Introduction to Art image

This introductory course presents an opportunity to explore a wide variety of Western European art from early Byzantine through to late Victorian and Impressionism. The course aims to encourage in participants a dialogue regarding the varied varieties of art and the appreciation thereof. The structure will be that of a broadly chronological and geographical approach, which will take in key movements, styles and artists, with some classes devoted exclusively to artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and many more.

The course begins with the first three weeks devoted to iconography, exploring aspects such as saints, pagan gods, signs, symbols, meaning and more. Within these first three lessons we will also look at the application of perspective and colour. Thereafter each week will also focus on particular movements and periods in European art history, the result being by the end of the course you will have a broad understanding of art appreciation in a historical and aesthetic context as well as the confidence to speak knowledgeably and critically about European art.

The course comprises 18 classroom sessions at Imperial College and two Saturday afternoon visits to a major London art museum in the company of the tutor. Shown below is a week-by-week course outline. No prior knowledge of art history is required.

Course Timetable

Course weekDateTopicSession type
Week 1 Wed Oct 17th Iconography of Venus, Cupid & Mars Classroom session 1
Week 2 Wed Oct 24th Iconography of Adorations & Annunciations Classroom session 2
Week 3 Wed Oct 31st  Iconography: Saints & Sinners Classroom session 3
Week 4 Wed Nov 7th Byzantine & Gothic Classroom session 4
Week 5 Wed Nov 14th Medieval & Gothic Classroom session 5
Week 6 Wed Nov 21st Florentine Renaissance Classroom session 6
Week 7 Wed Nov 28th Art & Reformation in Northern Renaissance Europe Classroom session 7
Week 8 Wed Dec 5th The Sienese Renaissance Classroom session 8
Week 9 Wed Dec 12th Botticelli & Florence Classroom session 9
-------- --------  *** Christmas break **** --------
Week 10 Wed Jan 9th NO CLASS  
Week 11 Wed Jan 16th Leonardo, Projects, Patrons & Peregrinations Classroom session 10
  Sat Jan 19th National Gallery | Meeting place is by the Getty Entrance, East Wing Atrium, opposite the shop at 14:30 Museum visit 1
Week 12 Wed Jan 23rd Raphael and the End of the Renaissance Classroom session 11
Week 13 Wed Jan 30th The Rise of the Divine Michelangelo Classroom session 12
Week 14 Wed Feb 6th NO CLASS  
Week 15 Wed Feb 13th Titian and the Venetian Masters Classroom session 13
Week 17 Wed Feb 27th Baroque, Carracci to Bernini - A New Direction Classroom session 14
Week 18 Wed Mar 6th Northern Baroque in England - Mytens - Van Dyck Classroom session 15
Week 19 Wed Mar 13th Guest Lecture with contemporary artists Clive Head and Paula Kane
(NB: This will take place in room SALC 5)
Classroom session 16
Week 20 Wed Mar 20th Art in Spain - Velázquez to Murillo Classroom session 17
Week 21 Wed Mar 27th The Dutch Golden Age - Rembrandt to Vermeer Classroom session 18
  Sat Mar 30th National Gallery | Meeting place is by the Getty Entrance, East Wing Atrium, opposite the shop at 14:30 Museum visit 2
Programme schedule

 This programme may be subject to minor modification.

About the tutor

Mr Leslie Primo is an Art Historian, Television Presenter, and Freelance Lecturer. More information about the tutor’s work, interests and background can be found here:

Twitter: artfirstprimo     Blog: artfirstprimo

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be sent to the course tutor, Mr Leslie Primo,

Imperial College undergraduates and postgraduates may, if they wish, acquire 2 ECTS credits after successfully completing their Evening Class. To qualify, a student must attend the classes regularly and pass a test at the end of the second term. In late January, students will be invited to apply to take the test.

Please carefully review the Programme TimetableTerm Dates and Fees & Enrolment information.