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Art history lectures at Gorman Arts Centre

Have you ever looked at something and wondered why it looks that way? Do you like visiting museums and galleries and thinking about the objects you see? Are you interested in finding out about the historical, religious, literary, and cultural contexts that shaped these objects as they were made, used, and admired?

Then, those conferences in History of Art could be for you.

By analyzing works of art, you can truly enjoy and appreciate the timeless qualities that identify all great art.

Looking at art from the past contributes to who we are as people. By looking at what has been done before, we gather knowledge and inspiration that contribute to how we speak, feel, and view the world around us.

(The Lady and the Unicorn, Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris) Photo by Bruce Edmiston

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Art history is the study of objects of art considered within their time period. Art historians analyses visual arts’ meaning (painting, sculpture, architecture) at the time they were created. It is a way to learn about the civilizations of the past.

Art History is about Understanding cultures

Visual art recounts stories of our past. Art history allows us to look back and understand how our civilization evolved over the centuries. It is a way to know ourselves better. Why do we have certain values? What shaped the way we think and our vision of the world?

Art History is about Iconography, the subject matter.

It consists in analysing the symbolism of works of arts. For instance, art historians identify the visual elements of a painting and interpret its meaning.

Much art is representational and naturally we want to understand what is shown. Iconographic analysis is the interpretation of its meaning. Literature is maybe the main source to understand the meaning of the subject; however, when the literature is missing or when the iconography is obscure or treated in an unusual way, it is definitely harder to uncover the meaning of the subject matter.

Art History is about Analysing the object.

The support and the medium of the object can tell us a lot about the meaning, the owner of that object.

One large part of an art historian is the formal analysis. The formal analysis focuses on form rather than subject matter or historical context. It typically consists of two parts: description of the visual features of a work and analysis of their effects. To describe visual properties systematically, art historians rely on an established set of terms and concepts. These include characteristics such as format, scale, composition, and viewpoint; treatment of the human figure and space; and the use of form, line, colour, light, and texture.

In describing visual qualities, formal analysis usually identifies certain features as contributing to the overall impression of the work. For example, a prominent linear form might suggest strength if straight and vertical, grace or sensuality if sinuous, or stability and calm if long and horizontal. Sharp contrasts in light and dark may make an image feel bold and dramatic whereas subdued lighting might suggest gentleness or intimacy.

Formal analysis is a powerful tool for appreciating art.

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I got a BA and MA in Art History from Toulouse University, France and a MA in Indigenous Studies from NSW University.

I have been lecturing at Sydney University Continuing Education and WEA Sydney for the past 4 years with great success.

My focus is European art with a special place for French Art, Italian Renaissance, and Concepts of Modern Art. I also have a particular interest in Aboriginal art and culture.

I draw on my experience to develop a course where not only the aesthetic can be appreciated but also the essence of the work which can be found by training your eyes and brain in the skills of critical looking.

I endeavour to bring to life the past wonders of our time and lead you through it. For two hours a week, retrace the steps of those incredible artists who left a beautiful testimony of their creative spirits and lose yourself in it.

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"As always, Sylvie's presentation was well researched, fluent and engaging. It was a most informative and enjoyable lecture ”

""Sylvie's enthusiasm and passion comes through making it very easy to appreciate and enjoy the subject."

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Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Ave, Braddon ACT 2612

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