Europe’s Great Galleries II: A Virtual Tour

A 10-week course: 29th September - 8th December 2023. Fridays 11.00-12.45 (UK time)


Join us for our new 10-week online course and enjoy a virtual tour of some of Europe’s greatest art collections. Our unique, interactive classes combine LECTURES by art historian and National Gallery lecturer Siân Walters with LIVESTREAM TOURS BROADCAST DIRECT FROM MUSEUMS around the world, guided by expert art historians, archaeologists and guides.  We have secured some exclusive openings and museum visits including the world’s first ever livestream tour broadcast from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, including a tour of the recently opened Titian exhibition, led by its curator. There will also be an exclusive live broadcast from the recently reopened Ca’ Rezzonico and a new exhibition dedicated to Rosalba Carriera.

The lectures and visits are all different from our Great Galleries course earlier this year so the course can be enjoyed by both newcomers to Art History in Focus as well as students who have attended the previous module.


Each week we will explore a different gallery or museum.

We have arranged exclusive, live access to a number of museums in Europe. Our course includes a unique visit to the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice where we have been granted a special privilege, allowing us to broadcast the world’s first livestream guided tour from the museum.  The gallery contains the most important collection of Venetian art in the world, with highlights such as Titian’s Pietà, Veronese’s Feast in the House of Levi and Giorgione’s Tempest.  Our live tour will be led by esteemed art historian and Venetian art specialist, Dr Antonio Mazzotta, curator of the recently opened Titian exhibition which we will also see.

We have also been given special permission to film an exclusive, live broadcast from the Ca’ Rezzonico, now a museum dedicated to 18th century Venice. The palace will soon reopen following an extensive restoration programme, with new bequests and many works that have been in storage for decades, including paintings by Guardi, a rare sketch by Giambattista Piazzetta and sculptures by Antonio Corradini. We will also enjoy an expert guided tour of a new exhibition dedicated to Rosalba Carriera’s miniatures The tour will be led by Dr Luisella Romeo whose authoritative commentary and expert camerawork will allow you to gain an exclusive insight into the work of this great female artist.

We have been given special permission to film an out-of-hours tour from The Wallace Collection, one of London’s most magnificent collections spanning many centuries of painting, objets d’art, armour and furniture. Here our tour will focus in particular on the Great Gallery with its masterpieces by Rubens, Canaletto, Rembrandt and van Dyck.

There will also be a visit to the Museum of San Martino in Naples where we enjoy two livestream guided tours, led by the well-known archaeologist Dr Raffaele Romano.

We will enjoy a special guest lecture broadcast from Vienna and dedicated to the Belvedere Museum which is famous in particular for its collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt including “The Kiss”. The lecture will be given by Dr Arnika Groenewald-Schmidt who has been a curator at the museum for many years. The Belvedere is celebrating its 300th birthday this year.

Art History in Focus director Siân Walters has been a lecturer at the National Gallery in London for over 20 years and so one of the sessions will be dedicated to exploring some of its best-loved paintings.

Siân will also explore the collections of the Mauritshuis in the Hague, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria in Perugia and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi.

All lectures and museum broadcasts are live and interactive, allowing you to ask questions.  Siân and all her expert colleagues are known for their informative but informal approach, combining erudite commentary with an entertaining and approachable delivery.  The sessions, streamed on Zoom Webinar, will enable you to gain special access to museums and galleries whilst at the same time providing a wonderful opportunity to travel virtually from home. Our visits will also support both galleries and individuals working in the cultural sector and a percentage of the course price is reserved for supporting other cultural institutions in need of assistance.


– A full course outline and reading list will be emailed to all attendees approximately one week before the first session. Students also receive an informal weekly newsletter with news, reading suggestions, recipes and website links.

– Live streamed sessions are on Friday mornings and run from 11.00am – 12.45 (UK time). There is no session on 3rd November (half-term). The cost includes museum entrance fees, filming permits and donations.

– Tune in from anywhere in the world or enjoy a recorded version if you cannot watch live. A link to the recording will be sent soon after the end of the session if you cannot attend, enabling you to watch on catch up after the session any time until Monday at midnight (UK time). Please note that recordings are only available to those who miss a live session.

– You are welcome to join the course at any point however, please note that you will only be able to see the recording from the previous session if you join after the course start date.

– Our guided tours use the most up-to-date technology to provide you with the best possible virtual experience. You will feel as though you are exploring the museums yourself with the running commentary given by our guides, with the possibility of admiring details of the artworks in high resolution as we move around the rooms.

 – All of the sessions are new so they can be enjoyed by those who have followed our other online courses as well as newcomers, who are always most welcome!

– Please refer to the Further Information panel below for booking details.

 – Please book at least 24 hours before the course commences in order to receive your course documentation and log-in details in good time, thank you.


Here are just a few comments following recent similar courses:

“I wanted to let you how much I’ve enjoyed these lectures.  You and your guest lecturers have exceeded all expectations.  Your knowledge, technical skills and presentation all combine to keep me enthralled every Friday morning – Bravo!”

“Thank you for such a wonderful course. Every week’s lectures and visits have been a delight .. and have made Friday mornings the highlight of the week. I shall be signing up for the next and look forward enormously to more Friday mornings of bliss!”

“The format works really well and the lectures are excellent … it feels really special to be allowed to be in the galleries and churches live. This is the first we have done with Art History in Focus but it won’t be the last!”

“Thank you so much for another beautifully presented course with wonderful choices of music and your follow-up Monday email, with lots to inspire further… Travel and galleries and museums are difficult for me, so I very much appreciate particularly the live visits.”

“I absolutely love your courses Sian! I am learning so much about art, history and the world .. but above all it is your unique style that is so enchanting and keeps me coming back for more! As an expert in your subject you have great knowledge but also the gift of making your lectures accessible to a wide range of participants through your wonderful use of language and lovely sense of fun. Thank you!”

“ I wanted to thank you very much for such a great educational course. I attended classes through the recording as I am an Australian resident and found this such a game changer for me. It gave me the possibility to participate in class even though broadcast from London. You and your expert lecturers imparted such a wealth of knowledge and I loved the virtual tours.”

“Your course is splendid – the combination of lectures and virtual walks/visits works brilliantly.”

“Your absolutely brilliant lectures have been a real highlight of this year. I cannot thank you or praise them enough”.


Art History in Focus is proud to have initiated the concept of online tours in many major European museums and historic sites. We are delighted to have developed these collaborations which continue to raise important funds for the galleries and cultural sites as well as those working in the cultural sector.

Photo – The Gallerie dell’ Accademia, Venice by Sergiy Galyonkin

Further Information


1. BOOK.

Click on the gold “Book This Course/Event” button on the right hand side now, fill in the online booking form and pay online. You will be notified automatically by email once your booking has been accepted.

Please ensure you enter your email address correctly, as your Zoom link will be sent to this address, thank you.

The participation fee is £155 per person, if making bookings for a number of people please provide their email addresses when booking them as separate participants. The fee includes “virtual visit” fees to sites visited as well as donations to cultural institutions in need of support.


Download ZOOM once you have booked – please print/download the instructions in this downloadable link and read them carefully. Zoom works best when using Google Chrome.


You will receive an email approximately 24-48 hours in advance of the event asking you to register.** This is a privacy function enabling only registered participants to attend. After registering you will automatically receive the Zoom log in link – please keep this safe

** Please note that these details are sent out in office hours, so if you book on a weekend you may not receive them until Monday. You must register with the same name that you have booked under, otherwise you may not be able to watch. If you have not received your email confirmations, please check your ‘deleted items’ and ‘junk mail’ folders or click here for advice.


Join the event at least ten minutes before it is scheduled to start, to ensure everything is working.

If you are not able to watch at the time it is live-streamed, you can still book online, as above. You do not need to advise us if you can’t participate live, don’t worry! You will be contacted after the event has been broadcast with instructions on how to watch on catch up (until Monday at midnight UK time). Please note, the recording is only available to those who have not been able to participate live and the viewing window cannot with regret be extended, for copyright purposes.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event. We regret that we are unable to offer technical support with Zoom but tips can be found in the attachment. If you would like to book more than one event, please book separately for each lecture that you would like to attend, thank you. If you are booking for more than one person, it is important that you include their email address so that we can send them the lecture link too. We regret we are unable to offer refunds but don’t worry if you are not able to attend, as we will send you the recording link.