Modern Art

Starting with the Impressionists in the 1870s, and ending with Pop Art in the 1960s, we will take a whistle-stop tour of some of the major art movements associated with modernism, pausing only to look at some of its leading artists, from Monet and Picasso, to Dali and Warhol.

Not only is study of this period in art history extremely rewarding and enjoyable in itself, but you will end the course with a greater understanding of some most significant works of art to be found in museums and galleries across the world today. From discovering how the Impressionists used the latest findings in science to select their colour palette, to how fear of the atomic bomb led to a whole new movement in sculpture, this course will give you a real insight into how modern artists have responded to the modern world, and how that world responded to them.

No previous knowledge of art, history, or art history is necessary, and your tutor is an expert at guiding both novices and the more experienced through the - sometimes shocking and sometimes comic - intricacies of modern art. The course is organised to encourage discussion and debate, whilst also allowing us to explore the historical development of modern art, and the ideas and influences behind the work of artists of this period.

This course will comprise eighteen evening sessions held in the classroom at Imperial College, South Kensington. During the course students will also have the opportunity to attend one Saturday half-day session at a major museum in London, to discuss with their tutor works of modern art, using of actual art objects.

Provisional timetable


1. Victorian Modernisms
2. Alfred Barr’s Four Founding Fathers (and the Great Binge)
3. Matisse and the Anarchists
4. From Art Nouveau to the Bauhaus
5. German Expressionism in Dresden, Berlin and Munich
6. From Expressionist Film to Horror Film
7. Cubism, De Stijl and Futurism
8. Bloomsbury and Blast! British Modernism before the First World War

*** Christmas break ***


9. Dada, Sex and Surrealism
10. British Sculpture Between the Wars
11. Constructivism and Supremativism
12. Hope and Fear in Post-War Art and Design
13. Abstract Painting
14. The British Origin of Pop Art
15. Pop and Photorealism in America
16. The New Sculpture in Britain and America
17. From Pop to Conceptualism
18. And now?

This programme is provisional and subject to change or modification.

About the tutor

Dr Michael Paraskos is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and also teaches art history at the City and Guilds of London School of Art. Michael is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction and has published very widely on art of this period, as well as reviewing exhibitions and novels for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and The Spectator magazine. His novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016.

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be sent to the tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos,

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 before clicking on the booking link.