What is the course about?
The oldest public art gallery in England, the Dulwich Picture Gallery opened its doors in 1817 in a purpose-built building designed by Sir John Soane, architect of the Bank of England. The collection has over 650 works of art from the seventeen and eighteenth century including Old Masters such as Rubens, Van Dyck, Velazquez, Canaletto, Rembrandt and Poussin.
The core of the Dulwich collection was put together by two London art dealers Sir Francis Bourgeois (1753-1811) and his business partner, Frenchman Noël Desenfans (1744-1807). Their collection – the core of current holdings ¿ took them five years to assemble and represents a microcosm of Old Master collecting at the end of the eighteenth century. Their contribution resulted in another unusual feature: Dulwich has its own mausoleum¿ Bourgeois and Desenfans are buried there.
In this afternoon course we explore the history of the collection and examine some of its finest artworks.
There will be an introduction to the current temporary exhibition ‘Rembrandt’s Light’ at the end of our session after which you will be free to explore the show in your own time.
What will we cover?
• The architecture of the Dulwich Picture gallery
• Highlights from the collection
• The history of the collection
• An introduction to the temporary exhibition ‘Rembrandt’s Light’.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Sir John Soane’s design for the gallery
- Describe 3 key works from the collection
- Discuss how the Dulwich collection reflects late eighteenth-century art collecting.
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 guided gallery visit and group discussion. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course.
Please note we are unable to guarantee stools in the rooms that we visit 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. Temporary exhibition entry is included.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might also be interested in:
• VB144 / VB884 - London's smaller art collections
• VB624 - London's smaller galleries: Apsley House
• VB884 - London's smaller galleries: Leighton House
• VB803 - A grand day out: the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
• VB805 - A grand day out: Ashmolean and Christchurch Picture Gallery.