Velázquez, painter to the King
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: VB594
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), is regarded by many as the greatest painter in the history of Western art. In this short course we will look at the development of his art from the hard-edged realism of his earliest days in Seville to the almost breathable air of his later portraits and allegories. We will focus especially on later works, such as Las hilanderas (the spinners, around 1657) and Las Meninas, and consider some of the most compelling ways in which they have been interpreted. We will explore Velázquez’s artistic and political role as court painter at the centre of Philip IV’s Empire, and his imaginative hold over later painters including Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, and Francis Bacon.
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?
• The formal and technical development of Velázquez’s painting
• Interpreting Velázquez’s paintings
• Velázquez’s position and role in relation to 17th century Spanish society and politics.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Discuss three major works by Velázquez in terms of their composition and formal, technical values
• Summarise an interesting interpretation of three late paintings by Velázquez
• Identify the main characteristics of Velázquez’s art as seen by Édouard Manet.
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 as well as basic functions of Zoom, specifically microphone and camera.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught by lecture with slide images and you will be invited to participate in group discussion. There will be handouts provided by your tutor; these handouts will be available digitally via a Google Classroom. You will be invited to join the Google Classroom within a week of your course start date.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list provided.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might also be interested in:
Spanish Art 1900-1937: the age of Picasso, Miró and Dalí
The art and cinema of 20th century Spain: from Picasso to Almodóvar.
Mark Stuart-Smith gained his PhD in Art History at Birkbeck on silence in the work of the Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz, and is writing a book on Muñoz. He has a diploma in painting from the Royal Academy schools, a BA in Art History (Birkbeck), and a Masters in Cultural Memory (University of London). Mark’s main research interests are 20th-century Spanish art, and art and homelessness. He writes for the Journal Art History, and also teaches art at homeless day centres in London, including the Connection at St Martin’s.
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.