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. 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
  2. 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
  3. National Gallery
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Mon 23 Jan 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    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
  4. The rise and fall of the Italian Renaissance
    Course start date:  Mon 23 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    When, where and what was the Italian Renaissance? Explore it through the craft of its masters such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, Titian and others and trace its legacy.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £219.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  5. 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
  6. Friday lates: designs of India at the V&A
    Evening
    Course start date:  Fri 24 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Anita Chowdry
    Explore the treasures of the V&A Nehru Gallery and its painting and the decorative arts from India between the 16th and 19th centuries.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Focus on: David Hockney
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 5 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Julie Barlow
    In 2011 David Hockney was voted most influential British artist of all time in a poll of over 1000 artists. Explore how Hockney’s career as painter, photographer and writer has evolved over six decades.



    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  10. Animals in Renaissance art
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 6 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Lydia Goodson
    Beasts are everywhere in the art of the Renaissance. Discover why they are there and how artists created the painted and sculpted menageries of both real and imaginary creatures that populate Renaissance art.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
  11. Lunchtime lecture: rethinking Mary Cassatt
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 9 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Join us for an exploration of the art of Mary Cassatt: feminist, independent, painter of women in the world.



    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
  12. Friday lates: Paula Rego – fairy tales and forbidden things
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 10 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Discover the work of one of Britain’s best loved artists, whose paintings of vivid interior and private drama draw on her early years growing up in Portugal under the repressive Catholic dictatorship of General Salazar.



    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
  13. Focus on: Vermeer
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Master of stillness and light, author of only 35, maybe 36, known works, Vermeer’s art continues to fascinate. Discover his life and works in the context of the Dutch Golden Age.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  14. Focus on: iconography
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 26 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Ever wondered whether there’s a hidden meaning behind paintings? Discover why there are signs and symbols in paintings and how to find and interpret their meanings in medieval and Renaissance art.



    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  15. Islamic art in 25 objects
    Course start date:  Wed 26 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Anita Chowdry
    Discover important objects of Islamic Art dating across a more than a millennium in London galleries. We will study world-famous objects, discover lesser known gems, study their context and understand how they relate to one another and the wider world.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £87.00 Concession £71.00

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