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Learn to connect works of art to history. What was happening politically, socially, and culturally at the time the piece was made? How did these circumstances shape the artist’s formal choices?

Art in Context / Understanding Materials and Techniques / The Barnes Method

The Barnes-de Mazia Certificate Program

Monday, January 22 – Tuesday, May 1
This special track offers an immersion in the Barnes method and an introduction to other interpretive approaches.
Art in Context

A Brief History of French Cinema

Mondays, January 22 – February 12, 6 – 8pm
Dive into the history of French cinema from the silent era to the present—just in time for our upcoming Jean Renoir exhibition!
Art in Context

An Introduction to Contemporary Art

Tuesdays, January 23 – February 27, 1 – 3pm
What makes art “contemporary”? How do we determine what’s “good” in the art of our time? The answers to these questions are complex—much like contemporary art itself.
Art in Context

Matisse: In Color and Light

Tuesdays, January 23 – May 1, 1 – 4pm
Matisse presented the world with dazzling brilliance, and fauvism was only the beginning of his explorations.
Art in Context

Les Artistes et leurs musées sur la Côte d’Azur*

Tuesdays, January 23 – February 13, 2 – 4pm
Ce cours examine la vie et le travail des grands artistes du XXe siècle—Chagall, Cocteau, Léger, Matisse, Picasso, et Renoir—dont les noms sont associés à l’art du Riviera. *Taught in French.
Art in Context

Modigliani, Pascin, Soutine: Life in Montparnasse

Tuesdays, January 23 – May 1, 6 – 8pm
Living in 1920s Paris, the artists shared a fascination with café life and earned a reputation as peintres maudits (cursed painters). Explore their emotional responses to their surroundings.
Art in Context

Chinese Buddhist Art: A Journey Across Time and Space

Tuesdays, January 23 – February 13, 6 – 8pm
Buddhism’s spread from India to China led to the emergence of a distinctive Chinese Buddhist art. Discuss some of the major works, including paintings, sculptures, cave temples, and monasteries.
Art in Context

African-American Culture and Music: Part I

Wednesdays, February 21 – March 14, 6 – 8pm
DJ Rich Medina explores Dr. Barnes’s relationship with the African-American community, focusing on Barnes’s love of spirituals and involvement with the Harlem Renaissance.
Art in Context

Impressionism and Japonisme

Wednesdays, April 4 – April 25, 6 – 8pm
Investigate how Monet, Whistler, Van Gogh, Degas, and other painters incorporated Japanese themes and imagery into their respective work.
Art in Context

Drawing as "Feminine" Practice?

Mondays, April 9 – April 30, 6 – 8pm
A look at drawings in the Barnes collection—often dismissed in their day as "feminine"—and those by contemporary artists, including Kara Walker, who use the medium to make powerful political statements.
Art in Context

Modern Municipal Progress: A History of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Mondays, April 9 – April 30, 6 – 8pm
Explore the history of Philadelphia before, during, and after construction of the parkway, and find out why the optimistic vision of its planners was not fully realized.
Art in Context

Art, Craft, Design: What’s the Difference?

Mondays, April 16 – May 7, 6 – 8pm
Spanning the 18th to 20th centuries, this course considers the changing relationships—and often exciting overlaps—between art and craft.
Art in Context

Cézanne and His Land

Tuesdays, May 1 – May 22, 6 – 8pm
Cézanne felt a passionate, visceral bond to his native Provence, feelings that manifested themselves above all in his landscape paintings.
Art in Context

African-American Culture and Music: Part II

Wednesdays, May 2 – May 23, 6 – 8pm
Join DJ Rich Medina for part two of this special course exploring Dr. Barnes’s relationship with the African-American community during the period of the Harlem Renaissance.