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

Art & Architecture

Tour
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.

The work of architect Frank Gehry is fascinating, imaginative, unexpected, and always fresh—as well as controversial, often-derided, and at times seen as the antithesis of good architecture. In a richly detailed program, Bill Keene, a lecturer in urban studies and architecture, examines Gehry’s life and career from his earliest buildings to works in progress. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless. Paul Glenshaw examines Rodin’s epic and controversial sculpture, the story of its creation, and the moment of the burghers’ sacrifice in 14th-century Calais. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, December 5, 2020 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET

The South of France, with its glorious light and varied vistas, has long been a magnet for plein-air painters. Art historian Bonita Billman looks into the inspiration that places such as Avignon, Arles, St. Tropez, Nice, and others provided for the brilliantly colored works produced by 19th- and early-20th century painters. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by Mary Hall Surface, instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon. Inspired by depictions of winter in works of art and poetry, explore the lessons that the season offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Course
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an overview of some of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites, providing glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In this session, he explores the world of the Inca empire and analyzes Machu Picchu’s original function as a royal estate, its abandonment, rediscovery, and popularization in the 20th century.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Explore the heart of Italy during the first millennium B.C. through a journey into the enigmatic world of the Etruscans. Art historian Renee Gondek assembles a portrait of daily life in this lesser-known civilization—whose writings have never been translated—by examining the distinctive visual style reflected in recovered art, artifacts, and structures. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 11, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, explores the evolution of the subject of the Last Supper in Italian art, from early Christian images to examples from the late Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, December 12, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Venice was shaped by its privileged position as cultural and economic bridge between the eastern and western Christian world, with a distinctive mix of Islamic, Byzantine, and classical influences, and the brilliant creators who reflected the glories of its long-lived republic in some of the most enduring and distinctive art and architecture in Europe. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, examines the artistic heritage and the history of perhaps the most singular city in the world. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 14, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Two dark-haired women—separated by more than 400 years—were behind America’s first blockbuster art show in 1963. One was Lisa Gherardin, better known as the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and the other was the driving force behind the portrait’s journey to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jacqueline Kennedy. Biographer Margaret Leslie Davis recounts an art-world saga filled with international intrigue that triggered “Lisa Fever” and a national love affair with the arts.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by Mary Hall Surface, instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon. Inspired by depictions of winter in works of art and poetry, explore the lessons that the season offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Generations of painters have been inspired to capture the moment—and intense spirituality—of Christ’s birth. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo examines how the artistic evolution of the Nativity reflects developments in European art, from the earliest known image in a 2nd-century catacomb through 17th-century presentations of the Holy Family in dramatic Baroque style. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tour
Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET

Drawing on the riches of one of the greatest post-impressionist and early modern art collections in the world and remarkable high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a series of live virtual tours that closely examine the paintings and lives of five artists who helped shape a truly revolutionary period in the history of art. This program focuses on art by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 18, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Caravaggio was a genius, a scoundrel, an outlaw, and a murderer. But above all, he was the greatest artist of his age, and remains one of the most influential and absorbing of all Italian painters. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo highlights his legacy. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 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, founding instructor 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 first person.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless. Paul Glenshaw examines Théodore Géricault’s epic painting that caused controversy when first exhibited in 1819 in Paris but has since become a milestone of the Romantic movement, laying bare human endurance and suffering in the extreme. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, January 8, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Join art historian Elaine Ruffolo, direct from her home in Tuscany, for a close look at the history, art, and culture of one of Italy’s most treasured cities, one on which artists including Donatello, Mantegna, Titian, and Giotto left their dazzling marks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 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, founding instructor 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 memoir.

Tour
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In a richly illustrated program, lecturer Bill Keene delves into the backstory and lesser-known aspects of the life and career of one of the most famous of American architects. He traces his formative years in rural Wisconsin, the ups and downs of both his personal and professional life, and the influences that shaped a creative philosophy from which some of the 20th century’s most remarkable and innovative structures arose.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Artist and art historian Joseph Cassar leads a fascinating journey through the landscape of the imagination as reflected in the distinctive work of artists including Ernst, Arp, Miro, Magritte, and Dali. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Friday, January 15, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on fascinating decorative arts and design topics. In this session, she explores how European immigrants helped shape midcentury modern American design and architecture.

Tour
Sunday, January 17, 2021 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

In the early decades of the 20th century, Sears Roebuck & Co. sold more than 70,000 prefabricated Modern Homes kits, offering Americans of moderate means the chance to own an up-to-date house. Historian Dakota Springston draws on period and contemporary images to lead a virtual tour through several historic Northern Virginia neighborhoods that boast a wide range of these distinctive houses, followed by a Q&A with a Sears Homes expert.

Course
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 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, founding instructor 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 poetry.

Tour
Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET

Drawing on the riches of one of the greatest post-impressionist and early modern art collections in the world and remarkable high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a series of live virtual tours that closely examine the paintings and lives of five artists who helped shape a truly revolutionary period in the history of art. This program focuses on art by Amedeo Modigliani and Chaim Soutine. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, January 22, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Draped on three hills, Siena is the most beautiful city in Tuscany, a flamboyant medieval ensemble of palaces and towers cast in warm brown brick. From her home in Italy, art historian Elaine Ruffolo examines how art went hand in hand with fierce civic pride to make Siena a world of its own. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - 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, founding instructor 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 perspective.

Course
Friday, January 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on fascinating decorative arts and design topics. In this session, she explores the genius of 20th century industrial designers.

Course
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 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, founding instructor 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 impact.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, February 5, 2021 - 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
Monday, February 8, February 22, March 1, and March 8, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Spanning more than 1400 years, three continents, and a geography that encompasses a great diversity of peoples, languages, and ethnicities, Islamic art and civilization forms one of the great contributions to humanity. Art historian Ann Birkelbach surveys its wide-ranging heritage, from calligraphy to architecture, painting to magnificent crafts. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Tour
Tuesday, February 9, 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.

Tour
Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Sherri Wheeler, the Smithsonian’s director of visitors services, is ready to give you a lively introduction to its 19 museums and galleries, 9 research centers, and one beloved zoo—a whirlwind virtual tour that covers destinations from D.C. to New York City, Massachusetts to Florida, and even Panama.

Course
Friday, February 12, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on fascinating decorative arts and design topics. In this session, she explores how the indomitable women of the first generation of fashion influencers helped define the idea of style for the nation.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, February 13, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Explore the sinuous, and seductive art nouveau movement in modern art and design—called the New Style—which developed in France out of the arts and crafts and aesthetic movements at the very turn of the last century with art historian Bonita Billman. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

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

Live from her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo follows the extraordinary career of Piero della Francesca, acknowledged as one of the foundational artists of the Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, February 22, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Is a banana duct-taped to a wall really worth $120,000? What happens when a work of art’s aesthetic value is overshadowed by its market value? Ellen Gorman of Georgetown University offers a survey of the American art market from the 1950s to the present, introducing the cast of players and corporate entities behind the transformation of artworks into commodities for sale to the highest bidder. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Art historian Bonita Billman analyzes artist Edgar Degas’s contributions to French impressionist art and posterity, and looks at his role as an art collector of merit. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tour
Friday, February 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Poster House in New York City is the first museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to posters. Join chief curator Angelina Lippert for a virtual look at the work of one of the most significant artists in the form, as seen in the exhibition Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau / Nouvelle Femme. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

For many of the impressionists, women were not simply passive models but essential partners, collaborators, muses—and sometimes lovers and wives. Art historian Natasha Schlesinger looks at five fascinating women who inspired portraits created by Renoir, Monet, Degas, Manet, and Cassatt. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

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)