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Fridays, April 7 – April 28, 2 – 4pm


Babylonian. Panel with striding lion, c. 604-562 BC. Fletcher Fund, 1931. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 31.13.2

$220; members $198
(4 classes)

About the Class

Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, was a crossroads of the ancient world. From the first city of Uruk and its mythical ruler Gilgamesh to the spectacular might of the Assyrian Empire, the lands of modern Iraq and Syria saw the rise and fall of many societies. In this course, we will examine the artistic traditions and themes of Mesopotamian societies over the course of 3,000 years, exploring how art was used to express culture, power, religion, and mythology.

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.


Carl Walsh

Walsh was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Barnes, where he conducted an in-depth study of the collection’s Egyptian antiquities. He earned a PhD from University College London and has taught at Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. His research focuses on reconstructing the sensorial experiences of ancient Egyptian and Nubian peoples.

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