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The following courses and visits

have been offered in the past, and can be run again.


If you are interested in any of these lectures please email Mariska at,

and we can decide on mutually agreeable dates/venues.


Art History from the Greeks and Romans to Modern Times


This course offers an intensive introduction to the history of Western Art, and covers paintings, sculpture, architecture, and decorative art. Sessions concentrate on looking and understanding art. Lessons provide you with an overview of many of the most important movements in art, its key artists, and reference to its historical context.

Lectures will introduce a series of themes at the beginning of each sessions, and give you the chance to participate in informal discussions and class exercises to enhance your learning.

Note that due to the extent of the periods covered in this class and the limited time, there is not always time to go into great depth, and students must expect to come out with a general understanding of Art His



Iconography and Symbolism in Art


Discover the deeper meaning hidden in the work of paintings of the past. Learn how to read the secrets of different objects, Gods and Goddesses, forms and colours included on the canvas.

Art has served various functional and aesthetic purposes in different cultures and periods. In some eras art has also embodied a symbolic language, mysterious and obscure to many of us now.

In this course students explore a wide range of art of diverse kinds, origins and centuries, and they examine the fascinating and complex range of different meanings that some artworks were intended to transmit.

This course is designed for students who are interested in Art History and who would like to be able to interpret different paintings. Understanding artistic symbolism can deepen your experience of the visual world and greatly enhance your enjoyment of art.

Topics covered: Symbolism of the Greco-Romans, Christianity Objects, Forms and colours, Dutch Genre Paintings, Allegorical Paintings, Symbolism as a movemen

Art History courses, talks, visits London

The Bible in Art


Most museums with European paintings will inevitably have large collections of Christian art (In the National Gallery London, roughly 1/3 of the pictures are of Christian subjects). Through nine centuries almost all European art was inspired and financed by the Christian Church (until the Reformation, 16th century). However, most of us find it hard to recognise some of the stories depicted and don’t recognise the main players within these stories.

For those of you who like a refresher on why Judith killed Holophernes, Saint Peter walks around with a huge key, or how martyrs seem to survive the most gruesome deaths, this course will give a general overview on some of the most well know images in history.

Mariska at Orleans House
Tina Baxter

Themes in Art


There are several ways to approach the study of art. Most of you have looked at it chronologically, from the Greeks and Romans to the art of our own time. This method offers great advantages, because it places works of art in the context of the time in which they emerged and allows us to follow the development of art over the centuries.

The chronological approach has one drawback, however, in that we may lose sight of the characteristics that works made by different cultures in different times have in common. For instance, a sculpture produced today and one produced ten thousand years ago may seem very different, and a chronological approach emphasizes the differences by focusing on the cultural aspects that influenced each. But suppose the two sculptures are images of political leaders; then we would say they have the same theme, so we can make interesting comparisons between them.

While it is useful to understand how and why works of art differ, it is also helpful to see how much they are alike, even when thousands of miles and years separate them.

In this series of lectures I would like to show you some of the main themes and subject matters which have dominated the arts to this day.

Art Visits London
Andrea private tour

Introduction Contemporary Art


Contemporary art often frustrates our wish to understand what we are looking at. Even though most of us would really like to enjoy contemporary culture, we often find it hard to relate to art produced in our own times. This is a real shame, especially in a city like London, with so much Contemporary Art on show during the Frieze Art Fair, The Turner Prize, or in one of London's best visited attractions: Tate Modern.

This course will try and introduce some concepts, themes, main players and recurring points of discussion, and hopefully get you interested in visiting places where contemporary art is exhibited.

German 20th Century Art

The post-World War II stigma attached to German art has made many interested in the arts ignore some of the most important artists and art movements which originated in Germany. Its art is often tougher and stronger than their European counterparts, and the historical context of the works very complex.

These 4 lectures will introduce some of the most important works of art produced by German artists, and will try and put them into an historical and political context.


The Best of Spanish Art


Spanish art could be a course on its own. Spain has one of the most profuse artistic traditions in the world, with influences from different religions and different cultures.

Some of the world’s preeminent artistic talents were nurtured in this country, and many artists will be well known to many of you. Their often haunting and ethereal works of art are worth looking at again, within the context of the country in which they were created, and this 2 hour lecture will chronologically introduce some of the best works every made in Spain.

Museum Visits London

The Dutch Golden Age


The Dutch Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. Production of the fine and decorative arts thrived in Antwerp, Amsterdam, Delft, Haarlem and Utrecht and artists like Rembrandt, Rubens and Vermeer excelled in different artistic genres.

There may be no other country in which, in the brief span of a hundred years, so many paintings were executed as during the 17th century.

History painting, portraiture, genre, landscape and still life painting all produced significant masterpieces in this period, which is rightly regarded as the Golden Age of Netherlandish art.

This course will introduce students to the visual history of the Low Countries through an analysis of Dutch art and culture of the seventeenth century in class and in front of the originals. The course will analyse the cultural conditions (religious and economic) for the emergence of new forms and genres of art during the period.


Rembrandt: The finest years

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has finally opened its doors again, and has been busy organising collaborative exhibitions. From October 15th, the National Gallery will host an exhibition with his later works. To get ready I will be hosting 2 lectures, one about Rembrandt and the historical period in which he was active, and another on his extraordinary technique and skill.


Hattie private tour
Mariska Kunstmuseum The Hague, The Netherlands
Private Tour The Hague, The Netherlands
Cindy Tate Modern
Art History visits London



A Master Piece a Week

A Masterpiece a week is a term long class, run during lunch time, of some of the most famous and highly regarded paintings in the world.  This course gives you the chance to see some of the highlight works from galleries across the world, across the different art historical periods.


Example of works featured in previous talks:

  • Venus de Milo, Alexandros of Antioch

  • The Bayeux Tapestry

  • David,  Michelangelo

  • Caravaggio, Self-portrait

  • Marriage Portrait of Isaac Massa en Beatrix van der Laen, Frans Hals

  • Pierrot (also known as Gilles) , Jean-Antoine Watteau

  • The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David

  • The Hay Wain, John Constable

  • Silver Favourites, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

  • Black Square, Kazimir Malevich

  • A Bigger Splash, David Hockney

  • Maman, by Louise Bourgeois


  • Artemision Jockey

  • Hagia Sophia

  • Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, by the Limbourg brothers

  • Triumph of Ceasar, by Andreas Mantegna

  • The Entombment, by Raphael

  • Ecstacy of St. Theresa, by Bernini

  • A Poulterer’s Shop, by Gerrit Dou

  • A Rake’s Progress, by William Hogarth

  • The Raft of the Medusa, by Gericault

  • Studio of a Painter, by Gustave Courbet

  • Composition C, by Piet Mondriaan

  • DNA Zygotic, by Jake & Dinos Chapman


  • Primaporta Augustus

  • The Arnolfini Portrait, Jan van Eyck

  • Virgin on the Rock, Leonardo daVinci

  • The anatomical lesson, Rembrandt

  • Portrait of Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame, François-Hubert Drouais

  • La Grande Odalisque, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

  • The Scream,  Edvard Munch

  • Guernica, Pablo Picasso

  • The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali

  • Campbell's Soup Cans, Andy Warhol

  • Every one I have ever slept with 1963-1995, also known as The Tent, Tracey Emin


  • The Winged Victory of Samothrace

  • Danaë with Eros, by Titian

  • The Maids of Honour, Velazquez

  • Allegory of Sight, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens

  • The Swing, by Fragonard

  • Ophelia, by Sir John Everett Millais

  • Impression: Sunrise, by Monet

  • A Wheatfield, with Cypresses, Vincent van Gogh

  • Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, by Pablo Picasso

  • Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? By Richard Hamilton

  • Holidays/no feelings, by Damian Hirst

  • Remembering, by Ai Weiwei


  • Portrait of Pope Innocent X,Diego Velázquez,c. 1650 

  • Napoleon I,Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres,1806

  • Portrait of Madame X, John Singer Sargent,1884

  • Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, Lucian Freud, 1995

Mariska at Orleans House
Alan Read talk Strawberry Hill House
Richmond Talk
Mariska online lecture
Emma Rose
Art History Courses London
Lecture Chiswick



Little known Museums in London: 

  • Apsley House,

  • the Courtauld Galleries,

  • Dulwich Picture Gallery,

  • the Guildhall Art Gallery, 

  • the Wallace Collection

Art Tours London
Private Tour Orleans House
Art Collection Tour London
Private Tour the Buldog Trust

We have also run private visits to Small Historical Buildings and Collections in London, which were sometimes lead by wonderful curators and tour guides associated with the collection, sometimes by our own lecturers


  • Mansion House

  • Southside House

  • Royal Hospital Chelsea

  • 2 Temple Place

  • Dorich House

  • Apsley House

  • Ham House

  • Chiswick House

  • Osterley Park House

  • Serpentine Gallery

  • Strawberry Hill House

  • Syon House

Art Historical London
Michael for AHL at the National Gallery
Private Group Visit
Private Group Visit

Specialist Groups are frequently run, designed around

special interest groups and subject matters.


We have run:

  • Private guided tour at the Jewish Museum

  • Black Presences in National Collections

  • Mothers and baby groups

  • Islamic Art

  • Chinese Art

  • Influence of Japanese art & design on the West

  • Fashion & materials

  • the Old Operating Theatre

  • War memorials

War Memorial Tour
Islamic Art at the British Museum
Private Tour Museum of London
Private Tour
Chinese art V&A
Tate Britain

Previous Online Live Virtual Museum Visits:

  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

  • Mauritshuis Museum, The Hague, Holland

  • The Louvre Abu Dhabi

  • Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice

  • The Cloisters, New York

  • Rodin Museum, Paris

  • Lázaro Galdiano Museum, Madrid

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

  • Staatliche Museen, Berlin

For summaries of previous lectures, please visit out hand outs page, where these can be ordered for a small admin fee.
Luisella online tour Venice
Mauritshuis private tour online

Live Online Virtual Walking Tours:

  • St Mark's Square, Venice

  • Leiden, The Netherlands

  • Quartier Latin, Paris

Luisella online tour Venice
Luisella online tour Venice
Tina Covid Tour
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