Art History Classes

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.

Caravaggio and the Realism of Baroque Art [59]

Wednesdays, Jun 3 – Jul 8, 2 – 3 pm (6 sessions) | Pauley Center Parlor
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.

$90 (VMFA members $75) 


Understanding the Art of Tattoo: The Perseverance of Traditions in Contemporary Japanese Art [60]

Thursdays, Jun 4 & 11, 6:30 – 8 pm (2 sessions) | Conference Suite & Galleries
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

$50 (VMFA members $40) *Cost includes admission to the exhibition.


Topics in Ancient Mediterranean Art [61]

Thu, Jun 18 or 25, 6 – 7:30 pm (1 session) | Conference Suite & Galleries
Dr. Peter Schertz, Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art

Learn about two to three works in VMFA’s Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, Roman and/or Byzantine art collections from VMFA’s Curator of Ancient Art, including how the works were made and how they functioned in their original contexts. Classes will begin in the Ancient Art Galleries, with further discussion in the classroom. Each session covers different artwork; sign up for one or both sessions.
$15 (VMFA members $12) 


Dig Deeper [62]

Tuesday, Jul 14 or 21, 1 – 2:30 pm (1 sessions) | Conference Suite & Galleries
Celeste Fetta, Chief Educator, VMFA and Lulan Yu, Adult Programs Coordinator, VMFA

Inspired by the introductory course, Dig Deep, this follow-up class focuses on visual and contextual exploration of selected works of art in VMFA’s permanent collection. Through a variety of facilitated, in-gallery activities, as well as group interaction and conversation, participants “dissect” works in VMFA’s collection and learn new ways to connect with art. Each session covers different artwork; sign up for one or both sessions.
$15 (VMFA members $12)