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Wednesdays, May 3 – May 24, 12 – 2pm


Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Luncheon (detail), 1875. BF45. Public Domain.

$220; members $198
(4 classes)

About the Class

Pierre-Auguste Renoir occupies the strange position of being one of the most beloved artists of all time yet also one of the most reviled. In this online class presented live from the Barnes galleries—home to the largest Renoir collection in the world—we will survey the artist’s paintings and discuss some of the specific criticisms they have inspired across the decades. We will then consider this question: what if his work is more interesting than we thought? After discussing Renoir’s theories of art, we will look closely at several canvases to develop a better appreciation for his craftsmanship and how it reflects the values of the early 20th century. Renoir haters will be encouraged to rethink their opinions—but are also welcome to dig in their heels!

This online class is being presented live from the Barnes collection galleries. More about online classes.

This course will:

  • Increase your understanding of art-related concepts.
  • Increase the ways you think critically about art.
  • Improve your ability to communicate about art.
  • Deepen your appreciation for cultures and histories outside your own.


Martha Lucy

Lucy is the deputy director for research, interpretation and education at the Barnes. As an art historian, she specializes in modern European art and visual culture. She is the coauthor of Renoir in the Barnes Foundation and has published articles and essays on topics ranging from the early charcoals of Odilon Redon to contemporary installation art.

Art in Context

Art in Context courses connect works of art to history: What was happening politically, socially, and culturally at the time a piece was made? How did these circumstances shape the artist’s formal choices?

Recent Barnes Class Testimonials

“[The] professor was highly engaging, facilitated excellent discussions, and [was] very knowledgeable. I learned a lot about teaching art history from watching her.” Course: Matisse and Picasso with Martha Lucy

“Every single second of the course was a productive, valuable, and interesting use of my time. The instructor's enthusiasm and reference to outside resources sparked a greater interest in me as a learner and resulted in me exploring even more on my own. I couldn't have enjoyed the experience more.” Course: Salvador Dalí: Surrealism and Beyond with Jonathan Wallis

“I am not an artist and prior to this course I had not thought about what an artist might be 'thinking,' as opposed to 'feeling.' I loved this course and plan to immerse myself in color theory.” Course: Visualizing Memory with Lucas Kelly

“This course is equal to or exceeds art history courses I have taken at several major universities in terms of syllabus and quality of instruction.” Course: The School of Paris with Joseph Tokumasu Field