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Art History: Key Concepts examines important ideas in art history and art theory throughout human history, from cave painting through the modern age. Clear and concise weekly themes provide a framework to discuss a range of art objects selected from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The course begins with an exploration of different timelines within art history. Subsequently, each week surveys various forms of representation, analyzing how art has developed from the iconic works of the Old Masters to the innovative practices of contemporary artists today. This structure provides you with the necessary background and tools to confidently address complex subjects in art history, art criticism, curatorial work, and collecting—all indispensable to anyone wishing to expand their knowledge of art or pursue a professional career in the art world.

This Premier Online Course features weekly recorded lectures and faculty-guided discussion boards to maximize flexibility and deliver an engaging and interactive digital experience.

Students will learn:

  • To identify and describe key events in the history of art.
  • To analyze the formal and contextual qualities of artworks and evaluate their importance in a variety of historical and social contexts.
  • To identify and implement the visual vocabulary used to discuss specific art forms, techniques, styles, periods, or movements.
  • To assess and critique a variety of artworks, periods and movements related to art history.

This course has previously been offered under the title Art History Intensive: Key Concepts through Time.

The Details
  • Course Dates & Fees

    Course Dates & Fees

    January 27 - March 23, 2021
    $1,860 ($1,685 if registered by December 8, 2020)
    Tuition includes eight weeks of instructor guidance and an additional 90 days to review the course at your leisure.
    We offer this online course throughout the year with sessions starting approximately every four months. Contact us for more information.
  • Getting Started & How It Works

    Getting Started & How It Works

    SIA Online Community, our learning and networking space, opens two weeks before the course begins. This space provides an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the learning platform and introduce yourself to fellow students from around the world.
    Visit our How It Works page to learn more about the online learning experience.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: A Timeline of Art History

    • The Essential Chronology: From Cave Painting to Today

    • Identification of Key Periods and Movements in Arts

    • Considering Western Art History in the Broader Context of World-Wide Perspectives

    Week 2:  An Artist’s Choice of Materials

    • From Braque’s Collage to Duchamp’s Readymade Objects to Today

    • The Challenges and Opportunities Provided by a Range of Unusual Artistic Media and Surfaces

    Week 3: Issues of Representation                

    • Artistic Production and the Opposed Polarities of Abstraction and Realism

    • How to Build Confidence when Assessing Aesthetic Qualities

    Week 4: Beauty

    • The Rejection of Classical Beauty

    • Embracing the Conceptual Approaches

    • Does Ugliness Have a Value?

    Week 5: Power Matters

    • Everday Objects as Legitimate Works of Art

    • Power Relations

    • The Demise of History and the Emergence of Everyday Art

    Week 6: Engagement and Participation

    • New Conceptions of Engagement and Participation

    • Discovering Personal, Collective and Political Realities through Art

    Week 7: Gender Politics

    • Historic Gender Roles in Art

    • Focus on the Rise of Feminism, Queer Theory and the New Masculinities in Contemporary Art

    Week 8: The Question of Identity

    • Construction of Identities through the Process of Documentation and Juxtaposition

    • Discovering New Identities

    • How Can Contemporary Art Guide Our Understanding of Who We Are and Where We Are Going

  • Faculty


    Giovanni Aloi, Faculty, Online Courses
    Ph.D., M.A., Goldsmiths, University of London
    Dr. Giovanni Aloi is an art historian specializing in the history and theory of photography, representation of nature, and everyday objects in art. He has published with Columbia University Press, Phaidon, Laurence King, and Prestel and has been appointed co-editor of the University of Minnesota series Art after Nature. Since 2006, Dr. Aloi has been the Editor in Chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. He is a radio contributor and a regular public speaker at the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Galleries in London. He has co-curated exhibits, including photography, digital, and time-based media. Aloi is a faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Sotheby’s Institute of Art New York where he lectures on the history of the art market and collecting.
  • Certificate Of Completion

    Certificate Of Completion

    For each course successfully completed, you receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
    Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn. Successful completion is defined by each instructor in the course syllabus and consists, at the least, of regular, thoughtful participation in online activities and timely submission of assigned papers or projects.
  • Register


    Click here to register.
    This course is listed under the Premier Course option in the online application. Premier Online Courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.
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