Learn about the history of Canadian art; how the art, movements and artists shaped a unique cultural identity. Expand your knowledge and skills by analyzing famous Canadian paintings, the backstories of the artists and groups including the Group of Seven, Woodland School and Les Automatistes. Expand your perspectives and skills of cultural analysis!  

Learning Goals

  • Recognize and describe the development of the visual arts in Canada from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of twentieth

  • Describe social, cultural and artistic significance of art movements and groups including The Group of Seven, Canadian Impressionists, and Painters Eleven

  • Analyze the works of notable artists including Tom Thompson, Emily Carr, Norval Morrisseau and Lawren Harris, and their roles in the development of the arts culture in Canada

  • Describe how Indigenous arts of Canada have been perceived by art scholars and Canadian arts institutions

  • Determine the impact of European and American art movements, critics and artists on Canadian artists

  • Analyze and articulate how artists’ groups, artists works, political events and policies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries impacted Canada’s cultural identity

What to Expect

  • Expert Course Design

    Intuitive and user-friendly the course follows a clear learning path aligning with best practices for online education. Includes: 8 modules with learning aims outlined for each, curated content, images to explore and application assignments to promote deep learning.

  • Quality Content

    Curated content from journals, arts institutions, books and more. Delivered in variety of formats including: 10+ interactive digital collages, 15+ videos featuring interviews and documentaries. Thought-provoking readings on artistic developments, political & social influences, First Nations arts and more.

  • Challenging Assignments

    10+ assignments designed to stimulate thought, encourage analysis of multiple viewpoints and develop skills of cultural analysis. Includes reflection responses, mini-exhibition of chosen artist, essay articulating critical analysis & more. Includes self-assessment tools and instructor examples.

  • Flexible Learning

    Self-paced, online anytime. Divided into 8 modules, with 6 learning segments in each for ultimate flexibility. Discussion forum encourages sharing of opinions among learners; are asynchronous and optional.

  • Course Completion

    Comparable to under-graduate level course; time commitment for each module between 2 and 4 hours; learners can customize their experience by creating their own learning path. Course certificate upon completion.

What's Included

View select learning segments for free! Click here to sign up for your free preview!

  • 3

    Module 2: Art & Nation Building: Colonial Art in Canada: Up to 1867—Confederation ( 5 segments )

    • Overview & Learning Aims: Module Two

    • Read & Watch: Module Two

    • Explore Artworks & Artists: Berczy, Krieghoff & More

    • Article: "Making Sense Out of the Visual: Aboriginal Presentations and Representations in Nineteenth-Century Canada"

    • Assignment - Reflection: Short Essay: Module Two

  • 4

    Module 3: After Confederation: Art in the 19th Century ( 6 segments )

    • Overview & Learning Aims: Module Three

    • Read & Watch: Module Three

    • Explore Artworks & Artists: Lucas O'Brien, James Morrice & William Notman

    • Article: "More than a Polite Pursuit: Art College Education for Women in Nova Scotia, 1887-1930s"

    • Assignments - Reflection & Artwork Analysis: Module Three

    • Discussion of Artwork Analysis: Video

  • 5

    Module 4: Nationalism to Modernism: 1900s to 1950s ( 7 segments )

    • Overview & Learning Aims: Module Four

    • Read & Watch: Module Four

    • Article: "The Group of Seven in Canadian History"

    • Explore: Art from Canadian War Museum, The Group of Seven & Canadian Impressionists

    • Assignments - Reflection & Mini Exhibition: Module Four

    • Example: Mini-Exhibition Assignment: Lawren Harris

    • Discussion of Mini Exhibition Assignment: Video

  • 6

    Module 5: Exploring Regionalism, Emily Carr and Indigenous Art ( 6 segments )

    • Overview & Learning Aims: Module Five

    • Read & Watch: Module Five

    • Article: "Placing Aboriginal Art at the National Gallery of Canada"

    • Article: "The Concept of “Regionalism" in Canadian Art History"

    • Explore: Artworks of Emily Carr, Regionalism & Indigenous Galleries

    • Assignments - Reflection & Artwork Analysis: Module Five

  • 7

    Module 6: Abstract Expressionism, Les Automatistes, and the Woodland School ( 6 segments )

    • Overview & Learning Aims: Module Six

    • Read & Watch: Module Six

    • Article: "If It's Not Shamanic, Is It Sham? An Examination of Media Responses to Woodland School Art"

    • Explore: Artworks of Les Automatistes, the Woodland School & Abstraction

    • Assignments - Reflection & 'Artist in Focus' Mini Exhibition: Module Six

    • Discussion of Mini Exhibition Assignment

  • 8

    Module 7: Post-Painterly Abstraction, Dada, Emma Lake Workshops & the Rise of the Visual Arts ( 5 segments )

    • Overview & Learning Aims: Module Seven

    • Read & Watch: Module Seven

    • Article: "The Evolution of Jack Bush"

    • Explore: Artworks of Harold Town, Jack Bush and Michael Snow

    • Assignment - Reflection: Module Seven

  • 9

    Module 8: Impact of Federal Government, Art Institutions & Anti-Americanism on Canada’s Identity ( 8 segments )

    • Overview & Learning Aims: Module Eight

    • Read & Watch: Module Eight

    • Article: "The Massey Report: did it send us the wrong way?"

    • Article: Federal Government Policy on Arts and Culture, Background Paper

    • Article: "Joyce Wieland at the Border: Nationalism, the New Left, and the question of political art in Canada"

    • Explore: National Museums Virtual Tours

    • Assignments - Reflection & Canada's Culture Collage: Module Eight

    • Final Assignment - Research Paper Details & Assessment

Meet Your Instructor

Hi! I was born in Canada and have a strong tie to Canada as I grew up there, went to school in Toronto and lived there for most of my adult life. I developed this course because I wanted to learn about Canada’s art history but could not find any online courses that included what I wanted to learn. I hope you enjoy exploring the interesting and diverse history of Canada’s arts and culture!

I started Art History for Real because as a museum-lover, docent and educator I saw how people wanted to learn about and engage with art, but couldn’t because of barriers inherent to museums and cultural institutions. I aim to change how people like you experience art with unique online courses like this one. I hope to meet you in the course’s community forum and hear your thoughts about your favorite works of art and views on Canada’s fascinating cultural development and its impact on national identity.

Learn about Canadian Art and how the history, movements and artists shaped its unique cultural identity.