Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Art & Architecture

Course
Friday, March 5 to 26, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

In illustrated presentations, explore Yale University’s architecture, art and artifacts, books and documents, and medical and natural-history objects, focusing on outstanding examples in each category.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, March 6, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. ET

As the 19th century drew to a close, Vienna was an incubator for some of the most important figures in the arts, letters, and philosophy. Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine explores the ways in which fin-de-siècle Vienna became the cradle of modernity in Central Europe.  (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Over more than five decades, the pioneering French modernist Henri Matisse created work in a dazzlingly wide range of materials and styles. Art historian Nancy G. Heller explores how all of Matisse’s diverse output reflects a unified aesthetic philosophy and investigates why his work continues to fascinate today’s creative minds. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

A private club with a public mission to foster the arts in the nation’s capital, the Arts Club of Washington has welcomed sculptors, painters, poets, musicians, architects, writers, dancers, and arts lovers since 1916. The club’s historian Martin Murray offers an illustrated overview of the architecture and history of the elegant Federalist-era clubhouse and a lively history of how notable Arts Club members helped shape—and sometimes shake up—Washington’s cultural landscape.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, March 12, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Sandro Botticelli’s art captures the shift from a mystical, symbolic medieval worldview to the more humanist ideals of the Early Renaissance. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo traces the life and times of this Florentine master from his rise as painter to the Medici bankers to his downfall as a devoted follower of fiery Savonarola. (World Art History Certificate elective, ½ credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, March 13, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. ET

In the early 20th century, Albert C. Barnes drew on expert guidance and his own fortune to assemble a dazzling collection of primarily French post-impressionist works that reflect his interest in the creators of his time. Bill Perthes, director of adult education at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, offers a comprehensive look at how a collector’s unique vision created an equally distinctive institution rooted in its founder’s belief that art has the power to improve minds and transform lives. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, March 15, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Over the centuries, the dramatic life of Marie Antoinette has continued to fascinate. Decorative arts historian Stefanie Walker appraises Marie-Antoinette’s cultural legacy—and why the myths about her are so enduring.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, March 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Art historian Joseph Cassar explores the work of Marc Chagall whose oeuvre—whimsical, colorful and populated with images from the stories of his native Russian culture—is both emotionally and poetically dream-based. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Wednesday, March 24 to April 21, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In this richly illustrated seminar, art historian Nancy G. Heller looks at the roots and later influences of radical American art from the last five decades, from pop and minimalism to the influence of identity politics. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, March 26, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

The link between architecture and philosophy may seem like an unlikely one, but that centuries-long connection has influenced everything from ancient temples to Gothic cathedrals to modernist structures. Architectural researcher André Patrão traces a history of the disciplines’ notable intersections and uncovers their dramatic effects from antiquity to today.

Course
Tuesday, March 30 to April 20, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, explores some of the great masterworks of art and architecture created from the late-14th to the 16th centuries as he examines the intellectual trends and social context that gave rise to such giants as Giotto, Botticelli, and Michelangelo. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, April 2, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Mantua’s history is deeply connected to the Gonzaga dynasty. Their rule may have been tyrannical and warfare their principal occupation, but the family’s patronage brought into being some of the finest buildings and works of art of the Renaissance. Join art historian Elaine Ruffolo for a gaze into the dynamics of court life and the family who shaped a city. (World Art History Certificate elective, ½ credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by works of art by Vincent van Gogh and poetry by Mary Oliver, explore the lessons that spring offers when we slow down, observe closely, and look inward.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, April 10, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Excavations at the extraordinarily preserved desert city at Tell el-Amarna provide unmatched evidence of the daily life and religious practices of ancient Egyptians. Egyptologist Jacquelyn Williamson, a senior member of the Tell el-Amarna archaeological team, examines the latest discoveries at the site and what they reveal about the city founded as a center for Pharaoh Akhenaten’s monotheistic cult of the sun god Aten. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Course
Monday, April 12, 2021 - 12:00 p.m to 1:00 p.m. ET

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia, houses a great hidden treasure in the R. Lee Taylor Miniature Gallery, a collection of 14 houses and rooms furnished with more than 4,000 exquisite objects that represent more than 70 of the leading miniaturists. The museum’s Nick Powers joins curator Elizabeth Lay to share the story of this collection and close-up images of the marvelously detailed houses. Part of a 3-session Decorative Arts spring series.

Tour
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Join Bill Keene on a walking tour to discover the Mall’s history, design, and architecture, from its earliest vision to the latest developments. View and compare a wide range of architectural styles from the Gothic-revival Smithsonian Castle to the rich symbolism of the Museum of African American History and Culture to the latest addition to the Mall, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial by architect Frank Ghery. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

People living with disabilities are underrepresented in media, popular culture, and art. Alice Wong, a disabled activist, media maker, and research consultant, joins Beth Ziebarth, director of Access Smithsonian, artist Riva Lehrer, and writer s.e. smith, to discuss intersectionality in art, design, and the museum world through inclusive design and representation.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET

Surrounded by 120 acres of native Ozark forest, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, houses five centuries of American artworks from the colonial era to the present, with an emphasis on artists underrepresented in art history and conventional museum settings. Join a member of the educational staff for a look at this unique museum. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, April 16, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From her home in Florence, art historian Elaine Ruffalo traces the ascendance of Rome as an imperial city and its corruption and decline. This is Part I of a two-part series. (World Art History Certificate elective, ½ credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, April 17, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

In the 1960s and ’70s, the Black Arts Movement permeated rural and urban cities and towns in the U.S., drawing on the blues, jazz, and Black folk culture and idiomatic expressions as its foundation. Michele L. Simms-Burton, scholar of African American and Africana studies, explores the cultural producers working in music, literature, art, theater, film, and the press who defined the movement.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless. Paul Glenshaw explores one of the most iconic patriotic images in American art—and one of the most reproduced—to reveal a surprising history that includes its creation in, of all places, Germany.  (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, April 24, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Drawing on historical sources including ancient Egypt, the classical world, and Asian art, the exuberant art deco style reflected the excitement of modern living in the 1920s and ’30s. Art historian Bonita Billman discusses the design movement that found expression in architecture, furniture, interiors, fashions, advertisements, and films. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Course
Monday, April 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

In the early 19th century, panoramic landscape wallpapers that captured American scenes were at the height of popularity. Wallpaper historian Margaret Wood joins curator Elizabeth Lay for a conversation surrounding extraordinary examples of block-printed scenic wallpapers from some of the grand homes and museums throughout the country. Part of a 3-session Decorative Arts spring series.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, April 30, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From her home in Florence, art historian Elaine Ruffalo traces the ascendance of Rome from the chaos of the Dark Ages to its eventual emergence as one of the most artistically dazzling of Renaissance capitals. This is Part II of a two-part series. (World Art History Certificate elective, ½ credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, May 3, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The trauma of the slave trade forever altered Africa’s cultural history. Art historian Kevin Tervala examines the Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades, with a focus on how African artists—and the societies that they were a part of—reacted to the sudden and brutal disruption and transformation and depopulation of the world’s second-largest continent. He also highlights how the slave trade simultaneously brought great wealth, and with it, luxurious arts made in silver and gold. (World Art History Certificate elective, ½ credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. ET

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the emerging profession of architecture in America was very much a man’s world—but talented and tenacious women created doorways into it. Lecturer Bill Keene examines the notable careers of three of those pioneers and their importance in the development of the field.

Course
Thursday, May 6 to 27, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

From the bold and the beautiful art of the 17th century to the exuberant Rococo architecture of the 18th, art historian Rocky Ruggiero places the movements within a historical and cultural context, emphasizes artistic styles, and focuses on major creators and pivotal masterpieces. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Course
Monday, May 10, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Curator Elizabeth Lay welcomes jewelry expert Sheila Smithie for an examination of several visionary French women who exercised their extraordinary creative powers in the 1920s and 1930s to transform jewelry design. A “virtual hands-on” session offers the next best thing to examining the jewels under a loupe in person. Part of a 3-session Decorative Arts spring series.

Course
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing that offers a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on Japanese-American artist Kenjiro Nomura’s The Farm.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Kathleen Bashian, a certified master guide in Washington and a popular Smithsonian study leader, leads a virtual memorial pilgrimage through the city, examining the aesthetics of memorials as works of art and architecture, their origins, and their impact on contemporary visitors.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, May 14, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec reveled in the circuses, dance halls, nightclubs, and brothels of fin de siècle Montmartre, his beloved bohemian world that inspired works marked by energy and sensuality, as well as candor and compassion. Art historian Joseph Cassar illuminates the artist's creative life in the colorful social and cultural milieu of Paris in the Belle Epoque. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit).

Course
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing that offers a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on Antonio Martorell’s La Playa Negra I (Tar Beach I).

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Art historian Renee Gondek focuses on visual depictions of the iconic hero of the Trojan War, Achilles, to examine how the most famous of epic narratives from Classical mythology inspired centuries of creators and cultures. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

There are 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world. Guided by Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University, this series focuses on four of these sites that have suffered grievous damage in recent decades, from Palmyra to the Great Barrier Reef. The session focuses on Palmyra.

Course
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing that offers a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on 20th-century African American artist Alma Thomas’ colorful compositions.

Course
Tuesday, May 25 to June 15, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Join Historic Royal Palaces guide Siobhan Clarke for a virtual look inside four great historic royal palaces. Using maps, paintings, photographs, and music, Clarke introduces the splendid corridors of royal power and pleasure.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Met Cloisters curator Barbara Drake Boehm provides a fresh interpretation of the complex imagery woven into the iconic medieval Unicorn Tapestries. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Examine the development of the Corning Museum of Glass, now the largest museum in the world devoted to the subject, in a virtual look at its collections, library, Innovation Center, and other aspects of this world-class resource.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, May 28, 2021 -12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

As ruler of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, Sultan Mehmed II viewed himself as a new Roman emperor. To reflect that power and prestige he required an appropriate symbol: the magnificent Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Join Serif Yenen, a tour guide and guidebook author, for an exploration of the dazzling palace—including its fabled hidden sections—and stories about the lifestyles of the sultans who inhabited it. (World Art History certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tour
Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET

Photographer Bruce White has spent much time in and around the White House, shooting it for books published by the White House Historical Association. As the author of At Home in the President’s Neighborhood, he’s the perfect guide for a vitual tour of the area most closely connected with the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Lafayette Park.

Course
Friday, June 18, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET and Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Art historian Bonita Billman introduces major artists and movements in American painting from the late 18th century to the present, revealing the connections between historical changes and artistic choices. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)