David Packwood


in association with Warwickshire Leisure Studies

David Packwood is an art historian with interests in renaissance and baroque art- although he does occasionally teach modern art. After a career in the Civil Service, he left to study a variety of humanities subjects at university as a mature student. Settling on a career as an art historian, he became a PhD student at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, where his subject was ‘Theological and Philosophical Themes in Nicolas Poussin’. He gained his doctorate in 2005. In addition to his association with WLS, David teaches art history for Warwick University. He has also taught for the universities of Birmingham, Northampton, Coventry, and Keele, East Warwickshire College and the Open University.
He maintains a web log that has lots of useful links –Art History Today.

Lives and Afterlives of Art.




This course runs in Solihull, (Methodist Church); Stratford-Upon Avon (Friends Meeting House, Maidenhead Rd, ); and Leamington (Oddfellows Hall). Cost is £80 for ten weeks. 

For further details e.mail me at davidpackwood1@gmail.com

Course Description: Lives & Afterlives of Art Works.

The approach taken on this course here is similar to Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects  where a picture, sculpture, object, or artefact is used as a lens to see the society in which it was created. But instead of just concentrating on the culture in which the art is made, this course also follows the afterlives of the art work through time. The existence of art works can be divided into the living and an afterlife. They are made, shown during their maker’s lifetime, then their maker passes on leaving the art to live in an afterlife where the work passes through many other states and situations, well after the artist’s death. The aim of this course is to select twenty works of art (two per week) and examine their lives and afterlives in detail. Whilst there will be plenty of other slides of art related to the main artworks to show their origins and their influence, the focus will be on familiarising you with a few art works per week, so that you understand their importance and significance to not only the history of art; but other topics such as art crime, the history of taste, the history of museums and collecting, the workings of the art market in the age of digital technology, and the plight of art in the age of global terrorism. Art works such as Leonardo’s Madonna of the Yarnwinder (above and the Bust of Queen Nefertiti (below) have been selected from different art periods, times, cultures; all of them merit interest not only as fascinating works of art in themselves, but also for the strange destinies some of them have endured, long after their creators had died. Each week, in addition to slides of the main works, slides will be shown of other works by the artist, works influenced by it, and various other images connected with the lives and afterlives of the main works, so that you understand how the work fits into both its art history context as well as other genres like art crime and the history of collecting.

Course Outline.

1. Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna of the Yarnwinder & Van Eyck’s The Just Judges.
2. Benin Art & The Bust of Queen Nefertitit.
3. Hokusai’s The Great Wave & the Cloisters’ Cross in New York.
4. Caravaggio’s Taking of Christ & Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee.
5. Poussin’s Et in Arcadia Ego & Velasquez’s Las Meninas.
6. The Lion of Nimrud & The Four Horses of St Mark’s.
7. Thomas Gainsborough, Portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire & Oudry’s The White Duck.
8. Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait & Raphael’s Angel from The Oddi Altarpiece.
9. Pablo Picasso’s Young Girl with a Flower Basket & Andrew Wyeth’s Moonmadness.
10. Lucien Freud’s Portrait of Francis Bacon & Henry Moore’s Reclining Nude.

Suggested Reading

(Reading matter on specific works will be shown on the handouts; the following is a small selection of books relating to the course).

Ulrich Boser, The Gardner Heist: the True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft (London Harper, 2010).

Phillipe Costamagna, The Eye: An Insider’s Memoir of Masterpieces, Money and the Magnetism of Art (New Vessel Press, 2018).

Noah Charney (ed), Art and Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger, 2009).

Noah Charney, Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece, (New York, 2010).

Peter Harclerode & Brendan Pittaway, The Lost Masters: The Looting of Europe’s Treasure Houses, (Orion, 1999).

Jonathan Harr, The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece, (New York, Random House, 2005).

John Herbert, Inside Christies, (New York, St Martin’s Press, 1990).

Simon Houpt and Julian Radcliffe (foreword), Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft (Madison Press Books, 2009).

Ivan Lindsay, The History of Loot and Stolen Art from Antiquity until the Present Day (Unicorn Press, 2014).

Neil MacGregor, A History of the World in 100 Objects, (Allen Lane, 2010).

Lynn H. Nicholas, The Rape of Europe: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War, (Macmillian, 1994).

Sarah Thornton, Seven Days in the Art World (London, Granta, 2009).


One thought on “David Packwood”

  1. Hi David
    I have done one of your Art History courses at WArwick.
    Please could you tell me the cost of attending the mini 10 week course on Tuscany?
    Hope you are well


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