The Faculty of Arts proudly presents a Masterclass series in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria.

As part of the University of Melbourne’s Learning Partnership with the NGV exhibition French Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Faculty of Arts is delighted to present a Melbourne Masterclass series tracing the fascinating history of this influential movement, and its ongoing impact on contemporary audiences.

Masterclass attendees will enjoy:

  • stimulating presentations from Emeritus Professor Peter McPhee AM (9 June rescheduled to 15 September) and Associate Professor Alison Inglis (16 June rescheduled to 22 September);
  • refreshments in Federation Court;
  • exclusive after-hours access, allowing you to explore the exhibition with a fraction of the usual crowds;
  • and a 10% discount on the NGV’s four-week online Impressionism course, launching 18 June.

Join us for one, or both masterclass sessions – the perfect way to experience these Melbourne Winter Masterpieces.

Due to lockdown restrictions in Melbourne these NGV masterclasses have been postponed to September.  Ticketholders have been notified and may opt for a transfer or full refund.

Join our Community Education mailing list to receive updates on future programs.

Claude Monet's Grainstack (Snow Effect)
Claude Monet , 'Grainstack (snow effect)' 1891

Let there be light: the origins of French Impressionism

Presented by Emeritus Professor Peter McPhee AM
NEW DATE: 6.00pm-8.00pm Wednesday, 15 September 2021

“Impressionism; it is the birth of light in painting.” – Robert Delaunay

Monet, Renoir, Degas Рtoday these names are synonymous with iconic masterpieces. However, these artists, and others painting in the light-filled Impressionist style, were far from celebrated by the conservative mid-19th century Acad̩mie. The movement represented a radical break from tradition in both technique and subject, offering entirely new ways of looking at the world. Grand paintings of history and mythology were replaced by the vibrant streetscapes of an increasingly modern France, while female painters, working and exhibiting beside their male colleagues, illuminated the domestic sphere.

This masterclass offers attendees a deep-dive into the social history of mid- 19th century France and the context of the birth of the Impressionism movement. Where did Impressionism come from? And why was it considered so radical?

New world order: how Impressionism conquered the globe

Presented by Associate Professor Alison Inglis
NEW DATE: 6.00pm-8.00pm Wednesday, 22 September 2021

"Impressionism is only direct sensation. All great painters were less or more impressionists.” - Claude Monet

From Parisian salons, to private American collections, to a debut exhibition in contemporary Melbourne, French Impressionism has become a truly international phenomenon. The revolutionary styles and attitudes of the French artists reverberated throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, finding traction in artists’ colonies across the globe. The movement has been reflected and refracted in countless ways, adopting distinctly national flavours everywhere from the Netherlands, to New York, to Narrm.

This masterclass offers attendees a comprehensive analysis of the global impact of the Impressionist movement as well as insights into the provenance and patronage of works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and other collections.

Camille Pissaro Two peasant women in a meadow 1893
Camille Pissarro, 'Two peasant women in a meadow' 1893


Wednesday 15 September | Wednesday 22 September

5.30pm-6.00pmArrival and registration.
6.00pm-7.00pmMasterclass presentation and audience Q&A.
7.00pm-7.15pmBreak for refreshments.
7.00pm-8.00pmExhibition viewing time.


Professor Peter McPhee

Peter McPhee AM is an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Melbourne. He was appointed to the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) in 2003 before becoming the University's first Provost in 2007-09. He is a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of Social Sciences. He is also Chair of the History Council of Victoria, the peak body for history in the State. Peter has published widely on the history of modern France, most recently Robespierre: a Revolutionary Life (Yale University Press, 2012); and Liberty or Death: the French Revolution (Yale University Press, 2016).

Associate Professor Alison Inglis

Associate Professor Alison Inglis is a leader in the field of art curatorship, art museum studies and art history. She has a long-standing research interest in nineteenth-century art. She has coordinated the Master of Art Curatorship at the University of Melbourne since 1995, one of the few art curatorship courses in Australia. She sits on the board of Museums Victoria, was appointed Emeritus Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria in 2010 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2020 for service to education and to the museum and gallery sector.


The NGV masterclasses are now fully booked.

Join our Community Education mailing list to receive updates on future programs.


Ellie Clay, Community Education Programs Manager
Phone: +61 3 8344 2543