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Thursdays, May 4 – May 25, 3 – 5pm


Andre Derain. The Dance (detail), 1906. Fridart Foundation, London. Erich Lessing / Art Resource, New York. © 2022 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

$220; members $198
(4 classes)

About the Class

In Baudelaire’s 1863 essay “The Painter of Modern Life,” the writer describes art as dual in nature: one half must express modernity, which is transient and fugitive, while the other half must be timeless, immutable, eternal. Modern art’s ties to dance may first bring to mind painters of dance such as Edgar Degas, but for a generation of modern artists, dance stood more broadly as an emblem of the modern synthesis of the fleeting and the eternal.

In this course, we will examine modern dance pioneers, including Isadora Duncan, Josephine Baker, and Merce Cunningham, in the context of iconic artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Robert Rauschenberg. Through presentation, close looking, and discussion, we will navigate aesthetic, scientific, and philosophical movements that interlaced modern art with the dance of its time.

The class is online-only. 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.

Andre Derain. The Dance, 1906. Fridart Foundation, London. Erich Lessing / Art Resource, New York. © 2022 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris


Nell Andrew

Andrew is associate professor of art history and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Modernisms Workshop at the University of Georgia in Athens. She previously held positions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago. Her recent book, Moving Modernism: The Urge to Abstraction in Painting, Dance, Cinema (Oxford, 2020), tells a history of abstraction through the European avant-garde’s engagement with the moving arts of dance and film.

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