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History & The Arts

History & The Arts

Explore culture, conflict, and the things that make us human.

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History of Art
Grid List Results: 13 items
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The Enlightenment free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

The Enlightenment

The free course will examine the Enlightenment. To help understand the nature and scale of the cultural changes of the time, we offer a 'map' of the conceptual territory and the intellectual and cultural climate. We will examine the impact of Enlightenment on a variety of areas including science, religion, the classics, art and nature. Finally, we will examine the forces of change which led from Enlightenment to Romanticism.

Free course
16 hrs
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Napoleonic paintings free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Napoleonic paintings

In this free course, Napoleonic paintings, we will examine a range of Napoleonic imagery by David, Gros and a number of other artists, beginning with comparatively simple single-figure portraits and moving on to elaborate narrative compositions, such as Jaffa and Eylau. In so doing, we will have three main aims: to develop your skills of visual analysis; to examine the relationship between art and politics; and to introduce you to some of the complex issues involved in interpreting works of art.

Free course
16 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Photo: © 2017. Art Resource/Bob Schalkwijk/Scala, Florence. © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./DACS 2018
Art and the Mexican Revolution free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Art and the Mexican Revolution

In this free course, Art and the Mexican Revolution, you will explore one of Diego Rivera’s key murals which was commissioned by the Mexican government in the period after the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920. These monumental public artworks, designed to win over the Mexican peasantry and working-class to the new post-revolutionary state, brought Mexican mural artists international acclaim and Rivera was subsequently awarded important commissions in the United States. Yet, due to his commitment to a figurative form of propaganda, Rivera’s reputation suffered during the Cold War period and these Mexican murals are now largely left out of dominant accounts of twentieth-century United States art.

Free course
7 hrs
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French Revolution free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

French Revolution

This free course provides basic historical background to the French Revolution. It will show that the Revolution accelerated intellectual, cultural and psychological change, and opened up new horizons and possibilities. In fact, while much controversy and scepticism remain as to the real extent of underlying change in the social and economic structure of France, it is generally agreed by scholars that the Revolution stimulated a widening of expectations and imaginative awareness: a belief, inherited from the Enlightenment, in the possibility of progress, as well as a conviction that state and society could be reconstituted with a view to realising social and individual aspirations and human happiness generally. As it degenerated into violence and bloodshed, however, the Revolution also provoked scepticism and pessimism about progress and human nature. The two basic types of modern political outlook, progressive and conservative, date from this experience. Which, if any, of these sets of beliefs was true is not at issue here. What matters is that the Revolution gave rise to them and gave them lasting life.

Free course
16 hrs
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Brighton Pavilion free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Brighton Pavilion

In this free course, Brighton Pavilion, you will examine the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, and its relationship to nineteenth-century Romanticism and exoticism. You'll begin with a biographical discussion of the Prince of Wales, afterwards Prince Regent and eventually King George IV, to whose specifications the Pavilion was built. With the help of video and still images you will take a tour of the Pavilion, examining the exterior then a series of interior rooms as a visitor in the 1820s may have experienced them. Besides this you will look at contemporary aesthetic, cultural and political reactions to the building, its contents and its social milieu.

Free course
16 hrs
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Wilberforce free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Wilberforce

William Wilberforce, the politician and religious writer, was instrumental in the abolition of slavery in Britain. This free course explores Wilberforce's career and writings and assesses their historical significance. In particular, it examines the contribution that Evangelicalism, the religious tradition to which Wilberforce belonged, made in the transitions between the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Throughout it relates Wilberforce's career and writings to wider social and cultural developments in Britain, with special regard for British reaction to the French Revolution.

Free course
16 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Scala, Florence
Artists and authorship: the case of Raphael free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Artists and authorship: the case of Raphael

Individual artists have been the traditional focus of art history, but how do we evaluate the figure of the artist? This free course, Artists and authorship: the case of Raphael, takes the life of Raphael as a case study. You will examine sixteenth-century sources to explore the creation of artistic authorship in the early modern era. The course explores past and current approaches to the artist in terms of authorship, identity and subjectivity. You will consider issues such as the relationship between the artist's life and work, the enduring notion of 'genius' and the artist as a source of meaning.

Free course
10 hrs
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Goya free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Goya

What influenced Goya? Did Napoleon's invasion of Spain alter the course of Goya's career? This free course will guide you through the works of Goya and the influences of the times in which he lived. Anyone with a desire to look for the influences behind a work of art will benefit from studying this course.

Free course
5 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: © Wallace Collection/The Bridgeman Art Library
Dutch painting of the Golden Age free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Dutch painting of the Golden Age

Seventeenth-century Dutch painting stands out from other art of the same period and even more so from that of previous centuries on account of its apparently ‘everyday’ character. Works by artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch and Jacob van Ruisdael seem to offer a faithful picture of life in the Netherlands at the time. In studying this free course, Dutch painting of the Golden Age, you will discover that there is much more to Dutch painting than meets the eye. You will explore scholarly debates about the possible meanings that might be attributed to this type of picture and learn how the very idea of ‘realism’ in art has been challenged in recent times.

Free course
4 hrs
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Robert Owen and New Lanark free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Robert Owen and New Lanark

Childcare, education, working conditions, healthcare, crime: these issues are hotly debated in today's society. They are also issues that Robert Owen, seen by some as a visionary and by others as a knave and a charlatan, sought to address in the early 1800s. This free course, Robert Owen and New Lanark, uses a series of essays written by Owen to explore the ideas of this important and controversial figure.

Free course
12 hrs
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Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems

This free course, Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems, looks at the short poems in German that were set to music by Franz Schubert (17971828) for a single voice with piano, a genre known as 'Lieder' (the German for 'songs'). Once they became widely known, Schubert's Lieder influenced generations of songwriters up to the present day. The course then discusses a selection of Schubert's settings of Goethe's poems, and recordings of all of them are provided. You can find the poems, in German with parallel translations into English and the music scores of four of the song settings, on the home page of the course. You are not expected to be able to read the music, but even if you are not very familiar with musical notation, you may well find the scores useful in identifying what is happening in the songs.

Free course
16 hrs
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David Hume free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

David Hume

This free course, David Hume, examines Hume's reasons for being complacent in the face of death, as these are laid out in his suppressed essay of 1755, 'Of the immortality of the soul'. More generally, it examines some of the shifts in attitude concerning death and religious belief that were taking place in Europe at the end of the eighteenth century, through examination of this and other short essays.

Free course
16 hrs
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