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Forever Young: Great Artists Who Left Us Prematurely


We’re sorry but Section 1 is now full/closed. If you wish to be added to a wait list, please send an email to us at sps.cala@nyu.edu.

Some of the most celebrated and most significant artists were arguably destined to remain forever young—both in life and art. Vincent van Gogh, shortly before his untimely death at age 37, mused that “someday, death will take us to another star.” This course is dedicated to great artists whose lives were cut short but who left a definite imprint on art history. Together, they form a unique constellation of stars, among them Masaccio († at 27), Raphael († at 37), Caravaggio († at 38), Watteau († at 36), Seurat († at 31), Paula Modersohn-Becker († at 31), Egon Schiele († at 28), Modigliani († at 35), Eva Hesse († at 34), Piero Manzoni († at 29), Yves Klein († at 34), and Jean-Michel Basquiat († at 27). Driven by powerful creative urges and an exalted hunger for life, these artists lived intensely, even dangerously. Their fates and legacies make us wonder about what could have been had they lived longer to complete their visions and fulfill more of their dreams. Do their artistic accomplishments speak for themselves, or are their early departures at least in part responsible for creating and cementing their status as legends? We will pursue these questions by considering the perils (and rewards) of art-making.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • A foundation in art history
  • Familiarity with well-known artists from a variety of eras and genres

Ideal for

  • Art enthusiasts
  • Prospective and practicing arts professionals
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.