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This introduction to the history of art provides an overview of the major developments that have shaped and inflected western art from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

This course will examine the expansion of the European art market and the establishment of auction houses in Paris and London as collecting became increasingly popular with the middle classes. Focusing on masters like Rembrandt, Van Dyck or Vermeer, it will also explore the rise of Holland and Flanders as key centers of artistic innovation and production, rivaling Florence and Rome. Other topics will include Rubens as an artist-dealer, the importance of the Grand Tour and the collecting of classical antiquities, and the Parisian market for luxury goods.

In addition to studying artworks and masterpieces, a unique and distinct feature of the course will be the study of the art markets that have underpinned art production and patronage. By locating the major art historical movements within historical market structures, the course aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the socio-historical contexts in which works were produced, sold and collected during this period.

The course is aimed at individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in the art world, or those who wish to engage in further study at postgraduate level.

This Intensive Course consists of live-streamed lectures and discussions. Recordings of the live sessions are accessible anytime during the course via our online learning platform, Canvas.

Students will learn:

  • To identify, date, and analyze a range of styles and art forms from the Baroque to the Romantic period.
  • To locate and interpret works of arts and artistic movements within their socio-cultural contexts.
  • To decode the complex historical mechanisms that have shaped patronage and the art market.
The Details
  • Course Dates & Fees

    Course Dates & Fees

    November 17 - December 10, 2020
    Tuesdays and Thursdays | 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. GMT
    (1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT)
    Course Fee: £595.00
    All online Intensive Courses are developed in London by Sotheby's Institute faculty, programming staff, and industry experts.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Topics covered in this course may include:

    • Marketing Dutch Golden Age Paintings

    • Parisian Luxury Good Dealers

    • The Trade in Antiquities in 18th-century Rome

  • How It Works

    How It Works

    Our online Intensive Courses are designed to enrich and deepen your understanding of a specific art world subject in an accelerated and dynamic format. The courses are ideal for undergraduates, career changers, art professionals, and art lovers seeking to learn more about art and cultural history or to acquire specific knowledge/skills.
    Led by art professionals drawn from our global faculty, these courses provide participants with expert insight and practical skills through a combination of livestreamed lectures and group discussion. Course materials and lecture recordings can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via Sotheby’s Institute’s learning platform – Canvas. Canvas is an intuitive, self-contained environment that requires no additional software.
    Once you successfully complete the course, you will receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn.
  • Faculty


    Barbara Lasic (Faculty, MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design) has published on the subject of French decorative arts, the history of taste and the history of collecting, and museum architecture. Her 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, Barbara worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the curatorial team involved in the redevelopment of the Europe: 1600-1800 galleries, and she held curatorial positions at the Wellcome Trust and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
  • Register


    Click here to register.

    This course is listed under the Intensive Course option in the online application. Online Intensive Courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.
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