Pierre-Auguste Renoir, (1841- 1919) La Loge, 1874

An Introduction to Art History


Dr Anne Puetz and Clare Richardson

10 pre-recorded lectures and 5 live Zoom seminars at 14:00 [London time], Monday 15 – Friday 19 April 2024

This course has been conceived and written by Anne Puetz in conjunction with Clare Richardson. In 2024, Zoom seminars will be led by Anne Puetz.


Course description

This course is concerned with the making, materials, representational conventions and the interpretation and curation of Western art.  In their lectures, Anne and Clare discuss examples from antiquity through to the present day but are both most at home in the period from the early seventeenth to the late nineteenth centuries and will give particular weight to case studies from this period.

The first four lectures take a close and critical look at the ‘periods’, ‘movements’ and ‘isms’ by which the history of Western art is conventionally structured. We shall discuss stylistic developments, and their contexts, and debate some of the problems inherent in periodisation.

Lectures 5 and 6 will introduce students to works of art as material objects and as means of communication with the viewer. We shall examine how works were made and what important representational conventions they employed.

The next two lectures will cover some of the range of different approaches to art history taken now and in the past. During our Zoom discussion, a major work from The Courtauld Gallery collection will serve us as a case study for the exploration of different ways to examine and interpret a painting.

The final two lectures look at the role museums and art galleries play in the understanding and interpretation of works of art. We shall examine museums’ and galleries’ collecting policies; display, conservation and interpretation strategies, and discuss, among other topics, the thorny question of the ‘ownership’ of art works.


How to book

To book your chosen course(s) please use the book now button below and you will be taken to our booking system where you can book and pay (Visa / Mastercard / GooglePay / ApplePay).

At checkout, you will be prompted to login (if you have previously booked gallery tickets) or to register and create a new account.

(Please note: this ticketing login is not the same as your short courses VLE login if you have one).

Once you have made your selection, your chosen course(s) will be added to your shopping basket which has a timer of 20 minutes, after which time your basket will be cleared and you will need to start again. The timer starts from when you put an item in the basket (not when you login or register).

If you have any questions please email us at short.courses@courtauld.ac.uk

Lecturers' biographies

Dr Anne Puetz is Head of Short Courses at The Courtauld, where she designs and manages a wide-ranging programme of on-campus and online short courses in art history, and in-person and online Study Tours. Anne’s own research and teaching focuses mainly on British, and also on French and German art from the late seventeenth to the late nineteenth centuries. She was the research curator of the ground-breaking exhibition Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836 (Courtauld Gallery, 2001) and has written on various aspects of British art, including on notions of ‘modernity’; theories, practices and technologies of artistic reproduction; display and exhibition cultures; and art education. Anne is particularly interested in collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches to art history and has recently designed and led workshops on visual literacy for medical professionals.

Clare Richardson is a Senior Lecturer in paintings conservation at The Courtauld, where her research interests are focused on the materials and techniques of paintings in the Renaissance and Early Modern periods. She is Head of the MA/Pgdip Easel Painting Conservation and Deputy Head of the Conservation department. Clare studied for her BA in Art History 1998) and Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings (2001) at The Courtauld. Clare is currently engaged in research into historic lining methods at The Courtauld and Greenwich and the implications of the longevity of modern linings on collections care planning. Clare is also interested in using infrared examination for the study of works on paper.