The history
of Western Art in 16 hours
Eight classes for an in-depth understanding of the timeline of Western art
online course
20
hours
10
sessions
date
While passing through the Baroque or Impressionist museum halls, we actually notice only a few masterpieces. But do we ask ourselves: what is the story behind them? How did politics, philosophy and religion influence their formation?
About the Course
Over the course of eight classes we will explore the culture of two and a half millennia, from Antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century. We will understand the peculiarities of each period and build a clear picture of the European cultural heritage
One session – one era from the history of art. Each session consists of 5–6 video lessons lasting 10–20 minutes each
Video lectures
You can take the course at your own pace. The videos will remain in your account forever
Lifetime Access
Get a certificate confirming completion of an online lecture or a whole course
Certificate
For Any Level
This course is suitable for those who start exploring art history from scratch, as well as for those who want to arrange their current knowledge of the subject
View art history as a continuous process rather than a collection of random works
Distinguish different art periods, without confusing Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, or the Baroque and Rococo
Identify the period a painting, subject or technique belongs to
Navigate the art styles, movements, important names and pieces with ease
You Will Learn How To:
Course Curriculum
session 1
+
Conceiving the Ideal
Classical Antiquity: Ancient Greece
European culture was born in the part of the world that we call today Ancient Greece. It were the Greeks who created the concept of beauty, subjects of art and even the idea of art itself. In this class, we will learn:
what is the difference between Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic art;
why Ancient Greek sculpture might deceive you;
how to study Ancient Greek paintings if there are no works left;
what were the three key ideas behind Ancient Greek art.
session 2
+
Creating Art for the State
Classical Antiquity: Ancient Rome
All European empires were drawn to Ancient Roman aesthetics. The Romans taught us how to decorate lush villas and showed us realistic portraiture. In this class, we will find out:
what is the difference between the art of the Republic and the Empire;
if Christianity is to blame for the destruction of the Ancient Ideal;
why there is Roman Antiquity and not Greek Antiquity;
what the Romans took from the Greeks and what they invented.
session 3
+
Depicting the Divine
The Middle Ages
As Antiquity fades, the Dark Ages come to life. In this lesson, we will explore if the Dark Ages were really so dark, and learn:
why this period of history is called the Middle Ages;
how art transitioned from the austere Romanesque to the elegant Gothic;
what the discovery of perspective meant for the images of God;
how sculptors depicted the body in the time when it was considered sinful.
session 4
+
Connecting Ideals
The Renaissance
During the period known as the Renaissance, artists evolved from nameless craftsmen to geniuses who changed the world with their art. In this class, we will learn:
what the art of the Italian Renaissance was like: from the refined Botticelli to the passionate Michelangelo;
how did countries North to the Alps revive the ideals of Antiquity which they did not have;
how painters depicted the reality the way we literally see it;
what is Mannerism, or how to create art when everything has already been invented.
session 5
+
The Art of Contradictions
Baroque and Classicism
The sensual Baroque and refined Classicism were complete opposites. In the class, we will discover how these different styles coexisted as well as:
which countries embraced the Baroque, and where Classicism ruled;
how Poussin made France fall in love with his landscapes with antique ruins;
what you need to know about Rubens, except that he painted plump women;
whether you can change art with a mirror and gunpowder.
session 6
+
Art in the Age of the Enlightenment
Rococo and Neoclassicism
During the Age of Enlightenment, frivolous Rococo replaced the dramatic Baroque. Classicism became more grandiose and received the prefix “neo”. In this class, we will talk about these styles and figure out why the Romantics rebelled against them. Let's learn more about:
what makes Neoclassicism different from its restrained predecessor;
how did the delicate and intimate Rococo become in vogue;
what were the harsh consequences of the rebellion against antique rationality.
session 7
+
Depicting the Reality
Realism and Impressionism
For centuries, artists have been constrained by the dogmas defining a “good taste” in art. But all that changed in the age of Realism. This class will help you to learn:
why and how the Impressionists “modernized” art;
what was the reality according to the nineteenth-century Realist painters;
how the artist transformed from a romantic into an activist and became the conscience of an era;
why contemporaries scolded the sunny landscapes of the artists who were moved by the “impressions”.
session 8
+
Going Beyond Reality
Post-Impressionism
At the end of the 19th century, artists once again drifted away from reality. In this class, we will learn how the Post-Impressionists, the Symbolists, and the Masters of Art Nouveau viewed the world. We will find out more about:
what Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin have in common;
why the Symbolists mixed Greek myths, biblical subjects, and mysticism;
how Klimt, Mucha and Toulouse-Lautrec changed the female image.
session 9
+
Depicting the Reality
Realism and Impressionism
For centuries, artists have been constrained by the dogmas defining a “good taste” in art. But all that changed in the age of Realism. This class will help you to learn:
why and how the Impressionists “modernized” art;
what was the reality according to the nineteenth-century Realist painters;
how the artist transformed from a romantic into an activist and became the conscience of an era;
why contemporaries scolded the sunny landscapes of the artists who were moved by the “impressions”.
session 10
+
Going Beyond Reality
Post-Impressionism
At the end of the 19th century, artists once again drifted away from reality. In this class, we will learn how the Post-Impressionists, the Symbolists, and the Masters of Art Nouveau viewed the world. We will find out more about:
what Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin have in common;
why the Symbolists mixed Greek myths, biblical subjects, and mysticism;
how Klimt, Mucha and Toulouse-Lautrec changed the female image.