Connoisseurship: who painted what, when and how to tell
Two-day short course
2 December 2017 10am - 5pm3 December 2017 10am - 5pm
The General Assembly Room, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly
£540. Includes all materials, light refreshments, lunch and a wine reception at the end of both days.
Terms and conditions
Renowned art historian and dealer Dr Bendor Grosvenor leads an intensive weekend-long course focussing on connoisseurship – the art of authenticating and dating paintings, relevant for lovers of the arts, collectors and art world professionals.
Connoisseurship is a word that has become loaded with many controversial connotations in art history. But at its heart it is a simple and useful skill; the ability to tell which artist painted a painting, when they painted it, and how. It is, of course, a crucial ability to have in the art trade, and one which can make or break reputations, as well as fortunes. But it’s also an essential skill for art lovers of all kinds, be they museum curators, new collectors, or enthusiastic gallery visitors. In an age of increasingly sophisticated fakes, and the constant emergence of new ‘discoveries’, being able to discern with confidence whether a painting is genuine or not can have many benefits. And while connoisseurship is something that takes time to perfect, the basic elements are easy and enjoyable to learn.
Art history is too often taught from small illustrations in books. In this course, participants will be encouraged to explore a new way of seeing art. The focus of the course will be practical as we get up close to – and even beneath – masterpieces by great artists. Through hands-on experience with renowned specialists, participants will learn how to assess the quality and status of a painting; is it an original, a copy, or even an outright fake? They will learn how to assess a painting’s condition, and the extent to which later interventions can either hide a painting’s true quality, or flatter it. The theory and history of connoisseurship will also be explored, along with the latest scientific techniques for assessing attribution. Above all, the course will encourage those who love looking at paintings to look at them with increased confidence, knowledge and curiosity.
About the course
With an introduction to the theory and history of connoisseurship, this two-day course explores in detail how to assess the quality and status of an artwork. Traditional methods combined with the latest scientific techniques for assessing attribution and provenance will be introduced by art specialists and discussed by participants in small group debates and critiques during both days.
The course will be delivered through a lecture format but will include an opportunity for questions and discussion between speakers and participants.
The course is designed to enable an historical overview for those new to the field, but is relevant for those with prior knowledge experience keen to learn from experts.
This course is for you if:
• You would like to learn new skills to help you identify artists and artworks
• You would like to understand how to analyse artworks by learning the methods and techniques applied by leading experts within the industry
• You would like the opportunity to develop your understanding of artworks, and to establish a more confident knowledge of the art world in a small group setting and get inspiration from peer group discussion and debate
Minimum age 18
This course is suitable for all levels.
Saturday 2 – Sunday 3 December 2017
10.00am – 5.00pm on both days
• Expert-led advice and feedback, including a group discussion and critique
• Written materials and handouts created specifically for the course
• Light refreshments at the beginning of each day
• A drinks reception at the end of both days
• A certificate of participation upon course completion
About the tutor – Bendor Grosvenor
Dr Bendor Grosvenor is an art historian and dealer, best known for discovering a number of lost works of art by artists such as Van Dyck, Rubens and Gainsborough. He worked for ten years in the London art trade, but is now based in Edinburgh, where he focuses on writing and broadcasting. He presents the BBC4 series, Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, did specialist research for and appeared in BBC 1’s Fake or Fortune?, and writes regularly for publications such as the Financial Times and The Art Newspaper. He has for many years been a passionate advocate of both Old Masters and connoisseurship.