Cerise Washington

Wimbledon, London

After having taken a career break to raise my children abroad, and then relocating to London, I knew I wanted to get my professional life back on track. Currently trained as an Art Director/Designer, I knew I didn't want to continue this, I knew I had a real passion for Art, the Old Masters and Contemporary Art, and as an Oil Portrait Artist myself, I so wanted to gain further knowledge about Art History.

The modules provided in this course are extremely well written and an absolute pleasure to read, the lay-out is beautifully presented with paintings relating to the copy. This course is not simply about creativity and aesthetics; it incorporates all aspects of history, as well as anthropology, politics and also religion. This is a great beginner course as it covers all aspects from the Renaissance all the way up to the present day; each module covers a different period.

A lecturer at the Sotheby's Institute of Art in London once asked me 'What century are you most interested in?' and at that point I really didn’t know. With the help of The Art Institute now I can give a more detailed response with full confidence and passion!

Living in London is also as beneficial, as I have easy access to all the top art galleries and museums which really helped complete my assignments. I am now going to further my career onto the next step within Art History and Business and feel very excited to get my career back on track within this profession.

Linda Waite


I have spent my life enjoying art but not fully appreciating it, however, The Art Appreciation course run by the Art Institute course changed all this. The course, focusing on Western art, satisfied my need to understand more and appreciate art and the art market.

The modules are presented are clearly written, pulling together art and social history from the Renaissance through to the 21st Century. The modules surprised me in that my interests prior to the course were convincing in modern art, however, studying the Great Masters was an absolute joy and totally fascinating. Understanding their work and how it has influenced modern day artists was indeed the highlight.

I am fortunate enough to have travelled throughout Europe and to have seen first-hand many of the works discussed, some of which I visited during the course which added to the excitement of modules.

My tutor, Stephen Farthing, was extremely supportive and encouraging. He provided quick feedback to the assignments, with clear guidance on how to improve my learning and apply it within the text.

The online course gave me the flexibility I needed whilst working full time and having a busy life. I was able to structure and pace the modules to suit. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the course and feel sad that it has finished. I now plan to go back and reread the modules. Who knows where this will lead. A big thank you to the Art Institute.

Richard Draycott


I have recently completed the Art Institute History of Art course. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in art and the part it plays in our culture through the centuries.

It provides a framework that helps to focus on the artists, their genre and its importance to us today with well written modules created by authoritative figures in their field. The modules provide details of further reading and lists the galleries where particular works of art can be viewed, all of which helped me to absorb myself in the subject.

My tutor Stephen Farthing encouraged me with his helpful advice which enabled me to provide clear concise answers to the varios modules. The course is very flexible and helped me to fit the study into my busy life. Available for discussion on Email Me

Charlotte Wilde


Its no exaggeration to say that this course has changed my life, obviously not in a dramatic fashion but certainly in a meaningful way.

I am a 40 something mother of two young children, I studied science at University and have worked in IT for 20 years - as far removed from the art world as one could imagine.

I have LOVED every moment of this course, even the bits where I struggled to like what I was looking at! I have fitted study and assignments in around spelling tests, reading books, ironing uniform, cooking dinners, play dates, nativity plays and sick bugs! It has been a pleasure to do so and I shall miss the course now its over.

The support and encouragement from my Tutor, Libby, has been a real help, to be able to read and re-read insightful comments and suggested further reading, spurs you on.

The website is easy to use and navigate, I live in a rural area away from galleries, museums and shops and I managed to do my study from books ordered from our local library or bought 2nd hand online, and used Resources from the web itself - museums and art galleries have amazing websites where its often possible to view a painting in extreme closeup without leaving your home. I would recommend this course to anyone, you CAN do it!.

Paul Richards

Aberford nr. Leeds

This has been a truly amazing experience and I have absolutely loved every minute! From the very beginning right up to my final module, I have been encouraged and supported in a thoroughly professional way. Also, being able to work at home at my own speed has been a godsend.

Looking at the different elements of the course in turn. Firstly, the modules themselves: these have been written by top experts in their fields. They are superbly composed and really informative (you would pay very good money to buy them in the shops). They were such a great springboard in helping me work out my answers and to encourage me to further reading.

Secondly, the Assignment Questions: these were also really well written and they deeply tested one's understanding of the subject. They got more and more demanding as the course developed and as my confidence and experience in what to look for grew.

Thirdly, my tutor, Professor Stephen Farthing: what a legend! He was amazingly efficient at marking my work so that I was never kept waiting for the results and his detailed comments, for each and every answer, were very positive and totally constructive. I have learned so much from him and I could not have found a better tutor. I owe him a real debt of gratitude.

Finally, thank you to the support team. They were always there to answer all my questions in a very friendly and efficient way. In conclusion, I would recommend this course without hesitation to anyone wishing to learn about the history and appreciation of Western Art. I have learned so much that my experience of seeing exhibitions at Art Galleries has been totally and utterly transformed. My enjoyment of art has increased by several magnitudes and my enthusiasm has even infected my partner. I personally have also gained so much confidence in my ability to write about art that now that I am going to try my hand at art reviews.

Thank you, one and all, for an absolutely brilliant experience - one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Janet Brown


For some time I have wanted to know more about art but time and in my case, mobility difficulties, made it hard for me to pursue my interest in any formal way. I was therefore delighted when I spotted an advertisement for an online Art Appreciation Course run by The Art Institute. This Course has provided me with a great oversight of art over the centuries and I really feel I have been on a fascinating journey starting back in time and travelling up to the present day. On the way I have learned so much about art and artists - some familiar, some not - but all equally interesting.

The ability to study at ones own pace, with no pressure, and in the comfort of ones own home is a big plus: each of the twelve modules are extremely well written by experts and every student has a designated tutor who is always easily available to help with the course work and who marks the assignments very promptly, giving helpful comments where necessary.

It was really easy to enrol and there are optional ways to pay for the Course, which is helpful.  I also feel the cost is extremely reasonable, given the overall quality of the Course.  The website is very easy to navigate and any queries regarding this are answered promptly by the Student Support team.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working through this Course and highly recommend it to anyone who has even a modest interest in learning more about the captivating subject of Art. Although I embarked on the Course purely for my own interest, I know I now have enough knowledge to pursue the subject further and, thanks to this Course, feel sufficiently confident to do so.

Jackie Wood


Initially very scathing about on-line courses, so thoroughly investigated this one before deciding to go for it. It was the best course I have been on - and more focused than the OU one I took a couple of years ago.

The range of subject matter was vast - from paintings, to modern art, to the art market - all were fascinating and the material very readable.

My tutor marked all my assignments very quickly - so no nail biting waiting around to see how I had done. Criticism from him was valid and useful as well as the praise and encouragement.

It is a brilliantly put together package and well worth doing. At least there is a diploma at the end too - which is not always the case with some courses. Lilly (behind the scenes support), was understanding, helpful and great fun to deal with and answers all my questions in a timely manner. Now I have finished I feel I have lost a mini art family, but it was great whilst it lasted...

Isolde Summers


For anyone who has some interest in the history of art, particularly painting,I thoroughly recommend this online course in art appreciation. It certainly widens one's knowledge and understanding of the different periods of art that are perhaps not so well known to one. I was pleased to study the Renaissance period as that has always been a great favourite time for me. However I had to face cubism and other 'isms', which was probably good for me, but I disliked very much!

I found my tutor, Stephen Farthing, very helpful with good suggestions. Unfortunately I could not always add the comments by other writers/artists, as he suggested, because of the word count, but I valued his encouragement in reading around the subject.

The student support was excellent. It's a lonely time working completely on line but having contact with Lilly Archer I felt I had gained a very helpful friend. So thank you Lilly!

Now I have completed the course I am trying to devise a way to study Renaissance art in more depth. I cannot paint or draw but would love to know more about the detail of 'how it is done'. I hope that I will gain some of that information as I continue my research. One great benefit of online work is that I can remain at home and not go out on a winter's evening.

All in all I am pleased that I have taken this course and it deserves to be advertised widely..

Mary-Louise Boardman

Olonzac, France

This course has been the most amazing doorway to an entirely new way of looking, at art, at life, at myself. Throughout the carefully planned course of modules I was accompanied by my tutor, whose helpful comments helped me to improve my writing and my study techniques. I have learnt an enormous amount, and realise how little I still know of the intriguing world of art and artists.

Best of all, it has given me a taste for further academic study, the biggest bonus of all.

I feel that learning more about the history of art in the world has been a real privilege, and feel quite emotional now as I leave my friends at the Art Institute.

Sue Harrod

Devon, UK

Thank you Art Institute, for providing me with such an enlightening course. My art history knowledge has been expanded enormously. The allegory of art has been a fascinating journey of surprise.This online course was a joy to undertake, due to the module design, content and the exemplary Tutor support . My assignments were marked and returned to me very promptly, with comprehensive and constructive feedback. This helped me develop my research and attain a higher standard of writing as the course progressed.

This achievement for me, of a successful completion of the diploma course, is quite an emotional attainment . I am registered blind with only some peripheral vision. The high quality online course photography combined with the magnification on my 27inch Mac gave me the ability to work through this course and see paintings as I have never seen them before. Also, my research turned up an interesting link of artists with visual impairments, that I hope to do further research on.

My greatest freedom and joy has been my year round cold water sea swimming , but now the thirst for more knowledge in the visual arts has been unlocked. This online course has opened a door to art appreciation I never thought possible, as I have shunned art galleries due to my sight loss. Thank you so much to all your team that supported me.

Alastair Forman


This Art Appreciation Course is a comprehensive, well produced and professionally presented step into the world of art history and appreciation. I enjoyed every one of the well written modules and found them challenging, informative and helpfully illustrated. Each module has a generous reading list. Details of world wide galleries and museums are included, providing a resources for years to come.

The well constructed assignments forced me to observe pictures carefully, stick to the key points and write succinctly and creatively. This, and the perceptive encouragement of my excellent tutor, has helped my writing tremendously. The website is attractive and easy to use. The student support team is efficient, courteous, interested and genuinely supportive.

I have long sought a joined up overview of the development Western Art. The Art Institute has provided this, without bravura or bias. If this is adult entry level to Art Appreciation then it has more than done its job.

Joëlle Verdon

Montreal, Canada

The Art Institute's course largely exceeded my expectation. It brought be  "a bundle of joy" that money cannot buy. To set the context, I am French Canadian and I work in investment. I truly missed not having receive a liberal art education so some 10 years ago, I decided to do my own education, the self-taught hard way. I read tons of books and saw zillions of museums as I live in Europe. I managed to get a decent level of knowledge in art but I was looking to put this in a more organised framework, and to learn more about the history bit behind "history of art". It is with this goal in mind that I started searching the internet for the  "formula" that would best meet my goal. I searched  for all the online short and/or  intensive course options as I could not commit to a long-term on location course.

The Art Institute offered to me to test their course, 7 day money back guarantee. I was then convinced that the level was appropriate, not out of reach for my capacity but challenging enough. But the surprising nice addition is how my tutor adjusted his style/comments to my progression. In a very supportive way, he "raised the bar" by becoming more demanding, although always in a soft  and engaging way, in order to push me to my limit. That was brilliant tutorial. And I guess that the same technique is used to engage people with different background. Technically, the course is also well thought. We have full freedom to work at you own space, and at least in my case, the tutor was quickly providing his constructive feedback (in most instance within 24hrs, even during the Christmas holiday!).

In summary, this course is brilliantly designed to reach a wide range audience in terms of background, and run by an enthusiastic team, from Lilly in support to my brilliant tutor Stephen Farthing, who also wrote a must-have book "Art: the whole story" (on Amazon). Thing about an improved version of Gombrich incorporating the recent developments, and in a much more visually appealing format. If you cannot enrol in the course, at minimum spoil yourself by buying this book.

My only regret is that it is over! Joelle Verdon, a happy and grateful graduate of the Art Institute.

Ps: As an indication, I personally spent circa 15 to 20 hours per module, this, because I read beyond and “around” the course material. I guess that one can do it within 12 hours/module by sticking to the basic material but in my view, it would be a shame to do not tab into the great bibliography. And read about the parallel development in literature, politic, music……..

Colin Marsh


As someone who spent a lot of time visiting art galleries without having much real formal or historical understanding of art, I felt it was time to learn more. Newly retired, I knew I would enjoy study anyway, but also wanted to enrich my own leisure time. When I was looking for courses, the Art Institute programme seemed to me to have a clear structure with a logical progression through periods and movements; this suited me perfectly.

So I opted for it, and, now that I have completed it, it was unquestionably the right decision. The modules, which offer a condensed survey of their themes, are clear and helpful in themselves, but I found the suggestions for further reading just as useful: they provided an extra dimension to visits to bookshops and libraries. There are also stimulating resources readily available on the Internet, for example gallery websites, talks, exhibition reviews and good quality reproductions of highlighted artworks. The information about the galleries and museums where the art may be seen, given at the end of each module, was also useful and proved invaluable on a recent visit to Florence and Venice. As with any course of study, I would say that, while it would be possible to complete the assignments using just the module resources provided, and these are a very good guide, further exploration allows you to acquire a deeper and more detailed understanding of artists, works of art and artistic movements, in particular their connection to political and social events and to developments in other fields such as literature.

The course assignments require verbal economy. To condense an answer to an interesting question into little more than 250 words is a very good (but by no means easy) discipline to acquire; such succinctness demands sharp self-critical review. The Art Institute course has given me just what I wanted, a better overview of the history of Western art and a better understanding of how to look at and respond to artworks. In particular it has made me confront styles and movements that would once have held little appeal and enabled me, through better awareness, to enjoy them. It has opened my eyes; this is a great service.

I feel equipped and sufficiently confident to take the study of art to the next level. This is due in no small part to the excellent support, comment and encouragement from my tutor, Stephen Farthing. One thing I can promise anyone who opts for this course is that you will not be kept waiting for your mark and comments on work submitted: in just about every case they came back within 24 hours, and this in itself is motivating. It also gave the experience of online study a vital personal touch.

I fully recommend this course: I will miss it.

Deborah Siragher


I would strongly recommend this course to anyone that wants an understanding of art history.

I undertook the course for interest not for career or professional reasons. I had spent a number of years looking for a history of art course but only came across courses that focused on specific movements, artists or periods. I wanted a firm basis that explained the progression of art and put the developments into context. This course provides this. It is a complete overview of art history in chronological order. It also summarises the social and political history at the time which helps create the context.

The course offers a great understanding of why an artist paints in a particular way or a particular subject and how to read a painting. It goes into detail about the technical aspects of paintings and how styles developed and reveals why the great artists are revered and the influences they had. It also touches on sculpture, architecture and other art forms. I found a recent trip to a gallery more exciting for having this knowledge.

The text is easy to read, the layout is attractive and of course it is packed with beautiful pictures. The assignments covered interesting topics and are achievable through the course material though plenty of other sources are suggested in the appendices and there are sources online. My tutor always marked the assignments promptly and gave useful feedback. The website is user friendly and it has been trouble free when downloading modules and submitting assignments. I had an immediate response on the one occasion that I needed student support. I have a full time business and other time consuming interests and responsibilities and took just over nine months rather than six to complete the course. I was grateful to have the option of taking up to a year.

The whole course was incredibly enjoyable. I looked forward to every new module and I was never disappointed. It has been a good experience and I now feel that I have a great basis to pursue further studies in this field.

Isabel Anne Hill


This course proved to be a gift from the gods for me. As a teenager, with absolutely no artistic skills, I was fortunate enough to have an art teacher who introduced me to the pleasure of looking at pictures, a pleasure that, despite a very un-artistic working life ,has remained with me and involved looking at art in such diverse places as China, British Columbia, the Lake District, France,Macedonia, Liverpool, Sheffield, Greece, Wolverhampton, the stately homes, particularly Chatsworth,to name a few.

When my husband and close companion died after a long illness I was left desperately seeking something to meaningfully fill my life-and almost by chance, I came across this course. Having done no serious studying for 30 years, being barely computer literate and aged 82 I was very unsure of my ability to undertake such a course.

I was swept off my feet by the real pleasure ,interest and stimulation of each beautifully presented module. The friendly, prompt response to each query,the speedy tutorial comment on each assignment, kept me going. I could hardly wait to look at the next module. I have a small public library almost across the road which supplemented my reading, providing books on request almost at once.

I found areas of interest I hadn't even thought about; for example, the art market and found the links between art and world affairs intriguing.

Tempted? Hold your nose and jump in. Water wings and life guards WILL be supplied

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