Day School: Looking at Art - What Does it Mean?

Ref: C3747228

We all try to ‘understand’ works of art. But how do they convey meaning, and what methods can be used to interpret them? What are the roles of the artist, the critic and the viewer in making or deriving meaning? Should we prioritise one interpretation over others? How have ideas about meaning changed over time? Looking at a range of examples, we will explore some traditional approaches including ideas of iconography and iconology. We will then consider (in a practical way!) the possible impact of concepts derived from more modern theoretical approaches such as semiotics, post-structuralism and intertextuality.

Course aim

To explore some of the ways in which meaning is derived from artworks and some of the theoretical ideas developed on the subject.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • discuss some of the different ways in which meanings are derived from artworks.
  • critically engage with the process of how we might ‘understand’ a work of art
  • identify some of the implications of different approaches for an understanding of way artworks function.
  • none

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Nothing is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Day School: Looking at Art - What Does it Mean?

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This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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