i Stefano della Bella, Fame, 1649-50, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. metmuseum.org

Showcasing Art History


As the programme name implies, the series aims to share the latest art-historical thinking, and The Courtauld’s excellence in teaching and research, with the wider public.  The lectures are open to everyone over the age of 18, aim for a lively delivery and are given by members of the faculty, by associates and alumni of The Courtauld, and by other eminent scholars.

Each new season of ‘Showcasing Art History’ offers three free-standing terms. The autumn term lectures in 2021 will be delivered online.  For the spring and summer terms we are planning for face-to-face teaching in our lecture theatre at Vernon Square, but will also record and make the lectures available to our online audiences, who will be given their own live Zoom discussion sessions.

Click on each term below for further information on content and how we deliver the lectures, and to book.

Liberator, Despot, (fallen) Hero: Napoleon Bonaparte and the Visual Arts

Autumn term
5 October – 7 December 2021

2021 marks the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose immense legacy and problematic balance-sheet of achievements and atrocities continues to spark scholarly debate and divide opinion…

Course description
A french general on horseback in a rocky and stormy mountainside. His name is inscribed on a rock below. i Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1801. Château de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison. Image: Wikimedia commons.

Portraying Van Gogh: biography, mythology and new research

Spring term
11 January – 15 March 2022
On campus
17 January – 21 March 2022

What is left to say on the world’s most famous painter? Coinciding with the first ever exhibition devoted to Vincent van Gogh’s self-portraits across his entire career, to be held at The Courtauld Gallery from February to May 2022, this course seeks to challenge conventional thinking and present new research on Van Gogh. It aims to go beyond the myth to rediscover the man and the artist.

Course description
i Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, , The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) (c) The Courtauld

Between Power and Conflict: Case studies of art in times of war and revolution from 1868 to today

Summer term
26 April- 24 May 2022
On campus
2 May – 30 May 2022

In recent months, museums and galleries around the world have been forced to respond to the increasingly urgent call to return the famous Benin bronzes to Nigeria, from where they had been taken, as part of some 10,000 royal and sacred objects, during a British punitive expedition in 1897.

Course description
An American GI inspects a looted Durer print in the Merkers salt mine complexines. i An American GI inspects a looted Durer print in the Merkers salt mine complex, c.1945. Photo: National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD