Art history

Art History courses online and in London

Looking to build your confidence in discussing and interpreting art? Or are you interested in taking your established knowledge of art in new directions? Then come and join City Lit’s Art History learning community!

Our exceptional range of courses, both introductory and in-depth, are designed for all learning levels. Our programme approaches art history from a variety of perspectives including social and cultural context, art theory and philosophy, curation and collecting, general art appreciation and so much more.

Choosing the right class for you

Our courses are open to all. Our students come from all backgrounds and learning experiences, from the absolute beginner to those refining their knowledge and understanding. We aim to give you the confidence to engage meaningfully with art, whatever level you are working from. Our students use our courses for personal fulfilment as well as professional and educational development. Many of our students go on to advanced degree and certificate programmes and many are able to use their knowledge in art making and gallery work.

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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Courses available both in-person and online

We offer a range of courses allowing you to choose between online and in-person learning. All our courses are live, interactive, and taught by expert tutors. No matter how you prefer to learn, we've got the class for you. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

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  1. Focus on: Giotto
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 29 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Discover the life and work of Giotto, was one of the earliest artists to be written about within his lifetime, his genius held up as the ideal by Italian painting critics for the next five centuries.



    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:
    93% of 100
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. A stroll through British art: 1500-1850
    Course start date:  Wed 8 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Elizabeth Eyres
    On this informal gallery-based course you will explore and discuss the history and characteristics of British art from the 16th century to the mid-19th century. The course will take place offsite at both the National Gallery and Tate Britain.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  6. Purchasing power: patronage and art buying in the Italian Renaissance
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 12 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Lydia Goodson
    Discover the back-story of 'how art works come to be' by learning about the patronage and production of artworks in Renaissance Italy.



    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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Makers not muses: Claude Cahun, Eileen Agar and Isabel Rawsthorne
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 26 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Explore the work of three radical artists whose work and practice defied convention in modern art from the 1920s to 1960s. Discover how each artist challenged and transcended society’s expectations of being a ‘muse’ by living freely and making art in a variety of media, from painting and sculpture to collage, photography and performance.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £45.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  10. Visionary experiments: American art of the 1940s and 50s
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 5 May 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Explore American art during and just after World War II. From abstraction expressionism to social justice in photography and printmaking see how the US's unique context created the foundation for experimental and transgressive art.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £87.00 Concession £71.00
  11. Private portraits: painted miniatures in early modern Europe
    Course start date:  Fri 5 May 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Elizabeth Eyres
    Portrait miniatures are some of the most exquisite and beguiling likenesses ever produced. Their tiny scale and painstaking creation give them an intricacy, intimacy and sense of intrigue. These often reflect the circumstances in which they were gifted to their new owners by the person commissioning them, and both the images and their wider contexts repay our close study on this course.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £64.00
  12. Study trip: art highlights of Lisbon
    Course start date:  Fri 19 May 2023

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marie-Anne Mancio
    Join us to explore the art of the beautiful city of Lisbon, a magnet for artists in recent years and fast becoming gentrified. This three-day tour with an expert art historian takes you to its many artistic highlights from ancient to contemporary and includes day trips to Belem and the pretty seaside resort of Cascais. Max places: 14.
    Full fee £429.00 Senior fee £429.00 Concession £429.00
  13. Copies & copyists in antiquity: art, beauty and misunderstanding
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 8 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the often-overlooked world of ancient copies and copyists, how their work helped to save art treasures for the future and how it impacts on our modern perception of the Ancient World.



    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
  14. 'We're still here': new contemporary painting in the UK
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 9 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Living in a digital age, is contemporary painting ‘redundant'? This four week course explores how alive and kicking contemporary painting is in Britain. Discover how exciting, new UK-based artists use both experimental and traditional painting approaches to address issues of identity, history and personal experience.



    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  15. Space, time and class in the early 20th century: from Cubism to Constructivism
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 4 Jul 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Christopher Collier
    Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism were pivotal movements in the history of modern art – encapsulating all the promise and peril of the 20th century’s troubled birth. From striving for rewrite the rules of representation, to the total transformation society itself, these movements tore up artistic convention, helping reshape perceptions of space, time, and class in the process.



    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

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