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Wednesdays, November 10 – December 8, 6 – 8pm


Jean-Léon Gérôme. Working in Marble, or The Artist Sculpting Tanagra (detail), 1890. Dahesh Museum of Art, New York. © Dahesh Museum of Art, New York / Bridgeman Images

$220; members $198
(4 classes; no class November 24)

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?

About the Class

The model is an integral part of a work of art. This online course explores the behind-the-scenes realities of the artist’s model across time, moving from antiquity to early 20th-century Paris. When did modeling first emerge as a profession and why? How did the role change over time, mirroring social and political changes? How much input did models have into the creative process? What were the sexual dynamics of the artist’s studio in 19th-century Paris?

In telling this story, we will delve into lively memoirs by artist models such as Fernande Olivier (Loving Picasso) and Kiki de Montparnasse (The Education of a French Model), as well as accounts by painters. We will also explore a wealth of imagery—cartoons, historic photographs of posing sessions, and artist’s depictions of models at work in their own studios by Gérôme, Courbet, Seurat, Matisse, and others.

More about online classes.


Working in Marble by Jean-Léon Gérôme.


Kedra Kearis

Part of the Barnes Art Team, Kearis is a PhD candidate in art history at Temple University. She specializes in art and visual culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her research emphasizes the artistic exchange between France and America, the new woman, and the transnational portrait of the Gilded Age. Her dissertation has been supported by the New-York Historical Society, the Association of Historians of American Art, and the Victorian Society in America.

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.