Brushstrokes of History

Ref: C2346881

A look at paintings that depict important historical events or simply reveal fascinating aspects of contemporary society. This is a history course rather than an art history course but art is very much at its centre. Using examples including the Arnolfini Portrait, Rubens' Massacre of the Innocents, Fragonard's The Swing, depictions of Napoleon in art by David, Ingres and others, Goya's 3rd May 1808, and Picasso's Guernica we will examine the artists' motivation and the background to the events and scenarios portrayed. We will also cover paintings by great women artists over the centuries from the Renaissance to the 20th century, when women were finally able to work on a level playing field with men. And we'll look at art in totalitarian regimes, particularly the Soviet Union under Stalin and Nazi Germany, and how artists in those countries were put under considerable pressure to work within ideological constraints.

Course aim

To find out how great paintings reflect their times and the motivations of the artists who created them, from Early Netherlandish art to the 20th century.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for beginners and improvers

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

  • Explain why Bruges' prosperity deteriorated quickly at the end of the 15th century.
  • Outline some of the problems women encountered before the 20th century when choosing painting as a career.
  • Give examples of the 'Napoleon myth' in art.
  • Describe how Picasso was influenced by Goya's painting The Third of May 1808.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Some means of taking notes would be useful

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Brushstrokes of History

Enrolment Conditions

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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