Victorian Classicism Interactive

Course Synopsis

The artistic movement known as Victorian Classicism emerged in the 19th century during a period in which there was great public interest in the lost civilisations of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. The expansion of the railway system allowed people to travel further to see the ancient remnants of a classical past such as Hadrian’s Wall or the popular Roman towns of Bath and Cirencester. This increased social interest and fascination with the ancient world naturally infiltrated the art world and thus the Victorian Classicism movement was born.

This course will introduce you to the four major artists associated with the Victorian Classicism movement, and their most famous paintings. This course is a perfect supplement to our course on Art Historiography, and would suit anyone thinking of applying to study an art-related subject at university.


What’s Included?





Personal Profile

Interactive Tutorials

Quizzes and Exams



Why Take this Course?

This course is ideal preparation for students thinking of studying the Victorian era at university, whether as part of a history, politics, or art course.

Aims and Objectives

  • To understand the origins and key features of Victorian Classicism
  • To gain an appreciation for the major artists in this period and their works
  • To analyse critically some of the key issues of Victorian Classicism

Key Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Consider the differences between artists' approaches in this period
  • Discuss some of the major themes of Victorian Classicism, such as the roles of women and myth


All courses include the following Interactive Tutorial series

Tutorial 1

An Introduction to Victorian Classicism

1 - 1.5 hours

This tutorial will introduce the topic of Victorian Classicism through focussing on the four most prominent artists: Albert Moore, Frederic Leighton, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Edward Poynter, examining the relationships between the artists and their excursions to archaeological sites. The tutorial will look at some artists’ emphasis on aesthetic appeal over historical accuracy (including anachronisms such as the misplacement of artefacts), compared with other artists’ favouring historic “truths” (through painting accurately from objects such as the Elgin Marbles).

Tutorial 2

The Ancients and Moderns

1 - 1.5 hours

This tutorial will examine the modern viewer's and the Victorian viewer’s discomfort contemplating the past through art. Lawrence Alma-Tadema once said: ‘There is not such a great difference between the ancients and the moderns as we are apt to suppose. This is the truth that I have always endeavoured to express in my pictures, that the old Romans were human flesh and blood like ourselves, moved by the same passions and emotions.’ Alma-Tadema’s identification of the affinities between Roman and Victorian culture provides some discomfort, particularly as the ‘passions and emotions’ that they are deemed to share resulted in eruptions of violence in Roman times.

Tutorial 3

Women in Victorian Classicism

1 - 1.5 hours

This tutorial will encourage students to think about women’s position within Victorian Classicism in relation to broader 19th century gender concerns. Paintings of languorous women seemingly free from responsibility are a contentious concept for a Victorian viewer. Their lack of activity positions the women both at the height of luxury and in an obscure realm of purposelessness – why have they been painted if not merely to advocate beauty? Can the painting be justified if it serves no moral purpose? Victorians were advised to search for a ‘higher aim’ when viewing art – yet these paintings do not engage with such beliefs.

Tutorial 4

Victorian Classicism and Myth

1 - 1.5 hours

This tutorial will examine some of the artists’ most prominent works. All four artists’ painted depictions of Greek and Roman myths; this section will look at the popularity of such works, in particular the use of the nude, and examine why such myths merited being retold during the Victorian period. The tutorial will also examine a female artists, Henrietta Rae's, painting of a female nude in the classical theme, challenging restrictions prohibiting women from drawing from live models in the Academy Schools.

What’s Included?

All courses contain the following elements:

Interactive Tutorials
Online Quizzes
Access to the discussion forum
Access to all course resources
Certificate of completion

Key Details

Course Pre-Requisites Intermediate/advanced level of English
A keen interest in paintings and art history
Course Level For students applying/thinking of applying to university
This course is an area-specific course, designed to expand your knowledge of Art History
Difficulty level: Easy
Fees £29.99
Workload 4 - 6 hours

Enrolment Options

Choose one of the following options to take your course:

Single Licence


Enrol on this course
Access to interactive course content
Discussion boards, exams, resources
Personal learning profile
Course certificate

Enrol Now

Membership 1


3-Month Membership
Access to all courses
Discussion boards, exams, resources
Personal learning profile
Course certificates

Enrol Now

Membership 2


6-Month Membership
Access to all courses
Discussion boards, exams, resources
Personal learning profile
Course certificates

Enrol Now
One of the best e-learning courses on the subject currently available. Would definitely recommend to others (Cultural Anthropology)

Laura, UK
It was a very useful and relevant experience that helped me review some contents, complementing my understanding of the subject. Overall, a very good, lively and complete extra-curricular activity which I wholeheartedly recommend. (An Introduction to Philosophy)

Martinez, Spain
Awesome! Just like all the other courses it was full of great ideas and aspects elaborated on in great detail on. Truly an educational experience. (Business and Management)

Kyle, Israel
This course is great, fast paced, interesting and very entertaining. It gives a great overview of philosophy, and concise introduction to the main themes, but also leaves space for personal reflection and research which is always welcome! (Ethics: An Overview)

Louise, France
This course had a lot of interesting information on a very wide range of topics based on US history. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a basic overview of issues in 20th-century America. (20th-century American History)

Chalint (Greece)
The "Introduction to Law" course I took was excellent - I would recommend it to anyone wishing to apply to law school, or that is generally interested in the topic. Having completed the course, it leaves me wanting to study more of ORA's Law courses! (Introduction to Law)

Amelia (UK)
Victorian Classicism was an excellent course, which will be enjoyed by those interested in art history, greek mythology and British history as well as those with a great curiosity for traditions, morals and ethics during the 19th century. (Victorian Classicism)

Anne-Ly (Singapore)
After being out of high school and university for almost 10 years, the ORA Prep courses certainly helped in encouraging me to get back into uni as a mature student of Art History. I can hardly wait for the next academic challenge and I dearly hope anyone considering re-entering or visiting university for the first time comes across ORA Prep courses to build up their courage, too! Thank you, ORA! (Methodologies in Art History)

Anne-Ly (Singapore)
I'm very glad I discovered ORA Prep - it offers very interesting insights into the most varied subjects. I'm planning to enrol on other courses as well. I highly recommend it to anyone! (Ethics: An Overview)

Christina (Portugal)
It is an enjoyable course that gives a good introduction to ancient Greek architecture. Now I look to these amazing sites with a deeper understanding of their history. It encourages me to study these structures further! (Ancient Greek Architecture)

Zeina (Jordan)

Need more information about this course?