Recorded sessions – 90 minutes each
Does British art have its own character and what does it mean to be British? An opportunity to explore some well-loved, well-known artists alongside ones who are less known and to interrogate notions of Britishness at the same time. How British is the art of Hockney, for instance, who spent many formative years in California, or that of Turner who loved travel and who inspired the French Impressionists? How have preoccupations with class, gender, and ethnicity affected the education and reception of artists and how were these perceived shortcomings exploited by artist rivals? Beginning with that eighteenth century documenter of British life, the sometimes xenophobic, William Hogarth right up to Sonia Boyce who has been commissioned to represent Britain at the prestigious 2022 Venice Biennale, the course will look at the likes of Hepworth who popularised abstraction and pioneered the void in British sculpture, Lucian Freud who arrived in Britain as part of the Kindertransport scheme and became one of the defining artists of his generation, his rival Francis Bacon who captured the horrors of the postwar Zeitgeist, as well as their successors who sought to make British art cool: from Pop artists through to yBas such as Tracey Emin.
“Marie-Anne’s knowledge and delivery are superb. Absolutely love the course – it’s fascinating”
As a painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and cartoonist, William Hogarth’s grasp of narrative is unsurpassed. From his underrated portraits to his contemporary satire, discover the man they call England’s first native artist. Learn how his personal life impacted on his art and how he contributed to art theory with his 1753 text ‘The Analysis of Beauty.’
Steeped in Romantic notions of the sublime, Turner the traveller was an artist ahead of his time who embraced C19th progress. Examine his development from hopeful history painter to the glorious late years that pre-empt Impressionism through his innovative techniques in both watercolour and oil and the critics who championed and pilloried him.
Barbara Hepworth championed Modernism in Britain and was inspired by the Cornish landscape and the ‘truth to materials’ approach. See her work not just in relation to her British peers like Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson, but also to the broader movement of abstraction and European artists like Mondrian and Naum Gabo.
Francis Bacon changed the face of British art, his seemingly disintegrating figures and expressive mark-making came to epitomise a post-war zeitgeist. Trace his many influences from Renaissance altarpieces to Muybridge and contemporary photography and learn how his homosexuality is woven through his visceral work.
Rival and long-time friend of Francis Bacon, painter Lucian Freud carved out a lengthy career which saw him embrace a radical change of style. Learn how his early small, psychological works gave way to looser paintings of flesh, and how his uncompromising methods of painting from life created memorable portraits of everyone from the Queen to a benefits advisor.
Ironically some of David Hockney’s most iconic images are the paintings he made of California swimming pools. Notwithstanding, he has reinvented his engagement with colour multiple times, most recently in vibrant i-Pad paintings that reveal his love for the Normandy countryside.
Despite being one of four young art stars featured in Ken Russell’s 1962 film ‘Pop Goes The Easel’ and being discussed in Ali Smith’s novel Autumn, painter, collagist and actress Pauline Boty is still relatively unknown due to her tragic early death. Discover her ground-breaking art and why her political, exuberant works make her the unsung heroine of the British Pop Art movement.
The art establishment in Britain has been very slow to credit artists of colour. Aged 63 before she won the Turner Prize, Lubaina Himid was a trailblazer and part of that 1980s generation of young, Black artists who challenged the status quo to create thrilling, theatrical works. Explore her work in the context of contemporaries like Sonia Boyce, representative of Great Britain at Venice Biennale 2022. A retrospective exhibition of Himid’s work is on display at Tate Modern until July 3rd 2022.
One of the most recognisable artists of the 1990s, Tracey Emin came to prominence at the height of the yBa wave. A divisive figure, her practice encompasses sculpture, drawing, installation, neon works, and so on, and has dared to explore explosive territory from abuse to miscarriage, questioning attitudes to class and gender.
Roxana Halls is a British art star on the rise. Mostly self-taught and from a working-class background, Halls is a painter fascinated by wayward women and notions of rebelling against society’s expectations and demands to conform. Her 2019 portrait of Scottish musician Horse McDonald was acquired for the permanent collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Lecturer: Dr. Marie-Anne Mancio