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Museum Masterpieces: The National Gallery, London

Explore the halls of London's greatest museum with this exciting and visually sumptuous course by a acclaimed professor of art history.

Museum Masterpieces: The National Gallery, London is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 63.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nicely Curated Coverage of Artwork Having visited the National Gallery in London, I appreciated this course as a reflection on the artwork I saw there. The professor did a great job, narrowing down the many masterpieces and providing information on the artists and the art works. Viewing this course before visiting the National Gallery would be great preparation to enjoying the art there. Seeing the course after visiting was wonderful as well.
Date published: 2024-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Prof spoke in organized and approachable ways that translated into a systematic and understandable appreciation of these great works and artists.
Date published: 2024-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Course! A very comprehensive and enjoyable course. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2022-12-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Informative lectures I thought Professor Scallen sometimes went into a little too much detail on certain points, such as the history of the paintings and the lives of the artists. I would have liked more analysis of the paintings. I also thought that Professor Scallen's presentation was a little dry and sometimes lacked enthusiasm - she rarely said how beautiful many of the paintings were! However, despite these reservations, I enjoyed the lectures, and they certainly increased my knowledge of the collection at the National Gallery.
Date published: 2022-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting lectures I have not completely finished the course but have found the lectures to be interesting and very informative
Date published: 2022-03-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good content but . . . Nice course. Too bad the video was fuzzy. It looks like this was done for another company more than 10 years ago and brought over to The Great Courses. When you're looking at artwork, the poor resolution doesn't help at all!!!
Date published: 2022-03-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Knowlledgeable Dr. Scallen provides detailed information, interesting interpretations and seems to have thoroughly researched the material. She knows her subject as well as anyone could possibly know it, but as other reviewers have mentioned, her presentation is dry, mechanical, and boring.
Date published: 2022-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth more than one viewing I bought this course to prepare me for a visit to the National Gallery on an upcoming visit to London. That purpose was perfectly served. Now returned, I find myself going back to view lectures because they are so well done.
Date published: 2021-11-07
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Overview

Take a virtual tour of this world-class collection in Museum Masterpieces: The National Gallery, London. In 24 fascinating lectures, noted art scholar Professor Catherine B. Scallen provides a memorable introduction to this remarkable artistic institution and its magnificent masterworks. More than just a gallery tour, this course is also a comprehensive overview of the history of European painting.

About

Catherine B. Scallen

The historical study of art provides a rich and tangible connection to past cultures that makes history come alive.

INSTITUTION

Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Catherine B. Scallen is Associate Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she has been teaching for more than 10 years. She earned her undergraduate degree in history from Wellesley College as a Wellesley Scholar. She went on to earn her M.A. with honors from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art and her Ph.D. in Art History from Princeton University. After receiving her doctorate, she held a graduate internship in the Paintings Department of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Professor Scallen's scholarship has centered on the art of the 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn, the subject of many of her articles. She is the author of Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship. Professor Scallen has served as a faculty study leader on trips to The Netherlands and Belgium for the Cleveland Museum of Art, Princeton University, and Case Western Reserve University. She has also provided audio commentary for Flemish Paintings from the Hermitage Museum, an exhibition on 17th-century Flemish art held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

By This Professor

The Story of the National Gallery, London

01: The Story of the National Gallery, London

The history of the National Gallery is nearly as intriguing as its masterpieces. In your introduction to this great collection, you learn the story behind its founding, take a quick tour of the galleries' floor plan, and get a sneak peek behind the scenes to see how these masterpieces are preserved and exhibited.

36 min
Late Medieval Painting

02: Late Medieval Painting

You begin your tour in the Sainsbury wing, which displays the gallery's European paintings from 1250 to 1500. This lecture examines the late medieval "Italo-Byzantine" style, in which artists borrowed techniques from the art of the eastern Roman Empire to depict religious topics.

30 min
Early Renaissance Italian Painting

03: Early Renaissance Italian Painting

Moving into the 15th century, you witness a shift from a medieval Gothic-inspired aesthetic to the more naturalistic approach to art that was pioneered in the Renaissance. Masterpieces such as Uccello's Battle of San Romano reflect a new interest in secular topics and the development of more convincing perspective systems.

31 min
Netherlandish Portraits and Devotional Images

04: Netherlandish Portraits and Devotional Images

Netherlandish painters of the 15th century were also interested in a more naturalistic style, but they pursued that aim through a detailed optical illusionism rather than the use of linear perspective. The works of Jan Van Eyck and Geertgen tot sint Jans demonstrate the achievements of this tradition.

32 min
Florence-Center of 15th-Century Italian Art

05: Florence-Center of 15th-Century Italian Art

The art of Florence represents a high point in Renaissance painting. Here, you examine works of some of the most accomplished artists of this region, including Sandro Botticelli, Piero di Cosimo, and the Netherlandish transplant to Italy, Justus of Ghent.

29 min
15th-Century Venetian Art

06: 15th-Century Venetian Art

From about 1440 onward, elements of the new Renaissance artistic style began to appear in the art of northern Italy. Great artists of this tradition, including Andrea Mantegna and Antonello da Messina, adapted Florentine innovations, creating a new style that emphasized color and light.

33 min
The High Renaissance in Central Italy

07: The High Renaissance in Central Italy

The National Gallery's collection of paintings from the High Renaissance includes some of the most renowned artists of the period, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Glimpse their masterpieces as well as works by lesser-known but still quite remarkable artists of the period.

31 min
Titian and His Venetian Contemporaries

08: Titian and His Venetian Contemporaries

The National Gallery has an unsurpassed group of paintings by Renaissance master Titian that represents his great achievements from 1510 to the 1570s. Here, you examine some of Titian's masterworks alongside paintings by two of his early contemporaries.

31 min
Venetian Masters-Tintoretto and Veronese

09: Venetian Masters-Tintoretto and Veronese

While Titian was the dominant figure in 16th-century Venice, many other fine painters flourished there as well, including Tintoretto and Veronese. Their works, such as Tintoretto's Saint George and the Dragon, demonstrate these artists' masterful use of rich brushwork, light, and color.

29 min
Painting for the Courts, c. 1515–1575

10: Painting for the Courts, c. 1515–1575

Mannerism began to develop out of the High Renaissance style around 1520; it emphasized above all the virtuosity of the artist. View some of the finest examples of this style, including Correggio's The School of Love and Barocci's The Madonna and Child with Saint Joseph and the Infant Baptist.

33 min
Northern European Masters-Bosch to Bruegel

11: Northern European Masters-Bosch to Bruegel

Northern European painters of the 16th century were no less innovative than their Italian counterparts. From the psychological intensity of Bosch's Christ Mocked (The Crowning with Thorns) to Hans Holbein's remarkable portraits of the English court, you examine this rich tradition.

32 min
The Innovation of Carracci and Caravaggio

12: The Innovation of Carracci and Caravaggio

By the beginning of the 17th century, great artists such as Annibale Carracci and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio initiated an artistic revival in the Eternal City after a century of strife. Examine some of the National Gallery's greatest examples from this period, including Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus.

29 min
The Rise of French Art-Poussin and Claude

13: The Rise of French Art-Poussin and Claude

The 17th century was a golden age for French painting. You study the achievements of two revered painters of this period, Poussin and Claude Lorrain, both of whom combined history subjects with landscape in inventive ways.

31 min
Flemish Masters-Rubens and Van Dyck

14: Flemish Masters-Rubens and Van Dyck

The National Gallery offers the rare opportunity to examine the careers of two major 17th-century Flemish painters, Rubens and Van Dyck, as seen in a range of great paintings, including Rubens's Samson and Delilah and The Judgment of Paris and Van Dyck's Equestrian Portrait of Charles I.

29 min
A Golden Age of Spanish Painting

15: A Golden Age of Spanish Painting

The intensity found in the art of El Greco, a native of Crete whose career flourished in the 16th century, set the stage for huge developments in 17th-century Spanish art. Explore the National Gallery's remarkable collection of Spanish masters, such as Zurbarán, Velázquez, and Murillo.

31 min
Dutch History, Portraiture, Genre Scenes

16: Dutch History, Portraiture, Genre Scenes

In this first of three lectures on 17th-century Dutch painting, you take a close look at a selection of Dutch history paintings, portraits, and scenes of daily life and see how these works reflected the larger commercial market for art during this period.

28 min
Dutch Still Lifes, Townscapes, Landscapes

17: Dutch Still Lifes, Townscapes, Landscapes

Next, you turn from the human figure to the depiction of objects, buildings, and scenery in Dutch painting, exemplified in such masterworks as Hobbema's Avenue at Middelharnis and Cuyp's River Landscape with Horsemen and Peasants.

30 min
The Genius of Rembrandt

18: The Genius of Rembrandt

Unlike most Dutch artists of his time, Rembrandt did not specialize in one kind of subject, instead producing masterful portraits, religious scenes, and scenes of life. Trace the career of this most famous 17th-century Dutch artist from his first years of success in Amsterdam through his full maturity.

28 min
Venetian and Spanish Masters, c. 1740–1820

19: Venetian and Spanish Masters, c. 1740–1820

Starting with Giovanni Antonio Canal ("Canaletto"), you enter a new artistic world as seen in the grand decorative and history paintings of 18th-century Venice, while in the collection of Spanish paintings you encounter the dramatic still lifes of Melendez and striking portraits by Goya.

29 min
The Charms of 18th-Century French Painting

20: The Charms of 18th-Century French Painting

With its light-hearted subject matter, French painting of the 18th century contrasts strongly with the works of the previous century. Examine key examples of this charming era, including Lancret's Lady in a Garden Taking Coffee and Boucher's Pan and Syrinx, as well as a fascinating series of portraits.

29 min
British Painting Comes of Age

21: British Painting Comes of Age

British painting first flourished as an independent school in the 18th century. From William Hogarth's seriocomic Marriage A-la-Mode to the astonishing full-scale portrait of a horse by George Stubbs, Whistlejacket, you view breathtaking instances of British innovation.

29 min
British and French Masters, c. 1785–1860

22: British and French Masters, c. 1785–1860

Nature became the focus of painters in the late 18th- and early 19th-centuries, as British artists such as Gainsborough and Constable produced remarkable landscapes. Nature studies also dominated the work of French artists, as seen in Géricault's Horse Frightened by Lightning and Courbet's Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine.

31 min
Impressionism in France

23: Impressionism in France

Here, you explore the radical shift in vision undertaken by the Impressionists, represented in the National Gallery collection by some of the greatest masters, including Manet (Music in the Tuileries Gardens), Monet (The ater-Lily Pond), and Renoir (At the Theater).

33 min
Post-Impressionism

24: Post-Impressionism

Following an examination of the National Gallery's remarkable collection of works by Degas, you conclude your tour with a selection of paintings by some of the most renowned Post-Impressionists. Highlights include Van Gogh's Sunflowers and striking works by Seurat and Rousseau.

35 min