The Life of the Buddha: An Introduction to Indian Buddhist Art

This online course will explore major museum collections including an in-depth presentation of Indian Buddhist masterpieces of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Discover the life of the Buddha, a major historical figure of ancient India who lived in the 5th-4th century BC and a prince who renounced his wealth to research and preach a new spiritual path. Examine Indian sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, ritual objects and rock-cut architecture to recognize the decisive moments of the life of the Buddha and understand how these artworks communicate Buddhist teachings. We will place the life of the Buddha in material context, and will follow the development of a rich narrative tradition in Buddhist art in India spanning the first centuries BC to contemporary times. You will be able to instantly recognize the Buddha, read intricate scenes telling the main events of his life, and identify some lesser-known episodes of his story.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Familiarity with sculptures, ritual objects, and architecture that depict the Buddha
  • A foundation in Buddhist Art
  • Knowledge about the Buddha’s life and teachings

Ideal for

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