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Thursdays, September 12 – October 10, 2 – 4pm


Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Dramatic Poetry (Aeschylus) (detail), c. 1896. The Barnes Foundation, BF100. Public Domain.

$220; members $198
(4 classes; no class October 12)

About the Class

How does visual art relate to other forms of creative expression? In this four-session course, we’ll explore the poetic inspirations for many paintings in the Barnes collection. Focusing on a different visual artist in each session, we’ll draw out the connections between painting and poetry and the similar ways they communicate an artist’s philosophy, desires, or cultural orientation. Relevant paintings include Henri Matisse’s Bonheur de Vivre, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’s Dramatic Poetry, and Giorgio de Chirico’s The Arrival.

The class is online-only. More about online classes.

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Barnes classes will:

  • Sharpen your observational and critical thinking skills.
  • Improve your ability to communicate about art.
  • Deepen your appreciation for cultures and histories outside your own.

See all classes.


Laura L. Watts

Watts is professor emerita in art history at Daemen University, in Amherst, New York, and has taught for more than 30 years on subjects including modernism, contemporary art, and visual literacy. Her book Italian Painting in the Age of Unification (Routledge, 2021) won the Visual Arts Award from the American Association of Italian Studies. She is currently researching the artistic connections between Bermuda and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Recent Barnes Class Testimonials

“Naina Saligram is the professor everyone hopes to have. She is knowledgeable and open to listening to her students.” The Classical Tradition in Modern Art with Naina Saligram

“I learned so much in this class, especially things I would not have considered or did not learn when taking art history classes in college.” Portraiture at the Barnes: From the 15th Century to Modernism with Laura Watts

“Kaelin is an amazing professor and has so much knowledge about the collection and the Barnes Foundation. She makes the content interesting and encourages your ideas and questions.” The Traditions of Art with Kaelin Jewell

“I love Cézanne’s art. I am a neuroscientist and always use Cézanne as an example of an artist when I teach vision and the art of seeing. This class helped me appreciate Cézanne’s work even more [and] was very engaging.” Close-Looking Immersion: Cézanne’s Ginger Jar with William Perthes

“The instructor was amazing! She was extremely knowledgeable, friendly, funny, and open to questions. She brought in outside resources and made herself available via email for questions between classes. I would take anything she teaches.” The Impressionists: Friends and Family with Caterina Pierre