Berlin - Art, Architecture and History

Ref: C3742908

The last 300 years have seen a series of dramatic and often traumatic passages in the lives of Berliners. The course starts with an overview of the history of the city, which sets the context for the course's main study of the changing cultural scene of Germany, in particular in the fields of art and architecture. Examples in art of the topics to be covered include the famous German Romantic artists of the early 1800's and the nationalist art during the rise of Prussia through the 1800's. Architectural topics include the mix of historic styles in the late 1800's and the much-lauded Bauhaus developments in Berlin architecture in the 1920's. Finally, a comprehensive review of the art and architecture displayed in the Metro (U-Bahn) stations provides a local perspective on Berlin's great cultural heritage and its last tormented century.

Course aim

To provide an insight into the art and architecture, and the colourful and traumatic history, of Berlin, with as a case study the design, art and decor of Berlin's Metro system.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Describe the 19th century rise of Prussia to become a world power.
  • Describe the contrasting themes of the works of the 19th c. German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich and the 20th c. artist Kathe Kollwitz.
  • Identify landmark Berlin buildings designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the 19th c. and Mies van der Rohe in the 20th c.
  • Describe the work of the two leaders of the Vienna Secession, Gustav Klimt in art and Otto Wagner in architecture.
  • Define the evolution of the city from its division into externally controlled sectors after World War II to unification in the 1990's.

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?

  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

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
  • The following book provides excellent Berlin background; useful reading before, during or after the course: "Germania" by Simon Winder (a fun historical tome).

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • This course should provide an extensive knowledge and understanding of Berlin. As such, it is an ideal course for those intending to visit or stay in Berlin, or elsewhere in Germany, in the near future.

Download full course information sheet

Berlin - Art, Architecture and History


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • 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 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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