Study Tours 2018 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Study Tours 2018

Search for:

Study Tours 2018


Art history short courses, lectures and tours

Study Tours 2018


For further details please contact us on:

+44 (0)20 3 9477 650

Short Courses
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House
London WC2R 0RN

You can also stay in touch with us on The Courtauld Gallery and Institute Facebook pages, and also on Twitter @CourtauldGall and @CourtauldNews using the hashtag #AHShortCourses.

Our Study Tours offer the opportunity to spend time with an expert art historian and like-minded enthusiasts looking at works of art and architecture in their original settings. In their choices of themes and locations, the tours derive directly from our tutors’ current research interests, and they take in relevant exhibitions in situ or incorporate sites and monuments off the beaten track and sometimes those not usually accessible to the public. In 2018, we offer explorations of

• French and Francophile avant-garde art (the Paris and Nice tours)
• medieval art and architecture (Burgundy and British Gothic)
• the work of Tintoretto, a towering figure of sixteenth-century art (Venice)
• the enchanting combination of global Islamic treasures and Scandinavian setting (Copenhagen)
• the cultural impact of trendsetting world cities (New York, Berlin, Paris) and
• the riches of Renaissance Tuscany (Lucca, Florence). The Tuscan tours are moreover timed in such a way that those who wish can explore Lucca and nearby Florence in direct succession.

Our tutors provide first-rate scholarly content and an in-depth familiarity with their chosen destinations, while our small group sizes foster a climate of friendly sociability and intellectual exchange. Learning about the wider historical background to a particular artistic theme is not always easy in busy, often urban, surroundings and we have therefore added an element of contextualisation to our 2018 tours. This may take the form of relevant preliminary reading material on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), of a short seminar or Gallery visit at The Courtauld, or, where possible, of a class-room session at a tour’s main destination. It may be possible to film the Courtauld seminars for the VLE, for those who cannot come to the Institute in person.

All tours start in the morning of the first day, usually between 9 and 10 am, and end by around 4 pm on the final day.  It is therefore advised that you arrive on the day before the tour starts.

Tour fees remain as they were last year: £275 for two-day tours, £410 for three-day tours and £545 for four-day tours. The new, five-day tour to New York and Philadelphia is a little more expensive pro-rata per day, in order to offset the considerably higher entrance fees to museums and galleries in the United States, and the return journeys to Philadelphia and one other destination outside the city of New York.

The tour fee includes tuition, entry to all museum and sites, and transport (by train or where necessary, by coach) between destinations in the case of tours that visit more than one town or city. It does not include travel to and from the city/main destination of the tour, or accommodation: students are free to make their own arrangements. Study Tours are limited to a maximum of 12 students. All Study Tours include a good deal of walking and require a reasonable degree of physical fitness and mobility. Please contact us if you have any doubts over your suitability to take part in any of the tours.

Finished: Paris and the Russian Avant-Garde
Tuesday 27 – Wednesday 28 March 2018
Dr Natalia Murray

Inspired by the acclaimed recent exhibition Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection at the Louise Vuitton Foundation, this study trip will explore the fascinating interplay that existed between French and Russian art in the first two decades of the twentieth century. The variety of ways in which so many Russian artists, both men and women, succeeded in fusing French avant-garde tendencies with the extraordinary wealth of their own cultural heritage resulted in a wonderful flowering which significantly influenced the course of modern art. During our trip we will examine the influence of the French avant-garde on Russian artists who fell under its spell at home or in Paris, where they worked alongside each other in the famous artists’ residence in Montparnasse, ‘La Ruche’, or where they studied at the Académie Julian or at Marie Vassilieff’s Russian Art Academy. The highlights of our trip will include a guided tour by the grandson of Sergei Shchukin, André-Marc Delocque-Fourcaud, a visit to the Opéra Garnier to see Chagall’s magnificent ceiling and a curator’s talk at the exhibition dedicated to Chagall and Malevich which will open at the Pompidou Centre on 28 March 2018.  

Dr Natalia Murray is an alumna of the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg and of the Hermitage Museum (PhD) and obtained another PhD from The Courtauld, where she is Associate Lecturer in modern Russian art.  Natalia also lectures at the National Art Fund, is Head of education at GRAD (Gallery for Russian Art and Design) and curates international exhibitions of Russian art, most recently Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 at the Royal Academy in London.  She is the author of The Unsung Hero of the Russian Avant-Garde: The Life and Times of Nikolay Punini (2012) and is working on a new book on post-revolutionary festivals in Petrograd (forthcoming 2018).


Finished: Venice: In Search of Tintoretto
Thursday 19 – Sunday 22 April 2018
Dr Michael Douglas-Scott

Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-94) spent all his life in Venice and his achievement is best appreciated there. Most of his major paintings are still located in his native city. Despite being ejected when young from Titian’s workshop, he rose to fame and fortune through guile, energy and genius. His breakthrough painting, The Miracle of the Slave of 1548, now in the Accademia Gallery, placed him centre-stage among the Venetian painters of his age. In this study trip, we will consider in depth not just his overwhelming masterpiece at the Scuola Grande of San Rocco but also his work for the much smaller confraternities of the Holy Sacrament in hidden-away parish churches. We will also study his great canvases in the suburban church of the Madonna dell’Orto, where he is buried, and look at his house nearby. By the end of his career Tintoretto had come to rival even Veronese in assuming Titian’s place as chief painter of the city and of the state. By looking at Tintoretto in his Venetian context, a richer picture of this great artist will be provided than can be obtained from the major picture galleries of Europe.

Dr Michael Douglas-Scott is an Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck (University of London), and specialises in Italian painting and patronage.  He has lectured extensively on the Italian Renaissance.  He lived in Italy for many years and has published articles in Arte Veneta, The Burlington Magazine, and the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes.

Finished: Lucca at the Dawn of the Renaissance
Tuesday 15 – Thursday 17 May 2018
Dr Geoff Nuttall

For over 250 years, merchants from the small Tuscan city of Lucca dominated the production and sale of the luxury silks so coveted by the ruling houses of Europe. Their wealth made Lucca one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and it remains one of the best preserved (and pedestrian friendly). This tour focuses on their artistic legacy and innovative patronage, including masterpieces by the great Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia, the wonderful cathedral of Saint Martin, the monumental palaces of the Guinigi, the treasure house that is the church of San Frediano, and the impressive collections of the Museo Nazionale and the Opera del Duomo. We will also visit the nearby Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, Lucca’s cultural and political rival. In studying the history of the city and its art, we will consider how Lucca’s relationship with Pisa and other Tuscan cities, and its merchants’ wide cultural horizons influenced its sophisticated patronage. We will question established art historical labels, such as ‘International Gothic’ and ‘Renaissance’, traditional histories of art with their Florentine-centric approaches, and look at the relationship between artistic centres and peripheries with fresh eyes.

Dr Geoffrey Nuttall is Associate Lecturer at The Courtauld, teaches at the Victoria and Albert Museum and is an experienced study tour leader.  His doctorate from The Courtauld investigated Lucchese patronage across Europe between 1370 and 1430.  He has published articles and book chapters about Lucca and is currently preparing his thesis for publication. He has been a fellow at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California and a scholar in residence at the Dutch Institute in Florence (2017).

Finished: The Florentine Home
Friday 18 – Sunday 20 May 2018
Dr Scott Nethersole

The domestic arts of Renaissance Florence have fascinated scholars and collectors ever since the birth of art history as a modern discipline in nineteenth-century Germany. Collectors were drawn to the customs, and often the costumes, that they could see in panels cut out of wedding chests, while scholars have found the objects associated with rituals around birth and marriage engaging, both aesthetically and sociologically. This study trip will explore the smaller museums and collections of Florence, examining the buildings for which these objects were created, as well as paying attention to the revival of interest in them in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will discuss and analyse the ‘museumification’ of the Florentine home from the seventeenth-century decoration of the casa Buonarroti to the creation of the Horne Museum and of Palazzo Davanzati in the twentieth century. As the home was integrated into the urban fabric of the city, we will also study its relationship to local parish churches, family chapels and the festival culture of Florence. Visits are planned to the Museo Bardini and the Casa Martelli, among many other sites.

Dr Scott Nethersole is Senior Lecturer in Italian Renaissance Art at The Courtauld, where he obtained his PhD and where he has lectured since 2010.  He curated the exhibition Devotion by Design; Italian Altarpieces before 1500 at the National Gallery in 2011.  Scott’s book Art and Violence in Early Renaissance Florence will be published by Yale University Press in June 2018. His research interests have focused on the style and materials of sculpture, and on art destined for the home, in the Renaissance as well as in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

Finished: The Figural Tradition in Islamic Art: Treasures of The David Collection in Copenhagen
Thursday 5 – Saturday 7 July 2018
Dr Sussan Babaie

Denmark’s beautiful capital Copenhagen has one of the world’s best collections of Islamic arts, the C.L. David Foundation and Collection.
Its core objects were acquired by the prominent lawyer Christian Ludvig David and made accessible to the public from 1948. Since the 1960s, many significant additions were made to the Islamic collections, which now span the period from the 7th to the 19th centuries and offer a comprehensive representation of the arts of the entire classical Islamic world, from Spain to the Indian sub-continent. Under one roof, the collection enables the close study of all relevant artistic media, from ceramics to textiles, painted miniatures and metalwork. Having first attempted a definition of what we mean by the term ‘Islamic arts’, and having introduced important aspects such as the significance of the Quran, the cultures of the book (including painted manuscripts), and the production of luxury objects for urban and courtly elites, we will focus in detail on the important, and often misunderstood, tradition of figural representation in Islamic arts, which will be discussed in its cultural contexts, whether religious or secular. This tour runs in collaboration with the David Collection and we would like to acknowledge their generosity in making the collections and a seminar room available to us.

N.B. This is a two-day tour over three days, for logistical reasons to do with connections between Copenhagen and London.  We will meet at 10 am on 5 July and end at 1 pm on that day, giving you free time to explore the David Collections and/or Copenhagen and its landmarks more widely.  The group will meet again in the evening for dinner.  On 6 July, class will start at 10.15 am and last until 5 pm and on 7 July, the tour will end at 1 pm to allow students to return to the UK in the afternoon, if they so wish.

Dr Sussan Babaie is Reader in the Arts of Iran and Islam at The Courtauld. She has taught widely including at the University of Michigan and the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. She is the author of Persian Kingship and Architecture: Strategies of Power in Iran from the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis (2014), Shirin Neshat (2013), Isfahan and Its Palaces: Statecraft, Shi‘ism and the Architecture of Conviviality in Early Modern Iran (2008), Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran (2004), Persian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1989), and of numerous articles.


Finished: Glorious Gothic: Salisbury, Wells and Glastonbury
Thursday 19 – Friday 20 July 2018
Dr Tom Nickson

Rising majestically above green meadows, Salisbury cathedral offers a perfect vision of the English pastoral. No wonder it so fascinated Constable, Turner and Golding. Begun in 1220, it was conceived as an architectural assertion of the order and renewal of the Church, the epitome of the ‘Early English’ gothic style celebrated by Nikolaus Pevsner, and crowned by a magnificent tower and spire. Located in spectacular countryside fifty miles west of Salisbury, Wells cathedral is by comparison messy, charming, and full of surprises: to visit on a summer’s day and mount the steps to its chapter house is to experience the sublime. The great west façade, almost exactly contemporary with Salisbury’s, teems with medieval sculpture, and in the Middle Ages was brought to life by the singing of choristers concealed within. Meanwhile the remarkable Lady Chapel at Wells’ east end is bathed in coloured light from the fourteenth-century stained glass windows that assert its status as the Virgin’s special ‘palace’. The trip also includes a visit to nearby Glastonbury Abbey, in the shadow of the famous Tor. Partly destroyed at the Reformation, its Lady Chapel nonetheless is powerfully evocative of Glastonbury’s vast riches and mythical origins.

Dr Tom Nickson studied at Cambridge and The Courtauld and taught at the University of York before returning to The Courtauld as a lecturer in medieval art and architecture in 2012.  Tom teaches widely and has led numerous trips for The Courtauld and for Martin Randall Travel.  He has published extensively on gothic and Islamic art and architecture in medieval Spain, but retains a strong interest in gothic England, and is closely involved in the forthcoming exhibition on Thomas Becket at the British Museum in 2020.

Finished: In Search of a Nation: Art in Berlin
Wednesday 25 – Friday 27 July 2018
Dr Matthias Vollmer

The German capital Berlin possesses extraordinarily rich and varied collections of art and antiquities. This Study tour offers an opportunity to sample many of the outstanding works in Berlin, ranging from the late middle ages to the present day. Moreover, we will discuss how the collection and display of these works were employed to foster a sense of a national cultural identity and how questions of a peculiarly ‘German’ style and artistic expression were intimately connected to the formation of the German nation state in the nineteenth century and to its development in the twentieth century and beyond. We will explore the question of the ‘Germanness’ of German art throughout the centuries by paying close attention to works by Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich and Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Adolph Menzel and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer, among others. In the course of our tour, we will visit the Gemäldegalerie, Bodemuseum, Nationalgalerie, Altes and Neues Museum and Hamburger Bahnhof Museum.

Dr Matthias Vollmer is Adjunct Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Programme.  He studied History of Art, Philosophy and Orientalism at the Freie Universität Berlin and wrote his PhD thesis on medieval book illustration. Matthias teaches interdisciplinary seminars on medieval and Renaissance art, as well as courses on modern art at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Universität der Künste Berlin and the Universität Münster.  He currently researches the principles of visualisation in art and science.


Finished: Dijon and Beaune: High Culture of the Middle Ages
Thursday 30 August – Saturday 1 September 2018
Dr Matthias Vollmer

Famous for its wines, its cuisine and its landscape, Burgundy also produced some of the foremost works of art of the Middle Ages. This tour explores the cultural achievements of the Duchy of Burgundy during its Golden Age from 1364-1477, when it was a territorially extensive and powerful player on the European stage. Philip the Bold’s marriage to Margaret of Flanders was the first of several strategic unions through which the Duchy acquired territories in the Low Countries and with them the immense wealth that paid for its magnificent court culture. Based in the capital Dijon we will explore the treasures of the Musée des Beaux Arts, splendidly housed in the former ducal palace, and of the Musée Archéologique, along with the Church of Notre Dame and the former Benedictine monastery of Saint-Bénigne. The duchy’s considerable patronage of the arts particularly benefited masters from the Low Countries, such as the sculptor Claus Sluter, whose exquisite tomb of Philip the Bold we will visit in the Ducal Palace, and whose Well of Moses stands in the former Chartreuse de Champmol. In nearby Beaune, we will examine Rogier van der Weyden’s altarpiece for the famous Hospices. We will pay attention throughout to the Duchy’s history, its implication in the Hundred Years’ War and its role in the rise and fall of Joan of Arc.

Dr Matthias Vollmer is Adjunct Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Programme.  He studied History of Art, Philosophy and Orientalism at the Freie Universität Berlin and wrote his PhD thesis on medieval book illustration. Matthias teaches interdisciplinary seminars on medieval and Renaissance art, as well as courses on modern art at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Universität der Künste Berlin and the Universität Münster.  He currently researches the principles of visualisation in art and science.

Finished: 9. Under the Sun: Modern Artists on the French Riviera
Thursday 13 – Saturday 15 September 2018
Dr Caroline Levitt

The French Riviera was a particularly fertile region for artists at the start of the twentieth century. Matisse and Chagall, Picasso, Braque and Le Corbusier lived in and around Nice, and the Côte d’Azur bears testament to their productive creativity. On this three-day study tour, we will think about the ways in which artists found particular freedom for their artistic practice in this region, and will focus on the development of their ideas and techniques beyond painting and sculpture to incorporate architecture, mosaics, stained glass, ceramics and frescos. An intriguing side-theme will emerge: that of artists involved in designing and decorating chapels in the years following the Second World War. Visits will include the museums dedicated to Matisse and Chagall in Nice and to Picasso in Antibes; chapels decorated by Matisse and Picasso in Vence and Vallauris; the remarkable Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence; and ‘Cap Moderne’ at Roquebrune Cap-Martin, which includes Le Corbusier’s Cabanon and Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici’s Villa E-1027. We will be based in Nice and travel by public transport. 

Dr Caroline Levitt is Associate Lecturer and Graduate Diploma Programme Co-ordinator at The Courtauld, where she obtained her PhD in 2008. She specialises in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French art and literature, with particular research interests in Surrealism, in relationships between text and image and in artists also working in media such as tapestry, ceramics and stained glass.  She has written various articles and contributed to books including Phaidon’s The Art Museum (2011) and Art in Time (2014).  She is working on a monograph about artists who have owned books and drawn over them, in the context of a history of the avant-garde.

Finished: 10. Cities of a Century: Modern and Contemporary Art in New York and Philadelphia
Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 October 2018
MaryKate Cleary and Tom Day

New York City has played an invaluable role in the production and dissemination of art over the past 125 years – from its history as a Dada incubator to the pioneering vision of MoMA founder Albert Barr, the artist denizens of SoHo in the 60s and 70s, to the glut of galleries in the present day.

This trip will sample the unparalleled modern and contemporary art offerings of this metropolis, unpacking not only the collections themselves but understanding the city’s role in their production and preservation. Sites will range from major museums to lesser-known sculpture parks to cutting-edge contemporary galleries and arts spaces, with a view to exploring the multivalent cultural impact of New York City.

The course will begin with a two-part opening lecture. Part one will focus on the fostering and dissemination of modern art in the city, including the epoch-shifting Armory Show of 1913, and on the establishment of iconic New York art institutions such as MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Part two will shift the view from sites of collection and consumption to locations of production and incubation in the New York Downton scene from the mid-1950s onwards, discussing such artists as Robert Rauschenberg and David Wojnarowicz along the way.

In addition, other nearby locations have and continue to play a significant role. We will venture outside the Big Apple to explore two key examples. In Philadelphia, we will explore the exemplary modern and contemporary holdings of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and also the pioneering vision of Albert Barnes at his eponymous collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. We will also travel north along the Hudson River to visit DIA:Beacon, where major works of Minimalism and Post-minimalism from the 1960s onwards are housed in a 300,000 square foot former Nabisco factory. 

MaryKate Cleary is an art historian and lecturer specializing in Modern Art, the history of the art market and collecting, provenance research and cultural property issues in the Nazi Era. She is pursuing a PhD in the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh, where her research focuses on the Galerie Paul Rosenberg and the transnational market for Modern Art in the inter-war era. MaryKate is an Adjunct Professor at New York University, and has guest-lectured at Columbia University, Stanford University, Loyola Law School, Warwick University, Kingston University, University of Zurich, Christie’s and Sotheby’s Education. She previously held roles as Director of Research at Art Recovery Group, Collection Specialist in Painting & Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, Manager of Historic Claims and Research at the Art Loss Register London, as well roles with Sotheby’s, and the Jewish Museum New York. She holds a BA in German Literature from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and was a Fulbright Fellow at the Technische Universität Dresden. MaryKate holds an MA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute.


Tom Day is a PhD researcher and tutor at the University of Edinburgh. Tom’s primary Research area focuses on the relationship between art and moving-image practices in the post-war era. Tom’s main project at the University of Edinburgh is a major investigation into the aesthetic links between Pop Art and various strains of underground and experimental filmmaking in the 1960s, in both Europe and the USA. Tom’s broader art historical interests include American art after 1945, especially Pop, Minimalism and New York’s avant-garde Downtown scene. Tom’s work has been featured at several prominent international conferences and symposia, where he has given talks on such topics as cinema’s relation to collage and décollage, Pop visions of New York’s Times Square and New York City as seen through the video works of experimental documentarian John Wilson. Tom holds a BA and an MA in Film Studies and Art History from the University of Sussex.


Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close