UCC ACE Short courses

Eye of the Beholder: The Life and Works of Pablo Picasso COURSE CLOSED

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Eye of the Beholder: The Life and Works of Pablo Picasso COURSE CLOSED

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    Eight weeks, Wednesdays 10:30am-12:30pm, from 29 January to 18 March

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    Cert of Attendance

  • Fees

    €200 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Students must be minimum eighteen years at course commencement. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Friday 18 January 2020

  • Venue

    Central Library, Grand Parade, Cork 

  • Start Date

    Wednesday 29 January 2020

Course Outline

There is only one way to see things, until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes” ― Pablo Picasso 

Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) is often regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. He is a household name renowned for his contributions to Cubism, Symbolism and Surrealism and his influence on countless artists and designers of our generation. Beginning training in sophisticated drawing and oil painting at the age of 7, Picasso grew from a decorated background in academic painting in his teenage years, to a ground-breaking innovator of Modern Art, ultimately pushing the boundaries of painting and questioning the artist’s purpose in the 20th Century. Covering this journey that follows on from the Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists, we will explore Picasso’s dance with the styles and lessons of Édouard Manet (1832–1883), Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), and most importantly, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) and the effect contemporary writers had upon his life and works. 

This course is designed to explore the impassioned life and prolific 79-year artistic career of Picasso in an engaging and insightful way, analysing his paintings and sculptures and guiding you through the key formal styles, themes and life events (of one of the most famous artists of all time). To provide a well-rounded insight into the artist you will be presented with a selection of his most famous paintings and some that you may not have seen before. The works will include the subject matter of portraiture, still life, the female nude and war, with themes of love, lust, animosity, destruction and impoverishment. The theme of the eye and the beholder will be present throughout the course, taking many forms and providing different ways of looking at the art we engage with.

Picasso’s artistic career is often divided into distinguished periods of style that he worked in at different stages of his life. The lectures have been structured in a way that will bring you chronologically through his artistic development, beginning with the lesser-known early works in the style of Realism. We will then move through his exploration of monochromatic colour periods and investigation of poverty, illness and alternative lifestyles through portraiture, to his most highly regarded developments in art history. The contexts and influences of the artist, with an interest in his muses, relationships and experiences of a war-torn world will be woven throughout this lecture series. Please refer to the list of lectures below for more information.

1 Picasso’s Early Life and Art

This class will begin with an introduction to the course, the key themes that will be covered and the layout of the classes. After this Pablo Picasso will be introduced to you through the context of his early years and the beginning of his career of as an artist. We will see examples of artworks that defined Picasso as a child prodigy in terms of painting, though to his teenage accomplishments.

2 The Blue Period and The Rose Period 

“Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions”― Pablo Picasso.  After his early training as a painter in Spain Picasso visited Paris three times between 1900 and 1903 before moving permanently in 1904. During this time he produced two prolific collections of monochromatic paintings, each named after the predominant colours used in them. We will look closely at the artist’s time in Paris and his portraits of poor, impoverished and marginal people. 

3 The Roots of Cubism: The Influences of Paul Cézanne and African Tribal Art

Until the end of his life, Picasso celebrated the Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, even buying a home on a mountain he famously painted and choosing it as his final resting place. In this class we will look at the influence of Cezanne’s approach to painting and African Tribal Masks and ornaments had upon Picasso’s development of Cubism.

4 Deconstruction: Analytical Cubism and Collage 

Picasso was the co-inventor of collage and the artistic movement Cubism. Both provided ample inspiration for his contemporary and later artists and movements in art, even being considered as a major turning point in 20th century art history. In this class Cubism will be defined and explained through close looking at some of the artist’s most famous works of art.

5 From Fracture to Order: Synthetic Cubism and Neo-classical Period

We will begin by looking at the Cubist movement in its fullest form, then we will move from near-complete abstraction, back to clearly representational art. In the late nineteen-teens many artists looked back to classical art for inspiration, here we will look at Picasso’s response to this.

6 Sensuality and Surrealism 

This session will focus on Picasso’s involvement with the Surrealist movement through the lens of the artist’s most intense love affairs. Through examples of paintings of his muses we will discuss the erotic undertones in the artworks while peeking into one of the many love triangles Picasso orchestrated and embraced in his art and life.

7 Picasso and War

In his later life, Picasso made monumental works about political events that are considered to be some of the most moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history. Discussing how the artist lived through World War I and II, and made art about the Spanish Civil War and the Korean War, this session will show another side to Picasso that reacts directly to his political moment.

8 Picasso’s Later Life and Art 

Late in Picasso’s career he worked freely in each of the styles discussed earlier in the course, producing many paintings and sculptures. The course will conclude by looking at the later years of the artist’s creative and personal life.

Course Practicalities


Short courses are non-assessed

Who teaches on this course

This course will be taught by Heather Dorgan, an Art Historian specialised in Modern and Contemporary Art, with a Bachelor Degree in the History of Art, and an honours Masters Degree in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism in University College Cork.

Heather has been a Teaching Assistant in the UCC History of Art department since January 2017, lecturing and tutoring on the Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree and the History of Art Diploma, as well as coordinating and teaching a short-course with UCC’s Adult Continuing Education department in Spring 2019 and presenting research at the UCC Perforum Conference in April 2017.

Why Choose This Course

This course looks at both the biographical details and the qualities of the artist’s artworks together. The purpose is to provide an interesting and well-rounded view of Picasso’s life and career in one place. You will learn about how Picasso painted, his interests and his life of romantic intensity. This course is for anybody with an interest in modern art and culture, from beginners to art history to fine art students, this course will be taught in an easily accessible manner.


Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €200.

How Do I Apply

The closing date for applications is Friday 17 January 2020. Fees are listed in each course description. Students register and pay fees before course commencement as follows:

1. Register and pay online by clicking the Apply Now button below. Course commencement is subject to sufficient enrolment. In the event of a course not commencing applicants will be informed and their fees will be returned.

2. Payment may also be made by credit or debit card, cheque, postal order or bank draft made payable to UCC and these should be returned together with a completed application form to Short Courses, Adult Continuing Education, The Laurels, Western Road. Application forms are available from the office or they may be downloaded from the link below.

3. Students may also hand in completed application forms to the office at ACE between 9:15am and 5pm each day prior to the closing date. We regret we are unable to accept cash.


Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact