Art and power: from the Counter-Reformation to the Baroque

Course Dates: 11/11/21 - 16/12/21
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
Discover how artists documented and (many times) defined the political and religious revolutions of 17th century Europe. From Caravaggio to Velázquez, Rubens and Gentileschi we trace the artist’s cultural impact while also studying the development of artistic independence through readings on art theory and the art market.
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 £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00

This course has now started

Course Code: VB147

Full Thu, day, 11 Nov - 16 Dec '21

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 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?

This morning 6-session art history course traces the dramatic art and turbulent politics of the Baroque era (late 16th and 17th century in western Europe). We begin with the fall of the Catholic Church and chart the rise of the modern nation-state and the absolute monarchy, focusing on the artists who contributed to the political and philosophical dynamics of this era. We will also consider the emergence of the art market and how it strengthened the social influence of the artist. These developments are addressed thematically through the works of iconic, European masters such as Michelangelo, Veronese, Peter Paul Rubens, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Judith Leyster, Diego Velázquez and Artemisia Gentileschi.
The course includes writings by artists, philosophers and politicians to get a greater sense of the contemporary mindset that shaped the art of this period. From its themes and readings this course aims to build the student’s general, art historical skill set, which can then be applied across various periods and cultures.

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 Counter-Reformation: censorship, punishment and a new artistic doctrine, with emphasis on Michelangelo, Veronese and Caravaggio
• Patronage: who pays for the art and why that is so important
• The Art Market: the economic value and social worth of the artist’s work, with emphasis on Rubens and Rembrandt
• Art theory and the ‘philosophy of painting’, with emphasis on Diego Velázquez
• Artistic power: the political and cultural need for art and the artist.

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

• Discuss how the Counter-Reformation transforms visual art in Europe, using at least one artwork as evidence
• Explain the importance of a patron and at least two ways in which they impact the creation/reception of a work of art
• Identify compositional elements and/or iconography in art commissioned by the Catholic Church in the Baroque
• Discuss as least one of the major art theoretical concepts related to the art of western Europe in the 17th century.

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, hand-outs 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 online with slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally for download, not printed out for you.

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

You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.

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

You might also be interested in:
VB126: Art and identity: from the High Renaissance to the Reformation
VB148: Art and Empire: in the Early Modern Era
VB152: Art and Anxiety: from the Enlightenment to the Victorian age
VB862: Focus on: Michelangelo
VB857: Art and Science.

Sarah Jaffray

Sarah Jaffray received her BA and MA in Art History with an emphasis in French Modernism and a minor in the Italian Renaissance. She holds a second MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. Sarah was a lecturer for several colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area before relocating to London to be with her family. For the past three years she has worked as an educator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum and at Wellcome Collection. Her interests include Modernism, drawing, artistic process, collaboration, cultural theory, and the intersection of art and technology. She is currently researching the relationship of language and drawing.

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.