Friday lates: art and alchemy: from the ancient to today
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: VB546
Duration: 1 session
What is the course about?
Prize open almost any alchemical tome and you’ll at once be dazzled by a magical mishmash of enigmatic and outlandish imagery. But just who were the artists creating these cryptic visions? And what were they trying to convey?
In this Friday evening talk, take a whistle-stop tour through the history of art and alchemy, from ancient Byzantine manuscripts and medieval scrolls, through early modern engravings and satirical Renaissance portrayals. We’ll examine how artists have flirted with these occulted activities, from the visionary Romanticism of Blake and Runge, to Surrealists Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst, right up to Contemporary Artists such as Faith Wilding and Anish Kapoor.
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?
• Early alchemical illustrations, such as the Byzantine Codex Marcianus Graecus and the Ripley Scrolls.
• Depictions of alchemy in early modern engravings, Dutch genre paintings and the Renaissance, for example by Pieter Bruegel and Johan Moreelse.
• The alchemical colour theory of Goethe and the Romantic alchemy of William Blake and Philipp Otto Runge.
• Alchemy in the 20th Century, from Surrealists such as Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst, to the likes of Yves Klein and Joseph Beuys.
• Alchemy and Contemporary Art.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Identify key artists who engaged with alchemy in their work
• Describe alchemical principles that found their way into how artists work with colour.
• Discuss how artists have tried to update alchemical imagery for the modern age.
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.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You might wish to buy a notebook. You might wish to buy some of the books mentioned in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Our Friday Lates series runs in the autumn and spring terms - search 'Friday lates' to find more….
Christopher Collier trained as an artist, before gaining an MA in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths and a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex. He has taught at institutions including the University of Essex, Cambridge School of Art, and Winchester School of Art, as well as presenting internationally at a range of workshops and conferences, including at the ICA, London and CCA, Glasgow. His broad range of interests includes the intersections of art and the more-than-human world, along with art's relations to wider political economy and cultural theory. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
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.