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

Art & Architecture

Lecture/Seminar

Africa’s Struggle for Its Art: Reclaiming a Stolen Heritage

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For decades, African nations have fought for the return of countless works of art stolen during the colonial era and placed in Western museums. Shortly after 1960, when 18 former colonies in Africa gained independence, a movement occurred to pursue repatriation. Art historian Bénédicte Savoy reveals this largely unknown but deeply important history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Palladio: Designing the Renaissance

Friday, June 3, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Italian Renaissance art historian Elaine Ruffolo explores the life and career of Andrea Palladio (1508–1580), arguably the most influential architect in the Western world. His works range from magnificent villas in the Veneto to churches in Venice. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Seeing History Through Artists’ Eyes

Monday, June 6, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Artists such as Picasso, David, and Goya came to grips with the political upheavals of their day with heroic and searing images that elicit our admiration or moral outrage. Art historian Judy Scott Feldman examines the complex interplay between artistic expression and social and political content through the centuries. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Tour

Glenstone and the Phillips Collection: Private Collectors’ Visions

Friday, June 10, 2022 - 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Washington’s grand public museums aren’t the only places to see outstanding art. Visit two of the most interesting museums that reflect the tastes and visions of their founders when you spend a day exploring Glenstone in suburban Potomac and the venerable Phillips Collection with art historian Ursula Wolfman. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Royal Rivals: The Cartiers and Fabergé

Friday, June 10, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

When the French jewelry firm Cartier and Russian Carl Fabergé decided to open showrooms abroad—on the same street in London—the scene was set for an epic international battle. Join curator Kieran McCarthy, a Fabergé specialist, and author Francesca Cartier Brickell, a Cartier descendant, for a sumptuously illustrated talk about the relationship and rivalry between two of the greatest names in luxury in the early 20th century.

Tour

The Philadelphia Flower Show

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Enjoy the summer breezes at the 2022 outdoor edition of the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event, the Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s theme, In Full Bloom, explores the restorative and healing power of nature and plants. Encounter gardens at the peak of seasonal perfection and beauty.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, leads three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of artworks chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels. This session focuses on memory, identity, and setting.

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Yayoi Kusama at the Hirshhorn: Presenting "Eternity"

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden set records with its 2017 exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, which featured the Japanese artist’s acclaimed polka dots and spellbinding visions. Now, the museum has opened One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection, which debuts new acquisitions by Kusama, including two of her renowned Infinity Mirror Rooms. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Art and Fiction: When Words and Art Commune

Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In this summer series, discover a “novel” way to explore the arts. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the artists—Leonardo da Vinci, Judith Leyster, and Camille Pissarro—and paintings that inspired three works of art-focused historical fiction. This session discusses Laura Morelli's The Night Portrait. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Florence: Where the Renaissance Began

Friday, June 17, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Florence is replete with frescoes, paintings, sculpture, and architecture created in an era in which art was the cornerstone of cultural activity. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo traces the history of this jewel of a city from the dawn of the Renaissance to the era of the Medici dukes. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Four Pivotal American Women Artists

Monday, June 20, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The lives of the disparate Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, and Cindy Sherman share one thing: the desire to ignore society’s dictates and live and work according to their own. Art historian Nancy G. Heller examines how these controversial American creators helped ignite some of the most important and radical developments in modern and contemporary art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, leads three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of artworks chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels. This session focuses on sunlight, shadow, and story.

Lecture/Seminar

Ancient Assyria: Art and Empire

Friday, June 24, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Between the ninth and seventh centuries B.C., the rulers of Assyria, a small kingdom in what is today northern Iraq, expanded through conquest to dominate the area from Egypt to Iran and created a series of magnificent royal cities adorned with palaces and temples. Paul Collins, a leading authority on the art of ancient Mesopotamia, leads a journey through these palaces to reveal how they were designed to ensure that Assyrian kingship would exist for all eternity. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Vermeer: In Praise of the Ordinary

Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET

Explore the legacy of painter Johannes Vermeer, a master of light and color whose paintings captured the beauty and meaning of everyday life, with art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, leads three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of artworks chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels. This session focuses on surprise, connect, and experiment.

Lecture/Seminar

The Holy Sepulchre: Circles of Faith and Art

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Join Barbara Drake Boehm, the Paul and Jill Ruddock curator emerita of the Met Cloisters, to explore the remarkable Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the rhythms of history and intersecting circles of faith have given shape to an extraordinary artistic monument and a unique and vital place of worship worthy of close attention. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Paris: A Virtual Adventure of the Right Bank

Thursday, July 7, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The storyline of Paris can be followed along its iconic River Seine. Journey with travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy as you discover the city’s most intriguing sites, historical aspects, and art on the Right Bank in this virtual series that uses maps, photos, videos, and other visuals.

Tour

Whistler to Cassatt at the VMFA

Sunday, July 10, 2022 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET

Join art historian Ursula Rehn Wolfman on a visit to Richmond’s Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to view Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France, which examines the rich variety of American painting in the advent of modernism as French avant-garde philosophies and styles melded with American individualism. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses The 3rd of May by Francisco Goya. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Paris: A Virtual Adventure of the Left Bank

Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The storyline of Paris can be followed along its iconic River Seine. Journey with travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy as you discover the city’s most intriguing sites, historical aspects, and art on the Left Bank in this virtual series that uses maps, photos, videos, and other visuals.

Lecture/Seminar

Caravaggio and Bernini: Loves and Rivalries in the Age of the Baroque

Friday, July 15, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

The Baroque period is characterized by the spirit of competition among great painters, sculptors, and architects. Art historian Aneta Georgievska Shine explores the spirit of admiration and rivalry that shaped the work of Caravaggio and Bernini, both in relation to Michelangelo and their own contemporaries. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tour

New York: The Fashion Capital

July 17 - 18, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET

Splendid style is on the Manhattan itinerary when you take in fashion-focused exhibitions at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Met’s Costume Institute, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, led by design historian Elizabeth Lay. Even the tour’s hotel has style with participants staying at the Art Deco-era Hotel Edison in the heart of the Theater District.

Course

African Art Through the Centuries

Monday, July 18, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Art historian Kevin Tervala explores the vibrant artistic expressions of African art through an examination of the continent’s historical trajectory. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Hudson River School

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Beginning in the early 19th century, the Hudson River School—a loose fraternity of American landscape artists—was neither a school nor confined to the Hudson River Valley. Art historian Bonita Billman examines the work and influence of Hudson River School artists Thomas Cole, Frederic E. Church, Asher B. Durand, and others. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Art and Fiction: When Words and Art Commune

Thursday, July 21, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In this summer series, discover a “novel” way to explore the arts. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the artists—Leonardo da Vinci, Judith Leyster, and Camille Pissarro—and paintings that inspired three works of art-focused historical fiction. This session discusses Carrie Callaghan's A Light of Her Own. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, July 26, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art, Architecture, and Ambition in Aragonese Naples

Friday, July 29, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The fall of Naples in 1442 not only brought Spanish rule, it transformed the city into a vital center of artistic production. Join Sophia D’Addio, a lecturer in art history at Columbia University, in an exploration of paintings, sculptures, medals, and architecture commissioned by the Aragonese rulers of Naples, most notably the commissions and collections of King Alfonso of Aragon. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Caravaggio: The Cursed Painter

Monday, August 1, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

Caravaggio (1571–1610) not only revolutionized painting at the turn of the 16th century with his hyper-realistic style, he often turned Rome on its head with his criminal behavior. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, traces Caravaggio’s works and how they are intimately tied to his personal demons.  (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

How the Ninth Street Women Conquered the Art World

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the 1950s, the spotlight on New York City’s abstract expressionist movement nearly always fell on male painters. But a group of female abstract expressionists called the “Ninth Street Women” were also making important contributions. Art historian Nancy G. Heller examines these women’s art and lives, their relationships with their male counterparts, and the gender-related obstacles they had to overcome to claim their place in a changing art world. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Artistic Legacy of Ancient Greece

Saturday, August 6, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Without the gift of ancient Greece our world would be a very different place. Explore this unique legacy with author Nigel McGilchrist and follow its ongoing influence through the universal appeal of the humanity of its art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Hopper and Hitchcock: Spectatorship and Voyeurism in Art and Film

Sunday, August 7, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

Alfred Hitchcock and American painter Edward Hopper, an unlikely artistic pair, shared a rich and complex vision deeply affected by the traditions of film noir. Using film stills and paintings, David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, explores the formal and thematic links between these artists. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Great Gothic Cathedrals of the High Middle Ages: Awe, Wonder, and Imagination

Thursday, August 11, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Explore the fascinating connections between local medieval communities and the construction of great Gothic monuments to faith, believed to be the purest expression of shared life with historian Cheryl White. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tour

Architecture on the Nation’s Front Lawn

Friday, August 12, 2022 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. ET

The structures on the National Mall embody Washington, D.C, the Smithsonian, and America. Enjoy a morning walking tour led by lecturer Bill Keene and discover the Mall’s history, design, and architecture, from its earliest vision to the latest developments. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tour

Architecture on the Nation’s Front Lawn

Saturday, August 20, 2022 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. ET

The structures on the National Mall embody Washington, D.C, the Smithsonian, and America. Enjoy a morning walking tour led by lecturer Bill Keene and discover the Mall’s history, design, and architecture, from its earliest vision to the latest developments. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters: America’s Arts and Crafts Movement

Monday, August 22, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the late 19th century, Elbert Hubbard, a salesman for Buffalo’s Larkin Soap Company, fused the ideals of the British Arts and Crafts movement with his strong business sense to create the artistic and philosophical community called Roycroft in East Aurora, New York. Alan Nowicki, program director at the Roycroft campus, traces its influential flourishing, its demise, and its restoration that captures its former glory.

Lecture/Seminar

Bridges of Light and Time: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing inspired by art guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Join her and step into the colors, light, and forms of Claude Monet’s exquisite The Japanese Footbridge to explore the bridge as a metaphor for the thresholds and journeys of our lives.

Tour

Architecture on the Nation’s Front Lawn

Sunday, August 28, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

The structures on the National Mall embody Washington, D.C, the Smithsonian, and America. Enjoy a morning walking tour led by lecturer Bill Keene and discover the Mall’s history, design, and architecture, from its earliest vision to the latest developments. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, August 30, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses Gassed by John Singer Sargent. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Brunelleschi and Ghiberti: The Rivalry that Ignited the Renaissance

Wednesday, August 31, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The 1401 competition between master artists Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi for the commission to create a set of bronze doors for the Florence Baptistry is generally considered the event that fueled the Renaissance. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Italian Renaissance, explores the creative duel that led to competitions among great artists becoming one of the central leitmotifs of the period. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Medici Villas: Tuscan Inspiration

Friday, September 2, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Used variously for pleasure and sports, scholarly pursuits, commercial enterprise, botanical experimentation, and amorous liaisons, the villas of the Medici family both expressed and influenced contemporary ideas on politics, philosophy, art, and design. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo explores several of the Medici’s public interests and private passions—and the architects they employed to create the luxurious backdrops for them. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Art and Kingship in Southeast Asia

Tuesday, September 6, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Art historian Robert DeCaroli examines the cultural and artistic traditions of ancient Southeast Asia from the earliest archaeological evidence to the onset of colonialism, with a particular focus on the royal arts of the great civilizations that arose within the borders of modern Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Laos, and Malaysia. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Course

Art and Fiction: When Words and Art Commune

Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In this summer series, discover a “novel” way to explore the arts. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the artists—Leonardo da Vinci, Judith Leyster, and Camille Pissarro—and paintings that inspired three works of art-focused historical fiction. This session discusses Alice Hoffman's The Marriage of Opposites. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tour

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo

September 9 - 12, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

At the turn of the 20th century, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries turned Buffalo into a showcase for public and private architecture. A 4-day tour spotlights some of these innovative works with tour leader Bill Keene. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Medieval England's Art and Archaeology

Saturday, September 10, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Historian Cheryl White examines four significant monuments of art and archaeology of medieval England—the Sutton Hoo ship burial, the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Bayeux Tapestry, and Canterbury Cathedral—each of which points to a specific turning point in the historical narrative of the 7th through 14th centuries. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Understanding Art: A Guide to the Basics

Friday, September 16, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. ET

The visual arts enrich our lives in many ways, bringing us innovative ideas, the pleasure of beauty, and a range of emotions—while also puzzling us at times. Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton highlights the fundamentals shared by all the visual arts and provides a guide to honing essential visual literacy skills that enable us to understand concepts conveyed without words. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Whistler: Departing from Tradition in Making Art

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

James Abbott McNeill Whistler is celebrated for his bold and innovative style in a variety of media—all informed by influences that encompass the Aesthetic movement, Asian art, and his own experimentation with abstract color and composition. Art historian Aneta Georgievska Shine takes a close look at how these ideals were expressed in his work, whether seen in subtle tonal landscapes or portrayals of women. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)