Joy of Art imageFor many tens of thousands of years art has been a key aspect of human society. Even today, alongside science, it is one of the foundation stones of our civilization. But art can often seem obscure and baffling. Many people find it difficult to understand a sculpture depicting a figure from Greek mythology, or are lost when presented with a painting showing a black square painted onto a black canvas.

The aim of the Joy of Art is to give you a gentle introduction into looking at, and enjoying, art from different times and places. Using slides and discussion in the classroom, we will explore different aspects of art, from ancient times through to the present day, in a relaxed but inspiring way.

The course seeks to build your confidence and understanding when visiting art museums and galleries, and at the end of the course you will have discovered some of the key themes and events that have inspired artists, both in the past and today.

This course will comprise eighteen lunchtime sessions held in the classroom at Imperial College, South Kensington. At the end of the course students will also have the opportunity to attend one Saturday half-day session at Tate Britain in London, to talk about works of art in front of the real objects.

Indicative Programme

  1. Formalism
  2. Gods and Goddesses
  3. Saints and Sinners
  4. The Picture as Text
  5. Realisms
  6. Geometry and Order
  7. Narrative Arts
  8. Passion and Emotion

** Christmas break **

  1. The Lure of the East
  2. Still Lives
  3. The Slow Rise of Landscape
  4. History versus Genre
  5. Seeing God in a Grain of Sand
  6. Gesamtkunstwerk
  7. The Urge to Abstraction
  8. Classicism versus Romanticism
  9. Kitchen Sinks and Cadillacs
  10. Where's Wally?

In addition: One Saturday half-day trip to the Tate Britain in London (date to be arranged)

Please note this programme is indicative and is subject to possible change

Recommended Reading

There is no required reading for this course, and it is very difficult to recommend a single text for a diverse course like this.

A book that might be useful, but which is entirely optional, is Looking At Pictures by Susan Woodford, published by Thames and Hudson.

About the tutor

Dr Michael Paraskos is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and also teaches art history at the City and Guilds of London School of Art. Michael is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction and has published very widely on art of this period, as well as reviewing exhibitions and novels for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and The Spectator magazine. His novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016.

Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be addressed to the course tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos, PRIOR to enrolment.

Please carefully review the Programme timetableTerm dates and Prices & Enrolment information before clicking on the booking link.