Understanding Christian Art: From Giotto to Picasso

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

The course will examine the main themes of Christian Art and the fascinating ways in which they were interpreted by artists and sculptors from the 5th to the 19th centuries, including Giotto and Picasso.

Learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with 12 hours of study over 6 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for 6 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Clare Ford-Wille

Course Leader
Clare Ford-Wille

Clare Ford-Wille is an independent art historian, well known for her courses at the V&A, Birkbeck, ARTscapades and Morley College as well as a lecturer at the Wallace Collection, and for The Arts Society groups in Britain and Europe. She has led many tours abroad. Clare is a Vice-President of the London Art History Society.

I have already booked onto my next V&A course online. I love the fact you can participate from home. The presentation, speakers and subject matter are always fascinating and excellent. Previous V&A Academy student

Course overview

Join us on this six week course to explore the themes and variations of Christian iconography. The Annunciation will be the first theme of the course and the exploration of the subtle ways in which artists and sculptors have interpreted this. Why does the Virgin’s response vary in her reception of the Angel Gabriel’s message? Does she stand or sit? Is she afraid or calm? Does the event take place outside or inside? Other themes to be explored will include the Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds and the Kings, and then the early life of Christ, and the various last events of Christ’s life such as the Entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, Crucifixion and Last Judgement. We will explore the fascinating ways in which artists, such as Giotto, Fra Angelico, Lorenzo Lotto, Titian, or the Pre Raphaelites dealt with the themes and study the texts which the artists and their patrons interpreted, not only the Bible, but also other intriguing relevant works of literature such as the Revelations of St. Bridget and the fascinating commentaries in The Golden Legend.


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.

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Online course: Understanding Christian Art: From Giotto to Picasso

9 January 2024 - 13 February 2024


Call to book +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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