Focus on: James McNeill Whistler
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: VB724
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
In this one-day course we explore the life and work of James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). An American artist in London, he was a leading proponent of the idea of "art for art's sake". He signed his paintings with stylized monogram of a butterfly with a long stinger for a tail – as much a symbol of his love of Japanese art as his assertive and sometimes combative nature. Having lived and worked with the Paris avant-garde he settled in London in 1859 having created a distinctive post-impressionist style at a time when many of his British contemporaries had yet to come to terms with Impressionism. Inspired, influential, and infuriating, his art was full of subtle delicacy, he had a wide social network of friends and family and yet, if crossed could be a formidable opponent. Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time through his artistic theories and his cross-channel friendships with leading artists and writers. His ideas and work encompass painting, printmaking, writing, curation and the decorative arts.
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.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
• Whistler’s career and his engagement with the French and British avant-garde
• Key paintings and the development of his style
• The art world in which Whistler worked: artistic and social networks, patrons and societies
• The 10 o’clock Lecture, "art for art's sake", and Whistler’s aesthetic influence on his contemporaries
• The libel suit against John Ruskin and its aftermath
• The Peacock Room
• Whistler as a printmaker.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Give three examples of Whistler’s influence on his contemporaries and the artists that came after him
• Discuss the influence of Asian art on Whistler's style, giving examples
• Discuss Whistler’s commitment to "art for art's sake" examples of works that demonstrate this.
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 bring a notebook. 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:
VB242 / VB580 - The influence of Japan on Western art in the 19th century.
Julia Musgrave got her first degree in Chemical Engineering and went on become a Chartered Information Systems Engineer and IT project manager. In 2008 she decided that life was too short for just one career and decided to become an art historian. She has a Graduate Diploma in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art and an MLitt in ‘Art, Style and Design: Renaissance to Modernism, c.1450 – c.1930’ from the University of Glasgow. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. at the University of York where she is researching the development of the Contemporary Art Society from 1910 to 1937. She is Art History course co-ordinator at City Lit, Co-Director of the London Art Salon and an accredited Arts Society lecturer.
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.