Bacchus holds a bowl and grapes. Behind him is a smaller figure who is eating the grapes. They are enclosed by a decorative border, i Hendrick Goltzius, Bacchus, late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, detail, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Autumn Courses online

Making Sense of Abstraction: Roots, Context and Meaning

Dr Emily Christensen

5 pre-recorded lectures with 5 live Zoom seminars in the evenings over 5 weeks from Wednesday 13 September to Wednesday 11 October, with an optional visit on Saturday 14 October 2023
£195 or £245 with visit

In spite of its perceived complexity and elitism, abstraction became one of the most dominant expressions of modern art. Ranging across early European manifestations in the work of artists like Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian, to later permutations by American Abstract Expressionists and artists like Ibrahim El-Salahi, this course explores the nature, origins, meanings and reception of this fascinating mode of visual expression.

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Many different, colourful abstract shapes floating against a black and white background. i Wassily Kandinsky, Roter Fleck II, 1921, oil on canvas, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich

Making Sense of
Ideas on Art:

A Course in Art Theory, c.1800-c. 2000

Dr Matthias Vollmer

5 pre-recorded lectures with 5 live Zoom seminars in the evenings over 5 weeks from Wednesday 4 October to Wednesday 1 November 2023

An in-depth look at some of the influential thinkers who have shaped art history, including Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Heinrich Wölfflin, Charles Sanders Pierce, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Ernst Gombrich, David Freedberg, T.J. Clark, and Svetlana Alpers.

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A man with his back towards the viewer gazes out at a foggy mountain landscape i Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, c.1817, oil on canvas, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg. Image: Wikimedia Commons