History of Art

If I were to teach a course on history of art, where would I start? Perhaps with a rectanglar blue painting by Yves Klein. And then something a bit older: a carved rock surface. Then some late Titian. And Julia Margaret Cameron, Imogen Cunningham and Tina Modotti to represent photography. And Hokusai’s late Fuji works. That would be the first lecture. The second lecture would be an exploration of the images in Corbusier’s Towards an Architecture, in particular the analyses of Notre Dame and the Parthenon. The third lecture would be cancelled at short notice and students would be asked to explore the library in its physical form, not through the catalogue. The fourth lecture would be about bookbinding as a craft, and would be given by someone other than myself. The fifth lecture would be about Einstein, starting with his emphasis on the importance of craft apprenticeship. The sixth lecture would be a showing of Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. The seventh lecture would be entitled ‘Abstraction is Representation’. The eighth lecture would be reconvened in the cafeteria. The ninth lecture would be devoted to numerology, Albrecht Durer and the beauty of poured concrete. Week ten would be an examination week, and students and teachers would be required to examine and reflect on their own knowledge by making a short film.

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