This intensive Semester Course combines an exploration of the historical and stylistic development of Western European decorative arts, design, and interiors, with an introduction to the professional world of working with objects. The program is tailored to students who wish to gain knowledge of the decorative arts and 20th century design, those interested in interior design, and those considering a career in interior design and the art world.
In the first half of the course, the decorative arts of the 17th and 18th centuries are studied in relation to architecture and interiors as well as in their wider historical cultural contexts. Topics include: the growth of consumer desire and maker expertise in objects from 17th century Europe, new materials and techniques, dissemination of taste, the court applied art of Louis XIV, the development of ‘true’ porcelain at Meissen and Sèvres, the influence of trade with the East, and the renewed interest in antiquity by the end of the 18th century. The second half of the course focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries, and considers the major themes of Historicism and Design Reform. These themes are further considered relative to the impact of Japanese art and design in Europe and America, and the resultant birth of aestheticism and Fin de Siècle ‘new art’. The 20th century is given particular attention with the study of the stylistic and theoretical approaches from early 20th century Vienna and America, to French Art Deco, European Modernism, and post-World War II modernity. The course concludes with an exploration of design plurality up to the 1980s, including Pop and Postmodernism.
The program prepares students for a wide range of careers in the art world or for further study on one of our postgraduate programs. Students will learn practical skills and gain knowledge in:
- Object handling through visits to museums and collections, archives, auction houses, workshops and/or studios
- Important figures in Decorative Art and Design such as Augustus Pugin, William Morris, Owen Jones, and Christopher Dresser
- A foundational background for students without an art history background to prepare them for a postgraduate program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, particularly the MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design (MAFDAD) or the MA in Art Business (MAAB).
The program requires no prior knowledge of the field. Download the Semester Prospectus.