2 Audley Square
Mayfair, London W1K
Established in 1994, The Course offers exciting lectures in Art History, Literature and Music.
From the earliest times, there has been criticism of art, both positive and negative. A substantial body of text survives and this series will look at a wide variety of European art works in the context of their critical reception. Concentrating on major works and significant artists from 1300 to 1900 and beyond, we will observe the impact on the public’s appreciation of art and how that might be influenced by critical analysis including the vagaries of fashion. What impact did these commentaries have on art practice and the artists themselves and can critics be seen to be responsible for influencing and thus changing the course of art history?
A Critical Reinvention/Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionism: Kept Behind the Curtain (1500 – 1900)
The nude is still seen in our modern age, and has been for quite some time, as the pinnacle of creative artistic perfection but throughout the course of art history the notion of the perfect body and consequently gender has been constantly reshaped and redefined. Both the female and the male body have been honed and twisted towards an ideal that often defies belief and reality, but how do we define what is a nude and thus art, and what is not, and what was the purpose of this fascination with nudity? This session will trace the critical reinvention of the nude from the Renaissance to the Baroque and on to the modern world of Impressionism. We will hear from German art historians and criticism from the Church.