What is the course about?
From paintings by Vermeer and Leonardo to ancient Mexican and Roman artefacts, this course explores a variety of fakes and copies to question the motives for producing such objects. We examine how this history of fakes impacts our understanding of art by challenging our perceptions of what is real. We will look at the role of ‘the expert’ in identifying fakes as well as the role of the conservator plays in revealing the ‘truth’ of an artwork. The course combines discussions around authenticity with practical exercises to challenge our perceptions as to what is perceived to be real, fictional or fake and why this matters today. We will also look at the use of pranks and hoaxes in an artistic context, and the success of such attempts to undermine the art gallery or museum.
What will we cover?
• A history of fakes, forgeries and copies including oil paintings, drawings, sculptures and cultural artefacts
• An introduction to connoisseurship and its impact on how we value art works and museum objects.
• The science of conservation and restoration and how it helps us to find the ‘truth’ within the object.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Explain the concept of connoisseurship and its impact on how we understand the ‘real’ and the ‘fake’ in art history
• Describe the challenges posed by restoration and conservation, from a museum perspective
• Identify at least three artworks/artefacts and/or key individuals from different times who have challenged our notions of authenticity.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for all levels.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught with slide presentations and group discussions and two guided gallery visits. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course.
Please note we are unable to guarantee stools in the galleries that we visit so you might have to stand and to walk between objects.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You might wish to bring a notebook. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class. You might want to invest in a portable gallery stool.
Gallery entry is free.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details