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Art History


Art History

A discounted rate is available for individuals who wish to participate in both the 12-week Art Business and Art History courses this fall. Contact our admissions team at for more information and a discount code to use on our registration form.

This course explores the history of art through its distinctive formal and philosophical phases, from ancient civilisations to the digital space. While predominantly focused on Western art, it also includes an introduction to modern and contemporary art from Asia and Africa.

The course examines the effects of technological developments over time and the nature of the global contemporary. At its heart is the discipline of art history and its place within the art ecosystem. Skills essential to the practical operations of the art world such as authentication, conservation, and display are studied through the experiences of guest speakers who are professionals in the art world. Understanding the history of art and the practices associated with its display is crucial to confidently navigate the art world either as a professional or as a serious collector of art.

This course incorporates both in-classroom teaching and on-site visits to a wide spectrum of art world institutions where students can practice their visual analysis skills in front of the original works of art. Visits include artist studios, museums, foundations, private museums, and both established and emerging commercial galleries.

Orientation: 9am GMT, September 16

Deadline to Register: September 2

  • Price
    You may select your preferred local currency as the payment option.

    A discounted rate is available for individuals who wish to participate in both the 12-week Art Business and Art History courses this fall. Contact our admissions team at for more information and a discount code to use on our registration form.
  • Register
  • Date
    Fall | September 16 - December 13
  • Time
    10:30am – 4:30pm GMT, Monday and Thursday
  • Duration
    12 Weeks
  • Location
  • Topics
    • Art History
  • Language
  • Contact Admissions


  • Lectures from leading industry professionals

  • A wide variety of site visits, from leading London museums to walking tours of street art and a conservation studio

  • Develop an understanding of how art history has led the art world to its current space through an exploration of its major movements

  • An insider's look at art restoration, conservation and provenance as it pertains to the study of art history and its future


Viv Lawes

Course Leader, Summer Program, London

Viv Lawes is an author, journalist, lecturer and curator with over 25 years’ experience in the art market. She studied History at York University and graduated with an MA in Fine and Decorative Art from Sotheby’s Institute in 1997, where her thesis focused on the textile trade between England and India/ China in the 17th and 18th centuries. Learn more...

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Sample Schedule

More Information

  • Course Combinations

    Course Combinations

    A discounted tuition rate is available for individuals who are interested to enroll in two or more Sotheby’s Institute of Art In-Person Professional Courses. Contact our admissions team at for more information and a discount code. For individuals looking for an expansive grounding in the art world, Art History can be paired with the 12 week Art Business course to create a full time (4 days per week) schedule of study over the course of a semester.

  • Requirements


    English Language Requirement
    Course participants should be proficient in written and spoken English and be able to participate in group discussions and presentations in English. It is recommended that participants have the equivalent level of IELTS score of 6.0 /TOEFL score of 78 IBT, however evidence of test scores is not required to register.

    Age Requirement
    Courses are open to participants 18 years of age or older.

    For more information, please see our Terms and Conditions.

  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    • The role of patronage in European cultural centers during the Renaissance
    • The development of aesthetics, art criticism and public museums around the Baroque and Rococo periods
    • The impact of Japanese art and photography on Impressionism and beyond
    • Diversity and inclusion in the art world, including Modern and Contemporary Art in China, Southeast Asia and Africa
    • The emergence of Digital Art, New Media and NFTs, and how technology is reshaping the art world
  • Students Will Learn

    Students Will Learn

    • To recognise the major stylistic changes in Western art history, from Medieval art through today’s contemporary market
    • To demonstrate a sound understanding of how and why these stylistic developments took place
    • To develop skills of visual analysis through first-hand observation of art works
    • To recognize the intersectionality between the fine arts, the applied arts, design and architecture
    • To understand the importance of provenance and valuation in the art market
  • Course Completion

    Course Completion

    Course participants take away in-depth and valuable insight into the current and future art world, to be sufficiently prepared for a wide-ranging career within the art industry. Those who successfully complete their course will receive a certificate of completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

    Sotheby’s Institute of Art course participants come from all over the world, from a wide variety of backgrounds. As they study, travel, and explore the art world alongside each other throughout the program, fierce and long-lasting collaborations are frequently born. Individuals who complete these courses join our network of over 8,000 alumni around the globe who hold top positions at renowned art organizations.