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

Art & Architecture

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

The Age of Elegance: Fashion in the 1930s

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Despite the hardships of the Depression, anyone with a quarter could dream about the glamorous world conjured up by Hollywood—and the era’s innovative fashion designers. Design historian Elizabeth Lay shares the stories and images of the age, one in which film royalty and actual royalty shaped how women and men yearned to dress.

Tour

Historic Homes of Washington Series: The Arts Club of Washington and the Perry Belmont House

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C., is filled with public spaces, monuments, and buildings that define its architectural history and its essence as a city. But much of that character is also shaped by its distinctive residences. Discover two such houses—the Arts Club of Washington and the Perry Belmont House—on an intimately scaled tour that immerses you in the elegance of the early 19th-century and the extravagance of the Gilded Age.

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)

Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, September 19, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this fall lunchtime program, Lay's guest is Diana Pardue, chief curator at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, who surveys the design evolution of Native American jewelry.

Lecture/Seminar

Tiffany Glass from the Neustadt Collection

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Take a behind-the-scenes look at works by Louis C. Tiffany and his studios in the preeminent Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in Queens, New York. Lindsy Parrott, the collection’s executive director and curator, shares highlights of this extraordinary assemblage encompassing lamps, windows, metalwork, and rare archival materials—and offers tips on spotting authentic Tiffany works among the forgeries.

Tour

Historic Homes of Washington Series: The Arts Club of Washington and the Perry Belmont House

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 - 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C., is filled with public spaces, monuments, and buildings that define its architectural history and its essence as a city. But much of that character is also shaped by its distinctive residences. Discover two such houses—the Arts Club of Washington and the Perry Belmont House—on an intimately scaled tour that immerses you in the elegance of the early 19th-century and the extravagance of the Gilded Age.

Lecture/Seminar

The Dome of the Rock

Thursday, September 22, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Dominating the skyline of Jerusalem for more than 1,300 years, the Dome of the Rock is both a sacred Islamic shrine and an iconic symbol of the Holy City. What messages did the artists who built it enshrine here, and what does this World Heritage Site have to say to us today? Barbara Boehm, curator emerita of the Met Cloisters explores this remarkable place, including its history, mosaics, and inscriptions, and its enduring meaning. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, September 27, 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. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Glen John’s A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris.

Lecture/Seminar

Art, Architecture, and Ambition in Aragonese Naples

Friday, September 30, 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)

Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, October 3, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this fall lunchtime program, Lay's guest is decorative arts curator Amy McHugh, who traces how treasures from France’s Crown Jewels found their way into the wardrobes of America’s Gilded-Age heiresses.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 4, 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. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by January Steen’s The Dancing Couple.

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)

Lecture/Seminar

The Judgement of Paris: The Origins of Impressionism

Friday, October 7, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Impressionism was born in the 1860s through a heated rivalry between painters Édouard Manet and Ernest Meissonier. The contest transcended artistic expression, encompassing competing viewpoints on the changes wrought by technology, politics, and personal freedom. Ross King, author of The Judgement of Paris, vividly explores the relationship between these artists as he evokes Parisian life during a decade of social and political ferment. (World Art History Certificate Program elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 11, 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. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Paul Cadmus’s Bar Italia.

Lecture/Seminar

Cezanne: The Father of Modern Art

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For Picasso, Paul Cezanne was simply “the father of us all.” Art historian Joseph Cassar examines key works that reflect how this pioneer of modernism pointed to future developments in art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art Crimes: Trailing Modern Treasure Hunters

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Join expert on art fraud and former FBI agent Robert K. Wittman on his journey around the world as the senior investigator and founder of the FBI National Art Crime Team. He recounts assignments worthy of a spy novel that nabbed the tomb robbers, thieves, looters, and criminals who are the financial engine of the multi-billion-dollar international industry in illicit artifacts.

Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, October 17, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this fall lunchtime program, Lay's guest is period jewelry specialist Sheila Smithie, who offers insights into the creation of stunning, classically inspired pieces from Europe’s fabled 19th-century Revival jewelers.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 18, 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. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Scherezade García’s Day Dreaming/Soñando despierta.

Lecture/Seminar

The Art of John Singer Sargent: Virtuosic Portraits, Seductive Dancers, Luscious Landscapes

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Famed for his opulent portraits of members of Gilded-Age society, John Singer Sargent was prolific, versatile, and sometimes controversial. Art historian Nancy G. Heller discusses Sargent’s colorful life and examines his most important works, including a selection of drawings and paintings to be featured in the National Gallery of Art’s upcoming exhibition Sargent in Spain. She also considers his place within the broader scope of Western art history and discusses what new scholarship reveals about his life and work. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Cultural Heritage Sites of China

Saturday, October 22, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

From the grand splendor of the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace to the serene beauty of the gardens of Suzhou and the grand tombs of Ming and Qing dynasty rulers, spend a day with art historian Robert DeCaroli as he introduces spectacular places in China that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 25, 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. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Emma Amos’s Winning.

Course

Medieval History Through Artists’ Eyes

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Dazzling early Christian mosaics, sumptuous Carolingian illuminated manuscripts, sculpted Romanesque church facades, and soaring Gothic cathedrals give artistic expression to an astonishing variety of beliefs and practices linked by a vision of leading the human spirit toward eternal life. Art historian Judy Scott Feldman examines the art of the thousand-year period between classical antiquity and the Renaissance and its relationship to a diverse society infused with faith and spirituality. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Ghostly Images in Japanese Art

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Female ghosts have been an enduring theme in the history of Japanese art, touching people’s deepest fears, curiosities, and imaginations. Yui Suzuki, an art historian specializing in Japanese religious art, explores the popularity and proliferation of these spectral images that haunt the art of the Edo period. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Home Is Where the Art Is: Connecting Creativity and Place

Friday, October 28, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. ET

Did the houses, gardens, and locations where Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Philip Johnson, and other leading creators lived directly influence their work? Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton surveys the private residences—and private lives—of painters, sculptors, and architects to explore this artistic connection. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Nude: The Unclothed Form in Western Art

Saturday, November 5, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

From depictions of divinities to ordinary people, idealized images to the unflinchingly realistic, Western artists have long turned to the nude human form as subject. Drawing on works from Michelangelo to Judy Chicago to Faith Ringgold, art historian Nancy G. Heller surveys the genre, including its power to provoke controversy, how female and male bodies are represented, and the enduring question, “What’s the difference between naked and nude?” (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Irrepressible Rosa Bonheur: The 19th Century’s Most Famous Woman Artist

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

An international celebrity during her lifetime, the reputation of prolific French animal painter Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899) faded  as the 20th century turned toward new art forms. In the 200th anniversary year of Bonheur’s birth, historian Nancy G. Heller celebrates her boldly unconventional personality and the achievements of a significant artistic career. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Gloriana: Elizabeth I and the Art of Queenship

Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Art and fashion were strategic propaganda devices that reinforced the magnificence—and power—of Elizabeth I as a virgin goddess. Lecturer Siobhan Clarke surveys the cult of Gloriana and the glittering jewels, opulent gowns, and royal portraits that shaped the image of England’s queen in her own time and throughout history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Maria Sibylla Merian: A Biologist to the Bone

Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The aesthetic appeal of the images created by Maria Sibylla Merian (German, 1647–1717) has led history to label her as an artist who painted and etched natural history subjects. Kay Etheridge, a professor emeritus of biology at Gettysburg College, draws on Merian’s own words and art to reveal she was as passionate a naturalist (biologist in modern terms) as Charles Darwin or Carl Linnaeus.

Lecture/Seminar

Europe 1900: The Golden Ages of Vienna, Paris, London

Saturday, December 3, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

The year 1900 found three of Europe’s greatest cities entering defining eras in their historical and cultural development. In a richly illustrated seminar, lecturer George Scheper explores how the alignment of creative forces shaped three highly distinctive urban milieus—each nourished by the energy and excitement of new ideas and each witnessing the birth of modernism in the coming century.