For the avid followers of Andrew Graham-Dixon, of which I am one, I recommend several short courses run by the Bishopsgate Institute on exploring London’s art galleries. For the past several Friday’s art historian and tutor Aleks Zaczek-Gbiorczyk, has expertly navigated our group through the National Gallery and Tate Modern to explain the history and context behind some fine artworks. I confess I am an amateur when it comes to art history, I can broadly classify works into periods and identify key artists from their style, a Turner from a Rothko if you like..but that's about it. The course has given me is a deeper understanding of the chronology of art movements and the impact of historic events on the creation of styles and themes. Aleks selected a wide range of work with each week focusing on a thematic purpose to explain the development of form and movements - take the development of perspective in early icon painting for example. The great thing about the course is that it allows you to stand in front of a piece of work and through Aleks deep knowledge start to fully appreciate its context and through that its possible meaning. I do enjoy spending time in galleries, the ability to dip in for a brief spell and take in a few rooms is a great privilege (especially considering the National and the Tate are in the most part free), this course has heightened this enjoyment as I now have a deeper understanding of the artist and the history of the great movements. Check out the Bishopsgate Institute for the next course in this series
If you are passing the National Gallery and have 15 mins spare I urge you to see the Wilton Diptych, this has been one of the most stunning works of art I have seen in many years, it is full of symbolism and beautifully crafted; for me It has been the highlight of the course.