Connoisseurship: who painted what, when and how to tell

Two-day short course

Courses and Classes

  • 30 June 2018, 10am — 5pm
  • 1 July 2018, 10am — 5pm

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Renowned art historian and dealer Dr Bendor Grosvenor returns to the Royal Academy of Arts to lead an intensive weekend-long course focusing on connoisseurship – the art of authenticating and dating paintings – relevant for lovers of the arts, collectors and art-world professionals.

In this intensive, expert-led weekend course, Bendor Grosvenor explores key steps in the connoisseurial process with a focus on Old Master paintings. Participants will be introduced to the history and evolution of connoisseurship as well as current practices and guided in how to assess the quality, significance, authenticity and provenance of a work of art, using both traditional and new scientific techniques. The course presents an exciting opportunity to revisit key questions within connoisseurship and see first-hand how and when it is relevant today.

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 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.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 30 June 2018, 10am — 5pm
  • 1 July 2018, 10am — 5pm

The Keeper's House Studio, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

£540. Includes all materials, light refreshments, lunch and a wine reception.

Book now