Painting by Stass Paraskos

"Taking this evening class was one of the best decisions I've ever made." - Angela Hou (Royal College of Art student)

At a Glance

  • Classroom course
  • 2 hours a week
  • Wednesdays 18:30 - 20:30
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • Tutor: Michael Paraskos
  • Fees from £230 to £420
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)


Places are still available online version of this course.

Dr Michael Paraskos invites you to join him on an exciting whistlestop tour of the sometimes bewildering world of modern art, starting with the Impressionists in the 1860s, and ending with art in the mid-twentieth century.

The journey is a facinating one, sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, and always extraordinary - if you have ever wanted to understand the modern art in some of our most well-known museums and galleries, by artists ranging from Monet and Picasso, to Dali and Warhol, then this is the course for you!

Study of this period in art history is extremely enjoyable and rewarding, but you will end the course with a greater understanding of some most significant works of art to be found in museums and galleries across the world today. From discovering how the Impressionists used the latest findings in science to select their colour palette, to how fear of the atomic bomb led to a whole new movement in sculpture, this course will give you a real insight into how modern artists have responded to the modern world, and how that world responded to them.

No previous knowledge of art, history, or art history is necessary, and your tutor is an expert at guiding both novices and the more experienced through the - sometimes shocking and sometimes comic - intricacies of modern art. The course is organised to encourage discussion and debate, whilst also allowing us to explore the historical development of modern art, and the ideas and influences behind the work of artists of this period.

*Classroom Based Teaching Subject to Government and Imperial College Regulations

Providing the regulations from government and Imperial College permit us to do so, we will deliver this course in person in a classroom at Imperial College in South Kensington. Because of this numbers will be limited. In the event of government or Imperial College regulations changing either before or during the run of the course the weekly sessions will move online with weekly sessions delivered live via the internet.

Please be aware of covid-19 safe-distancing requirements and other covid-related rules and adhere to them. If possible we ask that participants on this course take a home swab test (lateral flow test) before joining each session of the class. These can be ordered free of charge prior to the start of the course from or obtained free of charge from many pharmacists.

If you prefer to study entirely online, a live online version of this course is also available.

Attendance certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information

Course Programme

Indicative programme, subject to possible modification.

1: Before Modernism

2: Alfred Barr’s Four Founding Fathers (and the Great Binge) - Part 1: Cezanne and Seurat

3: Alfred Barr’s Four Founding Fathers - Part 2 - Gauguin and van Gogh

4: Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and Werkbundismus

5: Clearly Modern: Matisse, Fauvism and Anarchism

6: Ensor, Munch and Dresden Expressionism

7: Hilma af Klint and the Munich Expressionists

8: Picasso and Cubism

9: Futurism, Cabaret and the First World War

10: Dada, Sex and Surrealism




11: Constructivism, Supremativism and De Stijl

12: London, Leeds and Glasgow - the Paths of Modernism in British Art

13: British Sculpture Between the Wars

14: ReimannBauhaus and Vkhutemas

15: Hope and Fear in Post-War Art and Design

16: The Very British Origins of Pop Art

17: Post Second World War Abstraction

18: American Pop and Photorealism

19: The New Sculpture in Britain and America

20: A Radical End to Modernism?

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course and there is no set course text, but if you would like to read more on the subject we suggest:

  • David Britt, Modern Art: Impressionism to Post-Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2007)
  • David Cottington, Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • Pam Meecham, Modern Art: A Critical Introduction (London: Routledge, 2004)

Your Tutor

Photograph of Michael ParaskosDr Michael Paraskos is a very experienced adult education tutor, having taught for over twenty-five years. He holds a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and also teaches art history to undergraduate students at the City and Guilds of London Art School.

He 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 first novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016 and his second, called Rabbitman, was published in 2017.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer School
 40  20 18 Oct - 18 Dec 2021 (9 weeks)*  PLUS 10 Jan - 26 Mar 2022 (11 weeks) n/a n/a
* Followed by the Christmas break

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 2nd August 2021

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

  • Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos at
  • Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator,

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.