Introduction to art history

Course Dates: 04/10/19 - 06/12/19
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street

Have you always been interested in art and want to get more out of looking at art and exhibitions? Develop your interpretative skills by exploring at how art is made, read and exhibited.


What is the course about?

Art is the expression of the artist, but more importantly, it is the reflection of a time and place, a specific culture and the people it was made for. Studying art history gives us the tools to understand what an artist/artwork is saying and why. This course will empower your looking by bringing you closer to art and the visual culture that surrounds us.
During the course we will look at a wide range of images, time periods and cultures to explore broad questions like how an artwork is made, what is depicted and why and who gets to say what it means.
We will examine how historical context affects our reading of a work, the importance or not of the artist’s intention, the relationship of art to ideas and the role of the artist in society. There will also be a few visits to art museums and galleries to see how these spaces impact our understanding of art.
Please note: The course is not an historical survey of periods and styles. The course covers a wide range of art historical ideas, concepts and critical frameworks. There will be time for you to bring up points of interest that you wish to address.

What will we cover?

• What is art history? A brief history of its origins and terminology
• The different roles of the artist
• Art criticism, language and reading an artwork
• The context of display and how it affects our understanding of an artwork.

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

• Evaluate art more critically.
• Demonstrate an understanding of the range of contexts that affect the viewing experience.
• Participate in group discussions about art with more confidence.

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?

The course will be taught with a mixture of lecture with slide presentations, guided gallery visits, group discussion. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course.
Please note we are unable to guarantee stools for the gallery visits so you might have to stand and to walk between objects.

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

You might wish to bring a notebook. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.
Gallery entry is free.

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

You may like to take some of other courses in art history on offer.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 6 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Excellent course
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 18/12/2018)
The course is perfect for a beginner in the subject. It is extremely well taught and interesting. The tutor has a way of making you feel comfortable even when you think you don’t know anything! Recommended for those who have an interest in art and want to know more.
Course Rating
Review by Caroline / (Posted on 11/12/2018)
This particular course was very well balanced for both beginners and for those who wanted to refresh their knowledge. The Tutor was exceptional. I would definitely recommend this course to someone who wants to be able to 'read' paintings rather than just rushing by them in galleries. Most enjoyable.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 09/12/2018)
An excellent introduction into art history by an inspirational and well organised teacher. A very good experience.
Course Rating
Review by Mariette / (Posted on 06/12/2018)
This course is excellent for those with and without previous experience of art. It helps you to look at an artwork, ask questions and by the end of the course begin to unravel what the artist was trying to portray and how they had constructed the artwork. Excellent can’t recommend it highly enough
Course Rating
Review by Sue Arnold / (Posted on 06/12/2018)
Don't hesitate. I was a complete beginner but now have a better appreciation of paintings and can view them not only more critically but more sympathetically.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/12/2018)
Tutor Biographies
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.

Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: VB102

Full Fri, day, 04 Oct - 06 Dec '19

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

Full fee: £249.00
Senior fee: £199.00
Concession: £152.00

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.