Course overview

Isolation includes solitude (choosing to be alone for contemplative or other good reasons) and social isolation (real or psychological separation from others, which can result in loneliness). Some artists need solitude to explore the world around them or to remove external pressures. Others use their work to express feelings of loneliness, whether from societal causes, unrequited love, illness, or other circumstances. Our speaker, Roger Wotton, will discuss a range of paintings that express, for example, the solitude found in nature, or the loneliness in urban living. He will consider, too, the most common example of isolation shown in art: the Crucifixion of Christ.

Course description

We all feel lonely sometimes and, on occasions, want to be alone. These two aspects of isolation have influenced many artists: some have sought solitude, while others have suffered the loneliness of “not fitting in” with those around them, because of failed relationships, illness, or even urban living. Those choosing solitude want to explore both themselves and the nature of the world around them free from distraction, while those who suffer loneliness may use painting as a form of therapy. Solitude has been the theme of many paintings, including those of saints and others who sought “wilderness”. Some paintings portray lone figures in a landscape, encouraging us to ponder their feelings of isolation. Other works show social groups where some individuals do not fit in - and artists then challenge us to ask “why?”. Roger will examine the works of many artists and will end by looking at paintings of the Crucifixion of Christ, considered by many to be the ultimate expression of isolation. Among the artists we shall discuss are Vincent Van Gogh, Stanley Spencer, Gwen John, Edward Hopper, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, George Inness, Paul Cezanne, Edvard Munch, Georgia O’Keefe, Caspar David Friedrich and Harald Sohlberg.

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.

Share this page:

Lady giving a thumbs up to her tablet as she watches a WEA member lecture
Image overlay triangle

Become a WEA member today

For just £15 per year, you can access many great benefits, including our award-winning weekly member lectures.

Need more information?

Need help? Complete our form and our friendly Support Services team will be back in touch.

Course contact
I am most interested in (tick all that apply)

How do we use the information we gather from you?
Please see our privacy policy.