Course overview

Have you ever wondered how to look at a painting and how to figure out what it means? This course will give you keys to develop your understanding and appreciation of paintings and their history. Based on the study of many concrete examples, taken from a variety of historical periods and styles, we will study all the aspects of a painting, from its format and technique, to its subject matter. As we do so, you will have many occasions to apply this knowledge and techniques for yourself.

Course description

Designed to help you see and interprets paintings, this course is organised around two main themes: the visual and the narrative. To start with, we will look into the way a painting is made. We will consider different techniques such as egg tempera, fresco, watercolour, and oil paint. We will also consider the question of the support, from the wall to the canvas. We will turn our attention to the composition, and pay attention to the depiction of light, the use of structuring lines, the organisation of space, and the way colours are chosen and organised, as well as the use of texture. In a second set of sessions, we will focus on techniques we can use to find the meaning of a painting. We will discover what “iconography” is and how symbols work. We will come back on the importance of the historical context to understand a work of art. And we will question whether it is necessary to know the artist’s biography to understand his/her work. Finally, as we consider abstract painting, we will go back to the purely visual (scale, colour, line, texture), and wonder if, and how, it can communicate a meaning to us viewers.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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