In this intensive course students explore four extraordinary centuries in the history of European art, from the High Renaissance of the early sixteenth century to the Avant-Garde movements of the early twentieth. The course has a broadly chronological structure, within which key themes and issues will be explored under the guidance of a succession of expert tutors. There will be a focus on paintings and sculpture, and on the works of masters such as Michelangelo, Titian, Holbein, Caravaggio, Bernini, Rubens, Claude, Poussin, Watteau, Hogarth, Tiepolo, Delacroix, Turner, Manet, Monet, Whistler, Matisse and Van Gogh. Along the journey students will explore the impact of the classical past; the interrelationship between stylistic developments, materials and technique; questions of production, consumption and the market; and the broader cultural, intellectual and historical context in which certain kinds of art emerged. Continuities in the Western art tradition are explored alongside challenges, change and renewal.
A schedule of visits to galleries and museums in London, as well as a day trip to a gallery or stately home outside of London, form an integral part of the experience. This is because the teaching approach at Sotheby’s Institute of Art emphasizes object-based learning, enabling students to gain confidence in identifying and evaluating a wide range of different works of art: we believe that firsthand experience of those works of art is irreplaceable, and London contains exceptional venues for that experience.
The ultimate aim is to provide students with an understanding of a rich, exciting and crucial phase in the development of European art, while also developing their critical and visual capacities. The course attempts to foster skills appropriate to careers in the art world.