VMFA Art History Classes provide adult audiences with the opportunity to investigate the history of art through dynamic and interactive lectures, gallery visits and discussions. For ages 16 and over.
Cancellation Policy: No refunds unless VMFA cancels a class. VMFA will cancel a class if 12 students are not enrolled one week before the start date.
Saturdays, May 9 & 16, 2 – 3:30 pm | Reynolds Lecture Hall Wednesdays, Jun 3 – Jul 8, 2 – 3 pm (6 sessions) | Pauley Center Parlor Thursdays, Jun 4 & 11, 6:30 – 8 pm (2 sessions) | Conference Suite & Galleries Thu, Jun 18 or 25, 6 – 7:30 pm (1 session) | Conference Suite & Galleries Tuesday, Jul 14 or 21, 1 – 2:30 pm (1 sessions) | Conference Suite & Galleries
Europe's Fascination with the East: From Orientalism to Japonisme 
Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art and Kristie Couser, Curatorial Assistant for the Mellon Collections
This two-part course will explore the history of western Europe’s artistic fascination with the people and locales of north Africa, the Middle East, and east Asia. The first session will focus on nineteenth-century Romantic and Academic artists, including French Orientalist painter Eugène Delacroix. The second session examines the practitioners of French impressionism who engaged with the aesthetics of Japanese art, among them Claude Monet who famously collected ukiyo-e prints and designed a Japanese-inspired water garden surrounding his home and studio at Giverny.
This course, offered in conjunction with the exhibition Félix Bracquemond: Impressionist Innovator (VMFA Mellon Focus galleries, Feb 13 – Oct 4, 2015), will also interpret how Bracquemond’s etchings and ceramics express stylistic elements of Japonisme.
Caravaggio and the Realism of Baroque Art 
Dr. Donald Schrader, Adjunct Professor of Art History, University of Mary Washington
Michelangelo da Caravaggio, the wayward artist from Lombardy who came to Rome for the opening of the era we call the “Baroque,” introduced a new awareness of the natural world into the visual arts, influencing nearly every artist who came after him in one way or another. This class investigates the life and career of the fascinating unstable character known as Caravaggio and will look at both his private works, meant to remain hidden, and his great public works whose effects were felt by contemporaries like Artemisia Gentileschi and foreigners in Rome such as Georges de la Tour and Diego Velázquez, and even extended to great Italian masters including Bernini and artists who had never visited Rome, such as the incomparable Rembrandt van Rijn.
Understanding the Art of Tattoo: The Perseverance of Traditions in Contemporary Japanese Art 
Dr. Margaret Richardson, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Fine Art and Art History
Christopher Newport University
Many modern tattoo artists, like contemporary Japanese painters, sculptors, and performing artists, have drawn on traditional Japanese motifs to inspire their work. For all of these artists, various aspects of tradition have been used to reflect the persistence, relevance, and continuing evolution of their work, while they have turned to outside influences to help them conceive new forms and concepts. Drawing from works of art in VMFA’s collection and from the special exhibition Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art and Tradition, this two-part class will explore the use of Modern and Contemporary Japanese art and introduce students to artists and themes in Japanese art from the mid-20th century to the present.
This class complements the special exhibition Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art and Tradition.
Topics in Ancient Mediterranean Art 
Dr. Peter Schertz, Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art
Dig Deeper 
Celeste Fetta, Chief Educator, VMFA and Lulan Yu, Adult Programs Coordinator, VMFA
Saturdays, May 9 & 16, 2 – 3:30 pm | Reynolds Lecture Hall
Wednesdays, Jun 3 – Jul 8, 2 – 3 pm (6 sessions) | Pauley Center Parlor
Thursdays, Jun 4 & 11, 6:30 – 8 pm (2 sessions) | Conference Suite & Galleries
Thu, Jun 18 or 25, 6 – 7:30 pm (1 session) | Conference Suite & Galleries
Tuesday, Jul 14 or 21, 1 – 2:30 pm (1 sessions) | Conference Suite & Galleries