Modern Art Gallery
"'Taking this evening class was one of the best decisions I've ever made' - Angela Hou, Royal College of Art"

Starting with the Impressionists in the 1870s, and ending with Pop Art in the 1960s, we will take a whistle-stop tour of some of the major art movements associated with modernism, pausing only to look at some of its leading artists, from Monet and Picasso, to Dali and Warhol.

Not only is study of this period in art history extremely rewarding and enjoyable in itself, but you will end the course with a greater understanding of some most significant works of art to be found in museums and galleries across the world today. From discovering how the Impressionists used the latest findings in science to select their colour palette, to how fear of the atomic bomb led to a whole new movement in sculpture, this course will give you a real insight into how modern artists have responded to the modern world, and how that world responded to them.

No previous knowledge of art, history, or art history is necessary, and your tutor is an expert at guiding both novices and the more experienced through the - sometimes shocking and sometimes comic - intricacies of modern art. The course is organised to encourage discussion and debate, whilst also allowing us to explore the historical development of modern art, and the ideas and influences behind the work of artists of this period.

This course will comprise eighteen evening sessions held in the classroom at Imperial College, South Kensington. Students will also have the opportunity to attend one Saturday half-day session at Tate Britain in London, to learn about works of art in front of the real objects.

Course Information

Course Programme


  1. Victorian Modernisms
  2. Alfred Barr’s Four Founding Fathers (and the Great Binge)
  3. Matisse and the Anarchists
  4. From Art Nouveau to the Bauhaus
  5. German Expressionism in Dresden, Berlin and Munich
  6. From Expressionist Film to Horror Film
  7. Cubism, De Stijl and Futurism
  8. Bloomsbury and Blast! British Modernism before the First World War

*** Christmas break *** 


  1. Dada, Sex and Surrealism
  2. British Sculpture Between the Wars
  3. Constructivism and Supremativism
  4. Hope and Fear in Post-War Art and Design
  5. Abstract Painting
  6. The British Origin of Pop Art
  7. Pop and Photorealism in America
  8. The New Sculpture in Britain and America
  9. From Pop to Conceptualism
  10. And now?

This programme is provisional and subject to change or modification.

Additional Reading and Credit Information

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text, but if you would like to read more on the subject we suggest:

David Britt, Modern Art: Impressionism to Post-Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2007)

David Cottington, Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)

Pam Meecham, Modern Art: A Critical Introduction (London: Routledge, 2004)

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student at Imperial College you can acquire 2 ECTS credits after successfully completing this course. To qualify you must have been registered as attending at least 80% of the taught sessions and pass a written assessment test near the end of the course. You will be invited to apply in the second term to take the test. Please note the test might take place on a different evening to your usual class day.

About Your Tutor

Dr Michael Paraskos is a very experienced adult education tutor, having taught for over twenty-five years. He holds a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and also teaches art history to undergraduate students at the City and Guilds of London School of Art. He is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction and has published very widely on art of this period, as well as reviewing exhibitions and novels for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and The Spectator magazine. His novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016.

Further Study

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in photography and creative writing, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos,

Please carefully review the course information, programme timetableterm dates and fees & enrolment information.