The Connoisseurs Circle Courses

Lecture Courses
Connoisseurs Circle members may audit all lecture courses at the IFA. Registration is not

Registration and pre-approval is required to audit a colloquium. To register, please contact Andrea at or 212-992-5812. Members are permitted to audit one to two colloquia per semester, based on availability.

Fall 2013(For the Spring 2014 courses, click here)

September 3 through December 13

Italy: Architecture and Urban Design (1860-1980)
Jean-Louis Cohen

Monday, 12:30-2:30pm
This course examines the transformations in Italian architectural culture between the Unification of the country and the Postmodern shift of the late 1970s. Movements such as Liberty, Futurism, Novecento, Rationalism, and Neo-Realism are put in perspective against the background of the urbanization of the country. The intricate relationship entertained by architecture and politics during the Fascist ventennio, and after World War II, is deconstructed.

Robert Slifkin

Monday, 12:30-2:30pm, Colloquium
Emerging in the early 1960s as a bracing antidote to the romantic humanism associated with
Abstract Expression, minimal art arguably remains the defining aesthetic paradigm of our times. Surveying the extensive body of literature surrounding minimal art—from artists' statements, to its initial critical reception, to more recent revisionist accounts of the movement, this course will address both the changing methodological approaches applied to it (feminism, biography, social art history) as well as the endurance of certain models contemporaneous to its original reception (phenomenology, formalism, post-structuralism).

The History and Meaning of Museums
Philippe de Montebello

Tuesday, 10am-12:00pm, Lecture
Survey of selected issues in the prehistory of the museum such as collecting in classical antiquity through the Renaissance; the Kunstkammer; the birth of the "modern" museum in the Enlightenment; and the early history of the major European institutions in the 19th and 20th centuries as they emerged alongside the new scientific disciplines of archaeology and art history. The museum of today is examined in function of its roles in our age of globalization. This is a new and improved installment of this course.

Around 1200: Islamic Art, Islamic Art and the Pre-Modern Intercultural
Finbarr Barry Flood

Tuesday, 3-5:00pm, Colloquium
This colloquium will offer a synchronic transect across the arts of the Islamic world, considering material, textual, and visual evidence for the existence of a pre-Mongol 'global' horizon of artistic creativity in the Islamic world around 1200 CE. There will be a critical focus on recent trends in scholarship that emphasize the mobility and translation of cultural forms across ethnic, political and sectarian boundaries, on their utility and limits as both historical phenomena and modern categories of analysis.

Art in Mexico from the Revolution to 'La Ruptura' [c. 1910-1950]
Edward Sullivan

Tuesday, 3-5:00pm, Lecture
This course will deal principally with painting and graphic arts in Mexico from the
Revolutionary period to the 1950s. It begins with the introduction c. 1910 of international modes of art (Symbolism, Post-Impressionism etc.) at a critical moment of modernization and
industrialization of the nation. The Revolution (1910-20) had a profound impact, compelling
artists to emphasize a nationalistic approach in their work, especially in muralism. These lectures will also consider themes related to the "Mexican School of Painting" and foreign artists working in Mexico.

Art Since 1940: The View from London
Thomas Crow

Wednesday, 12:30-2:30pm, Lecture
Since 1990, British art has gained considerable international prominence but still remains
relatively unassimilated into American accounts of recent art history. This is even more the case for art from the UK prior to that date, yet the success of its more recent art is predicated upon what came before, beginning with the post-war painting of Francis Bacon and the pioneering Pop of the Independent Group of the 1950s. This lecture course offers an overview of recent art across America and Europe but one seen from a British rather than a received American perspective.

Art and Archaeology of Early and Medieval China
Hsueh-man Shen

Wednesday, 12:30-2:30pm, Lecture
This lecture series surveys the history of Chinese art from the Neolithic era to the fourteenth
century CE. It considers objects in the archaeological contexts from which they were unearthed, and maps them onto the visual and material cultures surrounding them, in order to reconstruct their functions and meanings. It also serves as an introduction to major types of excavation conducted in China, which include tomb burials, treasure hoards, fortified settlements, cavetemples, ceramic kilns, and sunken ships. Visits to The Metropolitan Museum of Art are required. No knowledge of Chinese is expected.

Introduction to the Study of Medieval and Renaissance Architecture
Marvin Trachtenberg

Wednesday, 3-5:00pm, Colloquium
This course offers an introduction to medieval and Renaissance architecture through the study of a broad range of issues. These include the paradox of the Gothic column; the origins and logic of the rib-vaulting system; the possibility of a medieval modernism; Richard Krautheimer's celebrated theory of medieval architectural iconography and questions of architectural authorship; temporalities of architectural design and facture, and related topics.

Multiple Civilizations: Ancient Egypt in its African Context
David O'Connor

Thursday, 10am-12:00pm, Lecture
It is well known that ancient Egyptian civilization, while distinctive in its cultural forms,
impacted upon, and was influenced by the other early civilizations of the Near East and the
Eastern Mediterranean basin. It is less appreciated that Egyptian civilization was but one of
several interconnected African civilizations. This course is structured as a comparative study of these several civilizations, including that of Egypt, exploring the very different trajectories they followed, especially as regards art and architecture and the varied worlds of thought and meaning these conveyed; but also considering the influences of each upon the others, and the transformed and reinterpreted results of that process.

Jonathan Brown

Thursday, 12:30-2:30pm, Colloquium
This reading course is dedicated to the examination of the life and career of the great Spanish master Velázquez. Students will focus on his early period in Seville, the interpretation of his major works and his continuing influence on the artists of our time. Reading knowledge of Spanish is helpful but not obligatory.

Art in the Age of Empires
Priscilla Soucek

Thursday, 12:30-2:30pm, Lecture
This course explores the role of the visual arts in the dynastic identity of three empires: the
Ottomans, the Safavids, and the Mughals. Historical accounts of these dynasties often focus on their military rivalry or their differing approaches to the practice of Islam. What these differences mask, however, are the important ways they shared artistic and cultural values, particularly in the realms of literature and the arts of the book.

Golden Age of Spanish Painting
Jonathan Brown

Friday, 10am-12:00pm, Colloquium/Lecture
The course offers a survey of Spanish painting from ca. 1580 – 1700, with emphasis on the
major artists — El Greco, Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo. Each section will begin with an
introductory lecture by the instructor, which is followed by individual presentations based on
selected readings. Reading knowledge of Spanish is helpful but not obligatory.

Fountainebleau's Stylistic Synthesis: Toward a New International Style
Colin Eisler

Friday, 10am-12:00pm, Colloquium
Due to its unique combination of sources, Europe's wealthiest court's synergy among artists from Flanders, Italy and France generated a novel Pan European stylistic situation. The ongoing influence of Fontainebleau in contemporary Flanders and Italy as well as in the seventeenth century will be examined. Classroom meetings will be supplemented by four museum visits to the Metropolitan, Morgan and Public Libraries for hands-on examination of Arms and Armor, Furniture, Printed Books, Ceramics, Manuscripts, Sculpture, Tapestry, Enamels, Prints and Drawings.

Connoisseurs Executive Committee

Stephen R. Beckwith, Chairman
William L. Bernhard
Roberta Huber
Judy Steinhardt
Alicia Volk

Ex Officio
Patricia Rubin

France Study Tour
The IFA Legacy Society
Corporate Patron Program