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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. 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. The program is of twelve months’ duration and runs from January 2021 through December 2021.

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. Later in the program, specialist electives can be chosen from across all Institute Master’s programs, allowing a student to build a personalized Master’s profile. Students take two 15-credit electives across a variety of offerings for deeper expertise or to develop specialties. 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.

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. Students will examine objects 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 MA degree, students must complete the 60-credit dissertation in their third semester. During this final semester there is no formal teaching, with students researching their dissertation topics under the guidance of individual supervisors. At the start of the program, students are allocated a personal tutor who supports their academic and personal development throughout.

The Details
  • Program Dates

    Program Dates

    January 2021 – December 2021
    The first and second semesters will take place onsite in London (circumstances permitting). The final semester is devoted to the dissertation.
  • Curriculum & Schedule

    Curriculum & Schedule

    CURRICULUM
    Click here for a copy of the MA prospectus, which includes curricula, course descriptions, and information for all London Master's programs.
    SCHEDULE 

    • Spring 2021: This cohort’s first semester begins the week of January 11, 2021 in person on our London campus, circumstances permitting. In addition to core coursework, students take two elective (including the opportunity to apply for a work placement elective which includes an accredited internship), and two or more field study trips, travel and health advisories permitted.

    • Summer 2021: Students complete their on-campus studies by August 13, 2021.

    • Fall 2021: The dissertation is to be completed by December 2021.

  • 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.
    View all faculty
  • Tuition

    Tuition

    Semester 1: £10,850 (UK/EU citizens) or £13,000 (other countries)
    Semester 2 + Travel Fee*: £13,700 (UK/EU citizens) or £15,850 (other countries)
    Semester 3**: £5,500 (UK/EU citizens) or £6,700 (other countries)
    Deposit: £1,000
    *Travel fees are indicative only and subject to change.
    **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

    All of our Master’s programs include field study opportunities that are both virtual and in-person to enable students to become immersed in the international art community. Field study contextualizes lectures and discussions through virtual and in-person visits to fairs, galleries, private collections, museums, artists’ studios, and more.
    In-person field study trips are planned to commence in Spring 2021. Destinations are yet to be determined.
    We continue to monitor and respond to the public health situation regarding COVID-19.  We will take every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff and will adhere to all government travel recommendations.
  • Admissions

    Admissions

    Now accepting applications for all MA programs. For admissions requirements and an overview of the application process, please click here.
    View Terms & Conditions
    Space is limited so we strongly encourage qualified candidates to submit their applications as early as possible.
    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@sia.com
    Call us: +44 (0)20 7462 3232

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