Art History

Journey through the history of art: explore masterpieces of global art and architecture from antiquity to the present day, using a variety of spectacular online resources.


This course will explore major artists, movements, cultures, and ideas from around the world that have shaped the history of art. Through a combination of lectures and virtual tours of international museums and architectural monuments, students will engage in an intensive study of famous works of art, art historical movements, and global cultures. In a dynamic online learning environment that balances live sessions with different types of interactive activities, this course will guide students on a journey through compelling examples of human creativity.


Students will begin in ancient Greece and Rome by experiencing virtual tours of the Acropolis Museum in Athens and other important monuments. Students will learn about the Byzantine and medieval periods and explore examples from the Islamic Golden Age. An interactive online visit to Amiens Cathedral in France will bring to life the soaring achievements of European Gothic architecture. Students will examine the art of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Enlightenment through virtual tours of The Hermitage and The Louvre, while also considering some of the great monuments created by people across the Atlantic in Central and South America. The course will move through Impressionism and Modernism at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and contemporary art in the online viewing experiences curated by international art galleries. Over the course of this dynamic global journey, students will gain a framework for understanding different styles and concepts that have shaped the history of art.


Virtual site visits may include:

  • The Louvre in Paris
  • The British Museum in London
  • The Acropolis Museum in Athens
  • Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East
  • Medieval Gothic Cathedrals in France
  • The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
  • The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia
  • The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem
  • The Museum of Modern Art in New York
  • Online viewing rooms of top international galleries, such as David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, and White Cube


Guest speakers may include:

  • Museum curators
  • Art critics
  • Architects
  • Gallery owners
  • Artists


Projects may include:

  • Creating and naming your own online museum, choosing from more than one hundred thousand digitized works of art to design and curate an exhibition
  • Designing your own geometric or vegetal pattern to decorate a manuscript, inspired by elements of traditional Islamic art
  • Experimenting with homemade egg tempera paint, like Medieval artists in Europe


Tech Fee: $75


Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Term Dates

Term dates and course availability depend heavily on instructors’ schedules.

  • Term 1 June 7 to June 18 Term Closed
  • Term 3 July 5 to July 16 Term Closed

All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full online summer schedule.

View Summer Schedule

What is an Intensive?

Intensives immerse students in a single subject area for the entire two-week Institute term, with the goal of cultivating comprehensive knowledge of that discipline. This thorough approach to learning enables students to develop deeper insights about the field by closely investigating its inner workings.

Course Highlights

Summer Institute enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional careers. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

  • 1

    Students will take interactive virtual tours of museums, galleries, and architectural monuments to learn firsthand about major artists, architects, masterpieces, and art movements. Students will interact online with guest speakers to gain a behind-the-scenes look at how major art institutions operate in a dynamic global environment.

  • 2

    Students will hear from scholars, curators, and gallery owners about the different cultural influences that determine which art, artists, and art movements are considered important and worthwhile at different points in time. How does art become art history?

  • 3

    Students will expand their visual and cultural literacy and learn how to identify different styles of art and architecture, to recognize the work of major artistic periods, and to understand the concepts associated with different art historical movements.

  • 4

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the art world. Each faculty member structures their course around real-time conversations defining their professions and helps students master the unique forces at play in the art world.

Summer Institute Faculty

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