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[Mondays, 11:15-12:45]
Moderator: Bonnie Sullivan 919-437-6904,

Looking at a work of art can be a powerful experience. What gives a piece its power? Why does it speak to us? Why doesn’t it? Is it the subject matter? Color? Composition? Size? Movement? Artists often demonstrate mastery of many elements of art in one painting or sculpture. Professor Sharon Latchaw Hirsch (The Great Courses) will teach us to unpack these and other elements of art (line, shape, space, perspective, point of view, symbols, historical context) that contribute to the strength of a piece. By viewing examples of Western art from the the Early Renaissance to the 20th century, we will learn the visual language to read a work of art like a book by using tools taught in the course. These new skills will enrich both museum visits and everyday visual experiences – print media, web images, television, our own and others’ photography – as we enjoy art on a deeper, more gratifying level. A brief discussion will follow the two 30-minute lectures shown in each class. The course will continue into the Spring 2020 term.

Unlike a chronological art history course, Professor Hirsch illustrates the tools for understanding art by interspersing works from different historical periods, incorporating the modern with the classical. Her approach invites appreciation of a wide variety of artistic styles.

Further information can be found at the Great Courses website, How to Look at and Understand Great Art. A Course Preview video is available as is a list of lecture titles.Click on a title for a brief description of the lecture content.