Page to Painting: Literary Influences on Artists

Ref: C3670814

This course will explore the ways in which artists of different periods have been influenced by literary themes - fully illustrated with discussion. Whilst a range of different periods will be included there will be a concentration on the work of Victorian artists (such as J.W. Waterhouse) representing their particular interest in this area. The Pre-Raphaelite artists' work was dominated by literary themes, such as Tennyson's epic poem 'The Lady of Shallot'. Shakespeare's plays were of inspiration to 18th & 19th century artists. Renaissance artists' works were dominated by Biblical themes, these established visual conventions will be compared to later interpretations by 19th & 20th century artists. There will also be a comparison between the approaches of Renaissance & Victorian artists to mythological themes.

Course aim

This course will explore the ways in which artists have been influenced by literary themes, including Shakespeare, Tennyson, mythology & the Bible. Fully illustrated with opportunities for discussion.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • 1) Analyse a wide range of paintings
  • 2) Contribute to constructive discussions about the paintings
  • 3) Recognise the styles of different artists
  • 4) Realise the extent to which artists were inspired by literary themes
  • 5) Understand the background to the artists & painitngs

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • A notebook & pen may be of use to make notes

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • A list of relevant background reading will be provided during the course

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • - personal study - visiting Art Galleries & exhibitions

Download full course outline

Page to Painting: Literary Influences on Artists Course Outline

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.

Please call 0300 303 3464 to enquire about enrolling on this course.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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