Berlin and Vienna: Art, Architecture and Traumatic History

Ref: C3744459

The last 300 years have seen a series of dramatic and often traumatic passages in the lives of Berliners and the Viennese. The course starts with an overview of the turbulent history of the two cities, setting the context for the course's main focus - the world-famous output over this period of fine art and of revolutionary architecture. Our Berlin art studies include the works of the famous Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich and the anti-war art of Otto Dix and Ernst Kirchner. In Vienna we assess the artworks of such luminaries as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. In German architecture, the great advances of Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus are explored, while acknowledging the earlier contribution to the Modern movement in Architecture of Vienna's Otto Wagner and the Vienna Secession. Finally, comprehensive reviews of the art and architecture of these cities' Metro stations provide a local perspective on their different histories and great cultural heritage.

Course aim

To provide an insight into the art, architecture and the traumatic history of Berlin and Vienna over the last two centuries, identifying the numerous places of interest and key cultural targets for modern-day visitors to these cities.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Contrast the achievements of Otto von Bismarck and Adolf Hitler in building a greater Germany.
  • Describe the most famous artwork of the Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich.
  • Identify two of the Berlin landmark buildings designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
  • Identify the two leaders of the Vienna Secession, in art and architecture respectively.
  • Define the years in which Vienna and then Berlin ceased to be divided into externally controlled sectors after World War II.

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 books provide an excellent level of background knowledge on Berlin and Vienna respectively: "Germania" by Simon Winder (a fun historical tome) "The World of Yesterday" by Stefan Zweig (his autobiography)

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 and Vienna. As such, it is an ideal course for those intending to visit or stay in Berlin or Vienna in the near future.

Download full course information sheet

Berlin and Vienna: Art, Architecture and Traumatic 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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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