousseau, Edvard Munch, Franz Marc, Umberto Boccioni, Natalia Goncharova, Max Ernst, Joseph Beuys, Rosemarie Trockel, Kiki Smith, Mark Dion, Patricia Piccinini, and Marcus Coates.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• The use of animals in painting, sculpture, video, and performance as/with/by animals from the late medieval period to the more recent art that questions humanity’s exceptional position in nature.
• A range of philosophical issues concerning the use of animals in art, and human-animal relations.
• How recent changes in our understanding of animals and their behaviour has transformed their use by artists.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• List at least three works of art where animals are represented, used or were central actors, and describe what roles these ‘nonhumans’ play.
• Evaluate the relevance of at least three examples of the contemporary artworks dealing with the topic of human-animal relations.
• Demonstrate improved visual analysis skills and an ability to situate the key works of art discussed in a broader cultural context.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, handouts and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught with slide presentations, group discussions, and short group exercises.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to bring a notebook.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might also be interested in:
VB840 Women in Modern and Contemporary Art
VB475 20th Century German Art.

Irina Chkhaidze

Irina Chkhaidze completed her PhD in Art History at University College London. Prior to this, she studied Liberal Arts and gained an MA in Humanities in Germany. Irina has published articles on contemporary art, theories of posthumanism and human-animal relations. She has taught gallery-based courses at UCL, covering 19th to 21st century art. Currently, Irina also lectures on philosophy and social theory at Leeds Beckett University, and teaches on Critical Studies programme at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.