Introduction to Art History 2017 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Introduction to Art History 2017

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Spring and Autumn School Courses 2017

Introduction to Art History


Spring and Autumn Schools 2017

Introduction to Art History 2017

This course will run twice in 2017.

Monday 27 – Thursday 30 March 2017 (This course is now FULL)

or Monday 11 – Thursday 14 September 2017 (This course is now FULL)

Dr Anne Puetz (The Courtauld) and Clare Richardson (Royal Museums Greenwich)


This intensive course has been devised for people who would like to develop their interest in works of art and the discipline of art history.  It is co-taught by an art historian and a conservator to give participants insight into art from different and complementary perspectives.  The course is open to everyone, including students from the age of 16.

A Critical Survey of Periods and ‘Isms’

We will take a close and critical look at the development of the various ‘periods’, ‘movements’ and ‘isms’ by which the history of Western art is conventionally structured, and at the alleged characteristics of the art they produced.

Looking at Art

Students will be introduced to some of the important conventions that governed the production of art in different historical periods and will examine how works of art are made.  We shall look at objects from The Courtauld collections in a range of media, to show how the techniques and artistic strategies used to create them affect not only their appearance but also their meanings.

Critical Reading

We will look at the discipline of art history: how writers on art have analysed artists’ work, and the changing criteria they have used to assess their creations.  We shall examine the different methodologies that have informed the writing about art to the present day through a study of selected key texts and through a close look at an iconic work from The Courtauld Gallery’s collection.

Interpreting Art

During the final day students will be introduced to the workings of public art galleries: not only how they collect and conserve works of art but also how they display and interpret them.

The course includes illustrated lectures and more informal sessions in front of works of art in The Courtauld Gallery and its Print Room and in The Courtauld Institute of Art’s conservation studios (please note that the Print Room and the conservation studios are not wheelchair accessible). It aims to initiate students in the practice of close looking and in the habit of critical reading and thinking about art.  We hope to stimulate debate and invite participants to ask questions and discuss ideas with the two course leaders and fellow students.  The group will be limited to a maximum of 32 participants; it will be subdivided into two groups with a maximum of 16 students for in situ sessions in the Gallery, Print Room and conservation studios.

Provisional course timings: Registration on the first day from 9.30 am; classes to 4.30 or 5pm.  10 am to 4.30 or 5pm on all other days.  There is a coffee/tea break in the morning and, if the group is at The Courtauld rather than out on a visit, another tea break in the afternoon.

For further information, please contact Dr Anne Puetz (Tues – Thurs) on +44 (0) 20 7848 2886 or

Dr Anne Puetz is responsible for the extensive programme of non-degree art history courses at The Courtauld. She is a scholar of late seventeenth- to early nineteenth-century British visual culture, with a particular interest in the graphic arts, and the co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art (RIHA Journal), ‘When Art History Meets Design History’ (March 2014). Anne was Research Curator of The Courtauld Gallery’s groundbreaking Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836 (2001) and has written on print collecting, the Royal Academy, artisanal design training, the Society of Arts, and on Hogarth and mid-eighteenth-century British design.

Clare Richardson is a paintings conservator whose research interests include painting techniques and pigment deterioration. She currently works at Royal Museums Greenwich as Head of Painting, Paper and Frames Conservation. Prior to this she worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum preparing works for the new European Galleries and working on Constable’s oil sketches, notably the six foot sketch of The Leaping Horse. She contributed to the exhibition catalogue of John Constable: Oil Sketches from the V&A and is working on the publication of her research on the painting techniques of Rubens 1609-12.



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