Introductory & general art history courses

Introductory & General Art History Courses

Our introductory and general art history courses are foundational and designed to give students the skills they need to interpret art across time periods and cultures. These courses are about developing visual literacy, understanding major themes in the history of art and introducing how and why artists make art. Whether you are just starting out in art history or are well-versed in art knowledge, our introductory and general courses will help you develop techniques for visual analysis.

Online, classroom-based and gallery-based art history courses

Many of our courses are also offered online, giving you the freedom to study from anywhere you need to be. We also offer our classes in-person at our Central London location and at many galleries and museums in and around London. Use the Location filters on this page to choose your preferred delivery method. See our guide to online learning for more information about our live online courses.

Learn from expert tutors

At City Lit we are proud of the expertise of our tutors who are all professional art historians working actively in museums, galleries, research and writing, universities and auction houses. As experts in the field, they are able to provide you with the support and guidance you need to develop your art historical knowledge. As teachers they provide student-focused education, helping students achieve their art historical goals, both the personal and the professional.

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  1. Art history taster
    Course start date:  Mon 12 Sep 2022 (and 15 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Curious about art history? Join us for this taster session where we explore different ways into visual art and its histories, from the ancient to the contemporary.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  2. Lunchtime lecture: Peggy Guggenheim's Venice
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 14 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Join us for an introduction to one of the 20th century’s most important art collectors and why she chose Venice as the permanent home for her art collection. This is the inaugural course of City Lit Art History's 'Venice Season'.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £8.00 Concession £7.00
  3. Animals in art - from medieval art to today
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 20 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Irina Chkhaidze
    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.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  4. Friday lates: the Venice Biennale
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 23 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Explore the Venice Biennale, the oldest international contemporary art exhibition in the world. If you are curious to learn a brief history of the Biennale and discover highlights of this year’s event, join this Friday Late to find out more.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  5. Friday lates: the Bauhaus in London
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 7 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Julie Barlow
    The Staatliches Bauhaus opened its doors in Weimar, Germany in 1919. Fourteen years later it was shut down by the Nazis. Celebrate 100 years of Modernism in architecture and design and discover how Bauhaus style spread to London.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £19.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  6. Lunchtime lecture: the lure of Venice, art on the Grand Tour
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    What’s so inspiring about Venice? See the city through the art of Grand Tourists. Look at the atmosphere, light and myth of Venice through the art of Turner and his contemporaries.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £8.00 Concession £7.00
  7. Lunchtime lecture: Canaletto's Venice: serenity in the city
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 2 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Explore the drama of Canaletto’s paintings. Discover what his art tells us about social space and political power in ‘The Most Serene’ Republic of Venice.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £8.00 Concession £7.00
  8. Friday lates: art and alchemy: from the ancient to today
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 11 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Christopher Collier
    Delve into a magical world of hidden secrets and bizarre symbolism as we distil the heady mix that is art and alchemy; from early manuscripts and renaissance paintings, to the surrealists and contemporary art.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  9. Still life in the history of art: opulence and fragility
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 10 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Elizabeth Eyres
    Still-life paintings usually represent ordinary things, often small and arranged on an indoor surface, without human presence. Long regarded in western art as the lowliest subject or “genre”, one that only required technical skill rather than imagination, still lifes are now considered some of the most charming and best loved paintings and can contain intriguing meanings that repay close study.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £64.00
  10. Looking at sculpture
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 14 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Rachel Sanders
    Study sculptures from the Classical to the Post-Modern era, including work by Donatello, Bernini, Canova, Rodin, Picasso and Whiteread, considering styles, materials and techniques of works within social and cultural contexts.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £87.00 Concession £71.00
  11. Friday lates: unlocking installation art
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 20 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    What exactly is ‘Installation art’? What led artists to challenge the traditional media of painting, sculpture and drawing? Join this Friday Late to discover how Installation art is a discipline that both stokes debate and offers deep connections to everyday life and thought.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  12. National Gallery
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Fri 30 Sep 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Get to know the National Gallery. Discuss a differently themed group of paintings each week in front of the pictures. An opportunity to understand our national collection in greater depth.
    Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £155.00
    Rating:
    97% of 100
  13. Lunchtime lecture: Winter Sun: Nancy Holt's land art
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 8 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Join us for an introduction to the work of Nancy Holt, one of the foundational figures of the land art movement.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £8.00 Concession £7.00
  14. Velázquez, painter to the King
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 25 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mark Stuart-Smith
    Investigate the work of the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez, including enigmatic paintings such as Las Meninas (1656), and learn about how his art relates to his political role as court painter to Philip IV.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  15. Focus on: British printmaking in the late 19th and early 20th century
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 26 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Julia Musgrave
    Discover the work of the significant artist-printmakers who worked in Britain from the late 19th century through to the Interwar period: the printmaking processes they used, and the ways they variously responded to tradition and modernity.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

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