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