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What trends and stylistic features can we ascribe to art from the Byzantine period and through to the modern period and what, if any, are the defining characteristics of these historically disparate approaches to the production of art? Why produce images in the first place, did they have a function and if so what was it? This course will be examining these questions, looking at the types of work produced in these periods and the craftsmen and artists that produced these works by looking at origins of early Gothic and Medieval painting and architecture in Italy and France. How the use of paintings changed and why, the emergence of the artist as an individual, the spirit of competition and the relationship of this to the Renaissance, the end of the Renaissance and emergence of Mannerism and baroque styles, followed by Neo-Classicism, ending with Victorian painting, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

This course will explore the differences between Medieval and Renaissance art and between Baroque and Neoclassicism. Over five classes and a guided visit to the National Gallery, you will look at a selection of masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Jan van Eyck and Jan Vermeer among others.