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Lives of the Artists

At the height of the Italian renaissance the painter, architect and writer Giorgio Vasari wrote The Lives of the Artists, said to be the first work of art history. Inspired by Vasari’s engrossing book, this course will tell the vivid life stories of some of the most fascinating artists of all time, as well as being some of the most talented and influential. Tales of passion, murder and intrigue, tragic failure and phenomenal success. A journey from ancient Greece to modern New York. Suitable for people interested in art and the human condition.


We are currently confirming times and dates for this course. Please register your interest below or contact us for more information.

What topics are covered?

The course will start with the very first visual artists we know of, working in caves and on rocks. We shall quickly move forward to the celebrated geniuses of ancient Europe and Asia. But most of what we can discover about these early pioneers will prove to be clouded by legend and myth. It was Vasari, an artist and architect himself, who brought lifelike, believable figures out of the shadows of the past, spicing his detailed artistic analysis with gossip and scandal, plus a pinch of legend and myth. Some of the artists he wrote about he knew himself, as friends and rivals. We shall weave the story of Vasari’s own life in with those of the artists he describes, including Giotto, Duccio and Brunelleschi, Piero della Francesca, Leonardo and Titian.

Over the weeks of the course we shall move forward and back through time, to get under the skin of such outstanding artists of their era as Picasso and Matisse, Rembrandt and Rubens, Warhol and Basquiat, Caravaggio and Gentileschi, Pollock and Gorky, van Gogh and Gauguin, Goya and Delacroix. Bourgeois and Beuys, Michelangelo and Raphael.

Who is the course aimed at?

Anyone interested in art and the human condition.

Who will be my tutor?

Name:Geoff Dunlop


Geoff Dunlop is an artist curator and writer. He has had a camera close to hand since early childhood. Still and moving images are essential to his work as an artist curator, where he combines his often largescale digital prints and projections with the approach of a painter and installation artist. He makes exhibitions and shows work in Bath, Bristol and London, and occasionally in Europe, North America and Asia. Before establishing himself in the visual arts, Geoff travelled the world as an award winning filmmaker and photographer. His films have been seen on every continent except Antarctica and his photographs have been published in books, magazines and newspapers. His films on art and artists have been shown at the Tate, National and ICA galleries in London; the Metropolitan, Whitney and Broadcasting museums in New York; and the Pompidou centre in Paris.

How will I learn?

Lectures using projected illustrations, questioning and group discussions with informal group activities.

Where will I need to go on my first day?

On your first day, please report to the Reception in the Roper Building at City Centre Campus.

What do I need to bring?

Writing materials or tablet/laptop if you prefer.

What else do I need to know?

When you have been enrolled on your course you will receive a confirmation email containing information about where to go, campus information, parking and the Student Code of Conduct. This email will be sent to the email address provided in the online booking.You will be required to wear a photographic ID badge at all times when in College. Please email a passport style photograph stating your full name and course title in the subject line to StudentID@bathcollege.ac.uk

To avoid disappointment, please make sure you enrol on your chosen course early. Decisions regarding running or cancelling a course are made one week prior to the start of the course. If a course is cancelled, you will be informed and your course fees refunded in full. Please see Terms and Conditions of Enrolment.The course will not run on bank holidays or during half term. Please check the term dates.

Cancelling your enrolment

If you have to cancel your enrolment please notify us by email: info@bathcollege.ac.uk as soon as possible.

Refunds will not be issued if a learner is unable to attend due to a change of mind including concerns about Covid-19, accommodation, domestic circumstances, work commitments or if the College requires a learner to leave for reasons of conduct.

Click here to access our Covid-19 FAQ - https://www.bathcollege.ac.uk/news/84413

Where can I find out more information?

If you need help or answers to specific questions, please contact the Student Advice Centre on 01225 312191 ext 720 or email info@bathcollege.ac.uk.

How do I enrol?

You can enrol on this course:

Online: Click the "Add to Cart" button to enrol online.
Phone: Call 01225 328720 during our opening hours
Post: Download the Love2learn Learning Agreement and send to Student Advice Centre, Bath College, Avon Street, Bath BA1 1UP.
In person: Visit the Student Advice Centre in either of our campuses

Please see how to enrol for more detailed information.


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