Classicism from the Enlightenment to the Modern Age

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Discover the afterlife of the ancient world. From the 18th to the 21st century, gain fascinating new insights into the development of classicism in the work of painters, sculptors and architects…

  • Learn from our world-class experts wherever, whenever: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time.

  • Breadth and depth: more than 40 hours of study over 12 weeks.

  • Consolidate your learning: download lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials from our secure Microsoft Teams learning environment.

  • Join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

  • Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials are available for up to 12 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a minute.

Read more
course photo
Portrait of Course Director Dr Kathy McLauchlan

Course Director
Dr Kathy McLauchlan

Dr Kathy McLauchlan is an art historian specialising in French painting and lecturer with the Arts Society, Morley College and Oxford University.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this course.. as always I have learned a lot. Previous V&A Academy Online Course Attendee

Course overview

This course investigates the afterlife of the classical era, exploring the ways in which classical themes, motifs and styles were re-discovered and interpreted in the modern age.
From the 18th century onwards, artists and scholars developed an increasingly sophisticated knowledge of the antique world, grounded in close study of art works and archaeological excavations in Greece and Italy. While some continued to see classicism as a standard for ideal beauty, others viewed antiquity as humanity’s golden age in society and government, and hoped to inspire its revival through their architecture and art. On a lighter level, many painters and sculptors looked to classical history and mythology as sources for narrative subjects, or to feed the general public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for images of daily life in Athens, Rome and Pompeii. By the 20th century there was no clear consensus on what the classical tradition meant. Still, the majority of artists continued to insist that classicism had an essential role to play in their work.
This course emphasises that classicism is a living tradition, re-invented to meet the needs and interests of each new age.


V&A Academy Online. A learning environment you can trust.

V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

Enrol now

Online course: Classicism from the Enlightenment to the Modern Age

17 April 2023 - 10 July 2023


Call to book +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 9.30 - 17.30, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

Related events