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Art History Course

Every Picture Tells a Story: Reading Narrative Paintings


'Every picture tells a story' according to the well-known saying.

From Bible stories to Classical myths, poetry, drama and literature, artists have long found inspiration in narrative. The cast of characters includes saints and martyrs, gods and goddesses, heroes and villains, damsels in distress and femmes fatales.

The art of history painting was considered the highest subject matter under the genre system. The patrons were educated and wealthy: they knew the great literary works and had space on their walls for vast compositions.

But, now, we have lost the ability to read the meanings. We can feel we are - quite literally- missing the plot.

Join me on a detective trail to uncover hidden symbols, signs and emblems and put names to key figures. On this course every picture tells a story and we will become fluent readers!