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Hone your visual, critical, and research skills through an integrated study of fine art, decorative art, and design from the Renaissance to the late Twentieth Century.

The MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design established the model for Sotheby’s Institute’s rigorous and teaching-intensive MA programs. Tracing its origins back to the Works of Art course founded in 1969, it offers an in-depth exploration of connoisseurship and the integrated study of fine and decorative art and design, based on case studies drawn from the late Renaissance to the late twentieth century. Issues examined include style, materials and techniques, copies and revivals, but also investigation of patterns of patronage, collecting, and a consideration of the historical and contemporary art market for a range of fine and decorative art and design objects. The program is aimed at students who seek an immersive object-based approach to the study of a wide range of art works, and who intend to pursue a career within the professional art world whether as an auction house expert, dealer, art advisor, curator, or academic.

Academic Structure

MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design students analyze a range of predominantly European objects dating from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century, examining them from a stylistic point of view, but not neglecting the wider historical, social, economic and cultural factors which have influenced the production of these art works. The program aims to develop critical understanding of the terms: “fine art,” “decorative art,” and “design,” as well as the synergies and divergences between art objects across a range of media and periods. Through detailed study of objects, students will also gain an understanding of the consumption of art works, examining patterns of patronage and collecting, and the historical and contemporary art market.

For the first two semesters, an intensive program of lectures given by faculty and by visiting experts is supported and enriched by visits to museums, galleries, historic houses, auction houses, fairs, temporary exhibitions, and by handling sessions, which provide first-hand experience of materials and techniques. Regular seminar discussion allows for further consideration of key issues and encourages peer learning and the development of the individual student’s critical voice. The third semester is devoted to the production of a dissertation.

The Details
  • Curriculum

    Curriculum

    The Master’s degree is awarded for 120 taught credits across two semesters, as well as the completion of a 60-credit dissertation over the course of an additional semester.
    In the first semester, Navigating the Art World (30 credits) brings students from all MAs together for an introduction to the art world and to a variety of postgraduate research skills and methodologies within the disciplines of art history and art business.
    Core units (60 credits) for the Fine and Decorative Art and Design degree include Fine and Decorative Art, and Art and Design: Modernity and Modernisms. Students take two 15-credit electives across a variety of offerings for deeper expertise or to develop specialties. This completes the taught Postgraduate Diploma element of the degree. For the MA degree, students must complete the 60-credit dissertation in their third semester.
    Download the Curriculum
    Note: Course offerings subject to change
  • Faculty

    Faculty

    Dr Bernard Vere (Program Director) specializes in art from the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. His work explores the connection between technological advances and the rise of the metropolis in modernist art. Vere has been a speaker at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, and the University of Oxford. He has previously taught at Birkbeck College (University of London), London Metropolitan University, and Tate.
    Dr Barbara Lasic’s research interests include the production and consumption of French decorative arts, 1650-1900, the private and institutional collecting and display of French art, and the intersection of the art market and curatorial practice in the early twentieth century. Prior to her academic career, Lasic worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the curatorial team involved in the redevelopment of the Europe: 1600-1800 galleries.
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  • Admissions

    Admissions

    Now accepting applications for MA programs starting in fall 2020. For admissions requirements and an overview of the application process, please click here.
    Space is limited so we strongly encourage qualified candidates to submit their applications as early as possible.
    Deadlines for Fall 2020 MA program:

    • Early Decision Deadline: January 15, 2020

    • Regular Decision/Final Financial Aid Deadline: March 2, 2020


  • Program Prospectus

    Program Prospectus

    Semester 1: £10,850 (UK/EU citizens) or £13,000 (other countries)
    Semester 2: £11,350 (UK/EU citizens) or £13,500 (other countries)
    Semester 3*: £5,500 (UK/EU citizens) or £6,700 (other countries)
    Fees:
    Deposit: £1,000
    Field Study Trip fee: £2,400 (to be paid in Semester 1)
    *Students pursuing a two-semester Postgraduate Diploma do not incur Semester 3 tuition.
    For more information on tuition and program fees, click here.
  • Field Study Trips

    Field Study Trips

    Students will spend much of the course looking at objects first-hand in a variety of settings, including museums, art fairs, auction houses, and collections, both in the United Kingdom and on visits to Europe. They are encouraged to make judgements about the aesthetic value, and the commercial value of what they see. Previous destinations have included Venice, Paris, and the Netherlands, which encompasses the TEFAF art fair at Maastricht. These visits are integral to the program, permitting students to study objects at first-hand and to view works in varied contexts.
  • Questions?

    Questions?

    Some of your questions may be answered in the frequently asked questions section of our website. If you do not see your question, we are happy to help. All prospective students are encouraged to contact our Admissions Office to schedule a one-on-one information session to learn more about the program, the application process, tuition, financial aid, and more.
    Email us: admissionslondon@sothebysinstitute.com
    Call us: +44 (0)20 7462 3219
MA Fine and Decorative Art and Design Meet Bernard Vere, MA Fine and Decorative Art and Design Program Director at Sotheby’s Institute of Art - London

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