Humanities has long been an important part of an artist’s education.   Leonardo taught himself Latin and said “Let no man who is not a mathematician read the elements of my work.”  Michelangelo was an accomplished poet, Rubens spoke five languages, and Sargent was a classical pianist.  When Ilya Repin was a student at the Russian Academy he enrolled in all the humanities classes offered.  In addition he met at a Thursday salon where the artists according to the art critic Stasov “worked and studied together, not only art, but the sciences, anything that interested them or seemed necessary.”   Repin later painted Tolstoy ‘s portrait and become friends with him and other writers and musicians.  His paintings are rich with historical and literary themes.  Classical painters today could do worse than follow Repin’s example.  In this spirit, the Golden Gate Atelier offers a humanities course that uses a compendium of readings selected from the classics of the Western Tradition.  In addition, we suggest the following books:

 Recommended Humanities Books

  • Joshua Reynolds. Discourses on Art. Yale University Press, 1997
  • Robert Henri.  The Art Spirit.  Basic Books, 200
  • Hans Georg Gadamer. The Relevance of the Beautiful, Cambridge, 2007
  • Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns eds. The Collected Dialogues of Plato.  Princeton, 2005.
  • Dante Alighieri.  The Divine Comedy. Trans. Sinclair.  Oxford, 1961.
  • David Bevington ed.  The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.  Longman, 2008.

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