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Making a masterpiece

Explore the history of artists’ materials and techniques on this four-week online course
Date
  • Thursday, 23 June 2022
  • Thursday, 30 June 2022
  • Thursday, 7 July 2022
  • Thursday, 14 July 2022
Time
11 am - 1 pm BST
Available online only

About

This four-week course on the history of Western European art is designed to explore the history of materials and techniques used in the making of paintings, drawings and prints. 

The sessions will look at how the discoveries of new materials and the development of new technologies influenced the making of art. 

Each week, different periods of art history will be explored, starting with the methods and materials of the early Renaissance and taking us to the technical developments of the early 20th century.

Image: Detail from Workshop of Quinten Massys, 'Saint Luke painting the Virgin and Child', about 1520?

Week 1: Composition and copy

Date
Thursday, 23 June 2022
Time
11 am - 1 pm BST

This session will focus on works made in the Early Renaissance and explore the use and embracing of linear perspective as a mathematical aid to create the illusion of depth, the use of egg tempera and fresco, as well as the perfection and use of oil paint and its impact on Western painting. 

Image: Detail from Paolo Uccello, 'The Battle of San Romano', probably about 1438-40

Week 2: Beneath the surface

Date
Thursday, 30 June 2022
Time
11 am - 1 pm BST

This session will look at the role of drawing in the making of paintings in Western Europe, including the use of emblem and pattern books, the techniques and materials used including silverpoint, chalk, crayon, and ink as well as exploring the rise and importance of drawing both as an art object and as an aid to picture making in the later Renaissance.

Image: Detail from Agostino Carracci, 'A Woman borne off by a Sea God (?)', about 1599

Week 3: Here it is again

Date
Thursday, 7 July 2022
Time
11 am - 1 pm BST

This session will focus on printmaking and will look at different techniques and materials used to produce woodcuts, engravings, and etchings. We will explore the role of printing and how prints were used to share imagery and ideas across Europe, helping evolve the art of painting in the Baroque and Rococo eras. 

Image: Detail from Rembrandt, 'Self Portrait at the Age of 63', 1669

Week 4: Now in technicolour

Date
Thursday, 14 July 2022
Time
11 am - 1 pm BST

This session will look at how the innovations of the industrial revolution influenced the making of art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We will explore the impact that photography, colour theory, synthetic pigments and the mass production of artists’ materials had on the art of the Impressionists and the early Modernists.  

Image: Detail from Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, 'Combing the Hair ('La Coiffure')', about 1896

Your tutor

Born in Paris in 1976, Aliki Braine studied at The Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford, The Slade School of Fine Art, London and The Courtauld Institute where she was awarded a distinction for her masters in 17th-century painting. Having worked for the National Gallery’s Education Department for 20 years, she is now an Associate Lecturer at Camberwell College of Art and delivers lectures and courses for the Wallace Collection, the Arts Society and Christie’s Education. Aliki is a practising artist who regularly exhibits her photographic work internationally.

Watch again

Can't make Thursdays but don't want to miss out? No problem, you can watch again. 

The sessions are recorded and made available to you for one week. 

A video of the week's lecture will be uploaded and available for you to watch via your National Gallery account on Monday afternoons. Just be sure to watch it by the following Monday lunchtime, as it will be taken down on Monday afternoons. 

Recordings are available to participants via YouTube, where they can be watched with subtitles.

Format

Each session lasts for 2 hours and includes a lecture, followed by a short break and further discussion.  

Time will be allowed for questions and discussion via Q&A.  

Handouts will be available via your National Gallery account on Wednesday mornings.

Booking information

This is an online ticketed course hosted on Zoom. Please book a ticket to access the course. Only one ticket can be booked per account. 

You will be emailed an E-ticket with instructions on how to access the course via your National Gallery account. All course information including your Zoom link, weekly handouts, and recordings will be available here. 

Your link will be valid for the duration of the module.

Booking after this course has started

You are welcome to join the module at any point during its four-week run. However, please note that you will only be able to see the recording from the previous session, as these are taken offline after one week. 

Making a masterpiece

Explore the history of artists’ materials and techniques on this four-week online course
Date
  • Thursday, 23 June 2022
  • Thursday, 30 June 2022
  • Thursday, 7 July 2022
  • Thursday, 14 July 2022
Time
11 am - 1 pm BST
Available online only

Online tickets

Standard: £50
Concessions: £47

This is an online course, hosted on Zoom

Please book a ticket to access this course. You will receive an E-ticket with instructions on how to access your online events, films and resources via your National Gallery account. 

Please note, only one ticket can be booked per account. Bookings close one hour before the event. 

Concessions are for full-time students, jobseekers, and disabled adults.