Art Appreciation Course Outline

Module 1

History of Western Art

As the title suggests this module introduces the course to the student in broad terms. It will introduce artistic styles, specific artistic movements, pivotal paintings and artists. The subject matter will explain painting structure; technique, medium, style, approach and themes from cave decorations to contemporary art. It will include relevant sculptures, applied art and architecture and demonstrate how the works of art are historically and artistically connected.

The Art Appreciation Course

Author: Stephen Farthing

Introduction to the Art Appreciation Course

Art History

Earth & Rock

The First Civilizations

Entering the Modern World

Renaissance to Baroque

Rococo to Neoclassicism

Romanticism to Innovation

The School of Paris

The Gradual Revolution

Making the Modern & Contemporary

Module 2

The Renaissance

Considered by many to be the greatest period of creative and intellectual achievement, the author discusses the Renaissance from its origins in 13th century humanism to the 16th century when the artistic climate in Europe changed dramatically. Focusing on the works by notable artists of the period and discussing styles and themes, the author provides an understanding of the great cultural, intellectual and social transformation that swept across Europe at that time.

Author : Andrew Graham-Dixon

The Origins of the Renaissance

Florence & the Renaissance

The Renaissance Courts & the Birth of a New Kind of Artist

The High Renaissance & its Enemies

Venice, Melting Pot of the Renaissance

The End of the Renaissance?

Module 3

Seventeenth Century Art

This module discusses the artistic, religious and cultural movements of the 17th century and how these spread across the continent of Europe. The course will explain the artistic styles of the period and how technical and social advancements inspired the artists and their patrons.

Author : Dr Sheila McTighe

Baroque, Classic, Realist, ‘Anti-Mannerist’ : Artistic Styles in the 17th Century

Religion & the Visual Arts in the 17th Century

Court Culture & the Arts : Rome, Florence & Madrid

Ut Pictura Poesis : Storytelling, Passions of the Soul & Artists’ Status

Module 4

Eighteenth Century Art

The author explores the developments primarily in European fine arts of the 18th century. While the focus will be on painting, other media including drawing, prints and sculpture will be included alongside aspects of landscape gardening and interior design. The module explains how war, religion, commerce and the pursuit of empire came to influence the art and culture of the time.

Author : Dr John Bonehill


Academies of Art

Challenges to Academic Values


The Market for Prints


Landscape I

Urban Views

Landscape II


Module 5

Nineteenth Century Art

Here the course concentrates on 19th century painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, architecture and decorative arts across the western world. The 19th century is a rich period, artistically and historically from the Revolutions in France and America up to the end of the Victorian era; a period when art and artists were influenced by conflict, by industrial advancement, by travel and by the development of consumerism.

Author : Dr Carol Jacobi






Module 6

The Impressionists & Beyond

The impressionist painters of the 19th century were so influential on the future development of art that they warrant a separate module. The styles, techniques and philosophy of this major movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries will be discussed in detail, as will the artists’ avant garde lifestyles and the public’s initial reaction to what today is recognized as a hugely influential period in art.

Author : Christopher Riopelle

Setting the Scene for an Artistic Revolution


Origins of Impressionism

The New Painting

Doubts Creep In


Impressionism Once More


Module 7

Art Deco & Art Nouveau

The two different and instantly recognizable 20th century styles of Art Nouveau and Art Deco had a great influence on art and design of the period. The styles were both immensely popular and were seen as revolutionary at the time. Their origins, their influences, their global reach and the politics of the time will be explained in this segment of the course.

Author : Dr Paul Atterbury

Art Nouveau & Art Deco Introduction

What is Art Nouveau?

The Origins & Sources of Art Nouveau

Naming Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau & International Exhibitions

Exotic & Colonial Influences on Art Nouveau

Promoting Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau Design & Decoration

Art Nouveau & Architecture

Art Nouveau & Art

Art Nouveau & Politics

Art Nouveau & Sex

Art Nouveau & Technology

Art Nouveau by Country

Decline of Art Nouveau

What is Art Deco?

The Origins of Art Deco

Naming Art Deco

Art Deco & International Exhibitions

Primitive Influences

Promoting Art Deco

Art Deco & Architecture

Art Deco & Art

Art Deco & Industrial Design

Art Deco & Jazz

Trains, Boats & Planes


Art Deco & Cinema

Art Deco by Country

Art Deco & Politics

Module 8

Cubism, Abstraction, Surrealism

This module discusses important movements in Modern Art evolving at the turn of the 20th century and proliferating through much of the last century. The political turmoil and the unsettling atmosphere of industrial disputes, social upheaval and mechanized warfare are influences seen in the works of art of the day. The author will explain the trends and artistic styles of the times choosing particular works and explaining their importance, their medium and their context.

Author : Professor David Cottington

Introduction: Modern Times

Gallery Cubism: Putting Illusionism Through its Paces

Salon Cubism: Painting Modern Life

1912-14: Breakthrough to Abstraction

From Representation to Abstraction to Abstract Art

The Russian Avant-Garde: Abstract Art as Realism

Other paths to abstract art: Kandinsky and Kupka

Surrealism: The formation of the Avant-Garde

Surrealism in the 1920s: Automatism

Surrealism in the 1930s: Dream Painting

Surrealism from the 1930s on: Between Genders


Module 9

Modern Art: Post Cubism to 1980

The period of art described as Modern Art in this module starts after Cubism and take us on a rollercoaster artistic ride to the late seventies. The author reveals the extraordinary pace of artistic progress over the decades, introduces the pivotal works of art of this era and places them in their cultural and social context.

Author : Susie Hodge





The Russian Avant-Garde

Abstract Art

German Expressionism

French Expressionism

Austrian Expressionism

Der Blaue Reiter

The Bauhaus


Metaphysical Painting



Neue Sachlichkeit

Abstract Expressionism

Hard Edge Painting

Post-Painterly Abstraction

Nouveau Réalisme

Pop Art

Op Art


Conceptual Art


Arte Povera



Module 10

Contemporary Art from 1980

The art discussed in this chapter comes from the era after Modern Art and introduces different concepts of art as it is made today, Artworks in their broadest form will be explored; new technologies, new materials and new theories about the nature of art, including film, video, computers, three-dimensional works, live elements and performances. Often at odds with the public and sometimes at odds with the critics, our author explains why these works hold an important place in the development of art in its widest sense.

Author : Anna Moszynska


The Contested Role of Painting

Appropriation Art

Sculpture and the Public Realm

The Rise of Installation

Photography and Art

Technology: Moving Image Art

Ecology and the Body

Global Concerns

Art as Social Practice

Module 11

The Art Market

Our expert in this module discusses how to some art has become a commodity and looks at the business of trading art. It will give you an overview of the international art market today, explore the different ways in which art is valued and how the market is subdivided, from paintings, drawings, prints, furniture, sculpture, silver, porcelain and more. You will learn how auction houses, art galleries and dealers work, be given an outline of the major international art markets and will discover the highest priced artists today and the reasons for their popularity.

Author: Jeremy Eckstein


Section 1

What do we mean by art?

A brief socio-economic overview

Patronage and Legacy

Economic Disruption

Section 2

What we mean by the art market – Segmenting or Slicing up the Cake

Segmenting the art market – by sector

Segmenting the art market – by value

Why People Buy Art – a Behavioural Approach

“Trophy Art”

The Size of the Global Art Market

Segmenting the Art Market – by Geography; Global Hubs


New York



Hong Kong

Other Centres of Art Market Activity



Section 3

Primary and Secondary Markets

The Primary Market

The Secondary Market

Section 4

The Auction Houses and the Dealers

The Auction Houses

The Dealers

Blurring the Boundaries – the Dealers


The Auction Houses as Dealers

The Dealers’ Response – Art Fairs


Section 5

Market Dynamics - Asymmetry of Information, Lack of Transparency

Section 6

Online Trading

Section 7

Art as an Asset Class – Investing in Art

La Peau de L’Ours

The British Railways Pension Fund

Art Funds

Attempts at “Commoditising” Art

Art Clubs

Fractional Ownership

Art Secured Lending

Section 8

Navigating the Minefield

Art Advisory Services


Is There a Correct Price for a Work of Art?

Section 9

Art and Technology

Section 10

“Black Swan” Events



Online Sales

Section 11

Conclusion – Looking to the Future

Module 12

The Art of North America

To complete the Art Appreciation course we are taking a close look at the art of North America, from early explorers colonies to nationhood and international recognition. The artist developing the increasing need for independence from the old world of Europe. The module examines the most significant artists in America and Canada, including native art and its influences, explaining the structures and styles over the last 400 odd years pivotal to the creation of their national identities.


Introduction: Exploration and Encounter

America: National Identity and National Destiny

Early settlement to 1680: The Protestant colonies of the Northeast; the plantation South; and the Spanish Southwest

Transatlantic Reputations

Revolution and Republic

Genre Painting: Scenes of Everyday Life

Romanticism and the Turn Toward Private Imagination

Nationalism and Landscape Painting

Economic Expansion, Cosmopolitanism, and Empire

Expatriate Americans in Europe

The Early 20th Century: The “Ash Can” Artists

The Reception of European Modernism and the Emergance of East Village Bohemia

American Scene Painting between the Wars

The New Deal Government Programs for the Arts

Beyond ‘Social Realism’

The “Wild” West: Art in Los Angeles and San Francisco

The Art of the United States: Conclustion

Canada: United Colonies, Nationhood and International Recognition Canadian Art Before and After 1867

Impressionism in Canada

Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century: The War Program, The Group of Seven and Abstract Art in English and French Canada

The Group of Seven and Emily Carr

Beaver Hall, The Canadian Group of Painters,The Contemporary Arts Society

French Nationalism and the Quiet Revolution: Les Automatistes, The Pasticien Movement, Painters Eleven, Regina Five and Indigenous Art

1967 One Hundred Years After Confederation: Towards the Art of Today

Further Reading

Where to See