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Laying Foundations in Art History: How 15-Week Intensive Courses Prepare Students for Further Study at Sotheby’s Institute

Many of the students who come to study for a Master’s degree at Sotheby’s Institute are already part of our global community, having taken one of our other offerings at our campuses in London, New York, or Online. A popular choice for those who want to refresh or gain art history knowledge prior to MA study, is the 15-week intensive course Foundations of Western Art. Led by Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli students explore the history and development of art in the western world from Ancient Greeks beginnings to contemporary art while also honing their visual skills. We spoke to former Semester Study student and MA Contemporary Art student Daniela Bach about her experience.

As soon as I began the course, the move to the big city did not seem as daunting, and more importantly, it confirmed that I had made the right decision. The course taught me everything I was expecting it to and much more. I learnt the basics, understood the long history of art and how it is embedded in its context. In addition to the art history element, the course also taught a range of visual skills needed to work in the art world; I learned how to open my eyes, see things from a different perspective, capturing the singular angles and dimensions of an object and its milieu.

The course was like taking a long journey, stopping at different moments in time to try and envision a fraction of that historical moment. We started with the Ancient Greeks, travelled through the enlightened years of the Renaissance until we reached Modernity and the cutting-edge works of the early 20th Century. This voyage would not have been the same if it wasn’t for my fellow students in the class.

“I learned how to open my eyes, see things from a different perspective.”

Art is all about a shared experience, and through spending time with people from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, all brought together by the same objective – learning about art history – we created our own small community. We shared our experiences and knowledge with each other and with our teachers, enthusiastically building an intimate relationship with art.

Throughout the 15 weeks we had constant support from the faculty and staff, which made us trust in what we were doing. It prepared and motivated us for our trip to Rome, which was truly inspiring. After an intensive period of learning about Roman art history we travelled to the original art sites and it became a completely new experience. The fact that you can learn so much outside of a classroom transforms art into a multi-sensorial experience.

“When I started the Master’s degree in Contemporary Art one year later I felt completely prepared for what was ahead of me.”

When I started the Master’s degree in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute one year later I felt completely prepared for what was ahead of me. I trusted in myself and I engaged and participated in a way that I feel I would not have been able to had I not taken the Foundations of Western Art intensive course. My art world has been shaped through the eyes of talented professors who continuously inspired me to research, move forward and dig deeper. With no doubt I can say it was an amazing experience as it also made me think outside the box and pushed me continue pursuing my passion.

Daniela Rome (2)Daniela and a fellow student on a field trip to Rome.

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