The Canon of Art

Ref: C3678807

The cannon of art is described by the National Gallery as "the conventional timeline of artists who are sometimes considered as 'Old Masters' or 'Great Artists'." It goes on to say that "Today art history attempts to question these rules of 'greatest' considering issues of gender, class, and geography among others." We will establish the conventional values of the timeline but we will also discuss these other and interesting ideas. They are ideas, and whatever the thinking of our time, the art works remain valuable to our history and understanding of our past.

Course aim

This course follows the conventional timeline of artists who are some times considered as 'Old Masters' or 'Great Artists' in this way it places great artists and their works into an historic context. A good foundation for the history of art.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • By the end of the course you will have seen the conventional cannon of art works.
  • By the end of the course I will have considered the current questions about different perspectives of gender, race, class and geography as appropriate.
  • By the end of the course I will be able to relate in a critical as well as have knowledge of great works of art

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • 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?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • 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

  • It is always good to read round your subject. E.H. Gombriche - The Story of Art, Also look at The Web Gallery of Art, via a search engine for example Google. This is a web site that has almost every artist up to the Impressionist period listed, their paintings and biographies .

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

The Canon of Art


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 2020
  • 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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