Take a Closer Look: Online Art Appreciation Courses 2024

Take part in these very special online courses – wherever you are.

Scheduled for winter, spring and autumn, these 8-week evening courses are the perfect way to learn more about art. Discover little-known works from the Gallery’s collection, get to know old favourites in more depth, and explore other great collections of the world with our expert art historians and guest speakers.  

Each course will take place online using Zoom webinar and will include time for a question and answer session where you can put your questions and comments to the facilitators.

Not available every week? Each session will be recorded and made available to participants for two weeks afterwards to allow you to catch up, or watch again. Each session will be closed captioned live. 

Each course has a 1 week break in the middle. See exact dates below.

Upcoming courses:

Winter 2024: Art and the Irish in the Age of Decadence

9 January to 5 March

‘Decadence’ was described in 1893 as “a new and beautiful and interesting disease”, both a beginning and an end, perfectly summing up the feelings of many at the end of the 19th century, particularly in the art scene. This course will explore the exciting, dangerous and sometimes even depraved worlds of fin-de-siècle bohemian Paris, sophisticated London and decadent New York City by way of the art produced in these specific places at this specific time. From the ballet dancers to the Gibson girls, art subjects, functions and styles change to reflect the mood and money of the era. Many artists chose artifice over nature, disillusioned and full of ennui, there is a sense of fatalism and yet so much creativity. Art movements from Impressionism, to Aestheticism, Art Nouveau and the beginnings of the avant-garde of Modernism will be explored. We will also trace Irish artists and patrons through this time both in the “cities of sin” and back home in provincial Ireland. Oscar Wilde painted at the Moulin Rouge by Toulouse-Lautrec, Sarah Purser visiting bohemian friends in Paris, George Moore befriending Degas and Edward Martyn buying his art, Mary Swanzy at Gertrude Stein’s Soirées with Picasso, John Butler Yeats living his last years in New York, wealthy Irish industrialists displaying their wealth with art and many more stories behind wonderful works of art including many from the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.

About the facilitator:
Jessica Fahy is a freelance Art Historian, she is on the lecturer and guide panels for the National Gallery of Ireland, UCD Access and Lifelong Learning Centre and the Hugh Lane Gallery. She gives talks and tours across Ireland, abroad and online on all areas of Western Art from the 14th century to the present day.  Over the past few years she has become a regular contributor on RTÉ radio for Arena. She has a MLitt in Art History from UCD where she also received her undergraduate degree with English as her joint major. She completed her MA in Italian Renaissance Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 2007.

Book here


Spring 2024: European Masters of the Baroque

19 March to 14 May

Join Dr Audrey Nicholls to learn more about the defining characteristics of Baroque art as well as the main historical, political, and socio-economic environment of the era. The evolution of art from the classical style of the Renaissance to the dramatic, emotional and exuberant Baroque style took place against a background of counter-reformation and the rise of the wealthy merchant class in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. This exciting – and sometimes shocking – style spread through Europe as tastes evolved. Beginning in Bologna and moving through Rome, Naples, Flanders, Spain, France and the Dutch Republic, this course will focus on the Baroque movement in Europe and its main protagonists, such as Caravaggio, Velazquez, Poussin, Rembrandt and Vermeer. Artworks from the National Gallery of Ireland’s collection will be discussed, as well as key works from collections worldwide.

About the tutor:
Dr Audrey Nicholls is a freelance art historian, currently working as an occasional module co-ordinator and lecturer at the School of Art History and Cultural Policy at University College Dublin. Dr Nicholls is an experienced lecturer, and specialises in Renaissance and Baroque art. She was awarded a PhD from UCD in 2011.

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Autumn 2024: A Life Less Ordinary - Evolution of the Everyday 

1 October to 26 November

Take a walk through any gallery or museum and you will meet countless gods, kings and legends. However, hanging alongside these larger than life characters are scenes that explore the banality and complexity of human nature. Depictions of ordinary people in everyday settings have the power to arouse our curiosity, empathy and disgust. They add colour and texture to our understanding of the past.

This course is an exploration of everyday subject matter across cultures, and will move beyond the traditional understanding of genre work. Each session will cover a different theme: from the ancient world and the Dutch masters of genre painting, to Japanese ukiyo-e prints, the New York Ashcan, and Socialist Realism in Soviet Russia. Join Dr Sarah Wilson for an eight week course which proves that works of everyday life are anything but ordinary.

About the tutor:
Dr Sarah Wilson is an art historian specialising in Roman antiquity and religious identity. She has an undergraduate degree in Fine Art (DIT) and completed her postgraduate studies in Art History (UCD). She has developed several lecture series for the National Gallery of Ireland that encompass a broad range of topics from Classical influences to Japanese and Aboriginal art. Her essay on Magna Mater and the pignora imperii was published in Late Antique Palatine Architecture: Palaces and Palace Culture: Patterns of Transculturation (Brepols) in 2020.

Book here

Tickets on sale now:

  • Tickets: €150
  • Tickets on sale now - find out more and book here
  • 20% discount for Friends of the Gallery
  • 10% discount Over 65’s/unwaged/students
  • Special offer until 8 January 2024: Further 10% discount when all three courses booked together.

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