Connoisseurship: who painted what, when and how to tell
Two-day short course
Saturday 1 December 2018 10am - 11.59pm
Wolfson British Academy Room, 6 Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts
£540. Includes all materials, light refreshments, lunch and a wine reception.
Terms and conditions
Following the stellar success of his previous courses, renowned art historian and dealer Dr Bendor Grosvenor returns to the Royal Academy of Arts to lead an intensive weekend course focusing on connoisseurship – relevant for art lovers, collectors and art-world professionals.
In this intensive expert-led weekend course, Dr Bendor Grosvenor explores connoisseurship – the art of authenticating and dating artworks – with a focus on Old Master paintings. Participants will be introduced to the history of connoisseurship and its current practices. They will then be guided in how to assess the quality, significance, authenticity and provenance of a work of art for themselves, using both traditional and new scientific techniques. The course presents an exciting opportunity to discover what connoisseurship is all about and to see first-hand how and when it is relevant today.
Connoisseurship is a word that has become loaded with controversy, both in the field of art history and in professional practice. But at its heart it is a simple skill: the ability to tell which artist painted a painting, when they painted it, and how. It is, of course, crucial for those who work in the art trade and can make or break reputations – and fortunes.
But connoisseurship is also an essential skill for art lovers of all kinds, whether 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 has many benefits. And while connoisseurship takes time to perfect, the basic elements are easy and enjoyable to learn.
The focus of the course will be practical, as we get up close to Old Masters and other works by great artists. Through hands-on experience, led by 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? Have there been later interventions, and have these either hid or flattered a painting’s true quality?
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 afresh with increased confidence, knowledge and curiosity.
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.
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.
£540 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