An Introduction to Art History
Monday 7 – Thursday 10 September 2020
Dr Anne Puetz and Clare Richardson
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 over the age of 18.
A critical survey of periods and ‘isms’
We shall 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 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.
We shall 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 a major work from The Courtauld Gallery’s collection.
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 London collections and in The Courtauld Institute of Art’s conservation studios. 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 galleries and in the conservation studios.
Dr Anne Puetz is responsible for The Courtauld’s extensive programme of art history short courses. She is a scholar of early modern visual culture, with a particular interest in 18th– and 19th-century British art, and in the concept of ‘modernity’ in Britain and France. She co-edited a special issue of RIHA Journal, ‘When Art History Meets Design History’ (March 2014) and was Research Curator of The Courtauld Gallery’s ground-breaking Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836 (2001). Anne has written on various aspects of British art and her current research interests focus on eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century ideas about colour and on theories and techniques of reproduction.
Clare Richardson is a paintings conservator whose research interests include painting techniques and pigment deterioration and a Lecturer in the Department of Conservation and Technology at The Courtauld. Prior to this Clare was Head of Painting, Paper and Frames Conservation at Royal Museums Greenwich, and before that she was employed at the Victoria & Albert Museum preparing paintings for the 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.