Art & Culture Classes

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Discover Mexico

Saturday, June 5, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Saturday, June 5th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $45


Beyond its gorgeous beach resorts, there is much to discover in Mexico. We visit cities renowned for splendid architecture of several ages, mural cycles by famous artists, regional museums dedicated to the country's  history and culture, Spanish missions, and Mayan ruins. Highlights include: Guadalajara, including the work of Jose Clemente Orozco; Guanahuato, the country's most picturesque colonial city; Morelia, burgeoning with European style buildings; Puebla, home to indigenous people and the most spectacular Day of the Dead celebrations; Merida, the White City; Cuernavaca, where Mexico's first Saint is buried; Taxco, the silver city; Oaxaca, especially interesting for its nearby ruins and textiles; and Loreto in Baja California Sur. Learn about regional festivals, time-resistant legends, dining experiences, and out of the way places to get lost!

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Convivencia: Toledo — City of Three Cultures

Saturday, June 12, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Saturday, June 12th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $45


Spectacularly sited, Toledo is blessed with important vestiges of her role as the spiritual capital of Spain: Two exquisite and historically important Synagogues, a Sephardic Museum, the intriguing Mosque de la Luz, an Arab fortress, the Gothic Cathedral's virtual gallery of paintings and its famous Transparente, San Roman church housing a Visigothic museum (Francisco de San Roman was, interestingly, the first Protestant to be burned at the stake in Spain.) El Greco is everywhere: in several churches, his house/museum, the Tavera hospital, and the Museum of Santa Cruz. Visit the spectacular Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes and study Mozarabic book illustrations created in nearby monasteries. In this time of disquieting xenophobia, it is enlightening to reflect on the possibilities of tolerance, and we will learn about the cooperation among the scholars of Toledo's School of Translators.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Mexico City: The Vibrant Capital of Our Neighbor to the South

Saturday, May 22, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $45


Join art historian Kerrin Meis on a virtual tour of one of her favorite spots in the world: the vibrant capital of our neighbor to the South with its fascinating architecture, lovely parks, and more art museums than any other city in North America. While the casual tourist may concentrate on the delectable food and exciting nightlife, we will enjoy immersing ourselves in the cultures that have left their mark here — from Aztecs, Maya, Olmecs, to the Spanish colonialists, to the somewhat misguided French, to its Revolutionaries and independence.

We begin in the Centro Historico (a UNESCO site): The Zocalo, a huge gathering place; the Templo Mayor, remainder of the religious center of the Aztec people; the National Cathedral built over three centuries—the oldest and largest in the Americas; the exquisite National Palace with its Diego Rivera mural of the History of Mexico on the staircase; and the nearby Ministry of Education Building with Rivera's best known murals.

Other highlights include the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe; Chapultepec Castle, housing the National History Museum in the former home of the Emperor Maximilian and his wife Carlota, located in the 1600 acre Chapultepec Park; churches and buildings in out of the way neighborhoods; the Paseo de la Reforma; the House of Tiles, now a restaurant with murals by Orozco; and the unbelievable number of top rate museums — from the famous Museum of Anthropology and the superb Palace of Fine Arts, to the enormous modernist Soumaya Museum, the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Studio Museum, the Dolores Olmedo Museum, the Franz Mayer Museum, and the soon-to-be opened Casa Leonora Carrington. Vamos!

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Matisse and Picasso: Masters of Modernism

Saturday, May 8, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Two Saturdays: May 8th and 15th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $85


Often seen as opposing influences in a new direction for art in the Western World, these two artists, both rebels, used highly disparate but equally important means to forge a new way of seeing and representing their worlds.  Matisse, a serene Frenchman, happily married, and Picasso, a flamboyant Spaniard and womanizer, need to be studied side by side and with attention to their childhoods, their early works, their early collectors, their dealers, their critics, and their legacy. We will study their contemporaries as well and note how their experiments with Fauvism (Matisse) and Cubism (Picasso) spawned developments in France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and the USA. Of special interest are their late works involving not painting but in the case of Picasso, creating pottery vessels and in the case of Matisse, cutting up pieces of colored paper! We will meet collectors like the Steins of San Francisco, Shchukin in Russia, dealers Ambrose Vollard and Daniel Kahnweiler, and some obstreperous Americans.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Innocents Abroad: American Artists in Europe, 1830-1930

Saturday, April 10, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Three Saturdays: April 10th, 17th & 24th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $120

The lure of Europe—Paris, Venice, Rome, and the Italian Countryside—proved irresistible for some of the most creative painters and sculptors of America.

Learn what attracted them, under whose influence they happily fell, and the remarkable works they created. Our cast of characters includes Samuel F.B. Morse, George Healy, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Harriet Hosmer, Anne Whitney, Thomas Cole, George Inness, James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Robert Frederick Blum, Mary Cassatt, Lilla Cabot Perry, Theodore Robinson, Maurice Prendergast, Robert Henri, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, and Arthur Matthews whose studies at the Academie Julian significantly altered artistic theory in California.

Suggested Reading:

  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough
  • Venice: The American View, 1860-1920 by Margaretta M. Lovell
  • The Lure of Italy: American Artists and the Italian Experience, 1760-1914 by Theodore Stebbins, Jr.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Timeless Tunisia (via Zoom)

Saturday, March 13, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Two Saturdays: March 13th and 20th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $80


Join art historian Kerrin Meis on a virtual tour of this tiny jewel of the Maghreb. Across from Italy on the northern shores of Africa—sandwiched between the Mediterranean and the Sahara desert—Tunisia, for centuries, was the center of the world’s evolving history. For over 600 years Romans traveled through it, preceded by the Phoenicians and followed by the Byzantines, Arabs, Ottomans, and the French—all of whom left visible and fascinating marks. Through brilliant slides and informed commentary, discover the remains of these cultures: the world’s finest Roman mosaics, the site of ancient Carthage, underground villas, and the spectacular amphitheatre at el Djem. Marvel at lush oases, fortified granaries, hilltop Berber villages, and some of the scenery that so enchanted the directors of Star Wars and The English Patient. Tunisia is especially rich in Islamic architecture: the great mosque at Kairouan, the medina of Tunis, and more. The Arab Spring was most successful in Tunisia, making it an excellent country to visit.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - The Battle Between Cross and Crescent: The Danube (via Zoom)

Saturday, February 27, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Two Saturdays: February 27th and March 6th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $80


Visitors to cities on the Danube are captivated by their architecture, music, and ambience. Not always peaceful, there were periods beginning with the Battle of Mohacs that brought the Hungarian Kingdom under Ottoman rule: the Siege of Vienna by Suleyman the Magnificent in 1526, and another siege by Kara Mustapha in 1623. (Ottoman occupation introduced paprika, coffee houses, and bath houses.) We will meet the major actors in this drama from Alexander the Great, the Romans, and others, and learn what was so important about the Danube that flows from the Black Forest in Germany to the Black Sea. We visit Passau, Linz, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade, and a few surprises.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Discover Jordan Beyond Petra (via Zoom)

Saturday, February 13, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Two Saturdays: February 13th and 20th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $80


The Nabatean city of Petra is indeed worth a trip to Jordan, but let's not miss the country's other spectacular sights. Our virtual journey takes us to Umayyad caliphs' desert castles with astonishing frescoes; the huge, well-preserved Roman city of Jerash; Mount Nebo and the city of Madaba, famous for its map of the Near East; and a score of other treasures such as Umm ar Rasas, where the floors of Byzantine era St. Stephen and other churches are covered with perhaps the best mosaics extant. We will visit the ancient city of Philadelphia—now Amman—its citadel, great temple, and museum. A day in the ancient city of al Salt with its lovely Ottoman architecture, and a night in a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, complete this fascinating experience—unless we have the urge to spend a day on the beach of Aqaba or bobbing about on the Dead Sea. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan welcomes us! 

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Virtual Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - The Aesthetic Movement: The Cult of Beauty Revisited (via Zoom)

Saturday, January 30, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Two Saturdays: January 30 and February 6, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $80


In their operetta Patience, Gilbert and Sullivan skewered the Aesthetic movement—the anti-industrial stance adopted by a talented and opinionated group of artists, poets, and architects that had an enormous impact on painting, architecture, interior design, and dress. Closely related to the Arts and Crafts movement, Aestheticism attempted to redefine the relationship between "Fine Arts" and design. An exhibit in 2012, originated by the Victoria and Albert Museum, celebrated the creations of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, James McNeill Whistler, Burne-Jones, Godwin, William Morris, and a host of others. Let's educate ourselves about the philosophy, interaction, and production of these creative geniuses. We look at paintings, sculpture, furniture, household objects, and houses—and read some poetry.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Virtual Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - The Window in Western Art (via Zoom)

Saturday, January 16, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Two Saturdays: January 16 and 23, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $80


In this class we will look at the function of the window in Western Art, from Medieval stained glass windows to status symbols in Renaissance portraiture to Vermeer's interiors with the ever-present window. Is it only a "source of light?" We will pay special attention to the 19th Century Romantic painters' Rooms with a View, especially in Germany and Scandinavia, in Matisse's interiors from Paris to Nice, and in artist's studios. We encounter Caspar David Friedrich, Otto Menzel, Edward Hopper, Rene Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, and others who employed the window as a metaphor on the human condition.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

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