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Critical Analysis of Art Module VII

Rico Franses

23 May - 20 June 2024

Mondays and Thursdays

INR 7,500 Participation

INR 10,000 Participation + Writing/Final Project

6:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST 

Worldwide Registration Open

Online via Zoom

Download Course Poster

About the Course

This course investigates the fundamental conceptions of what kinds of “things” images are, what they do, and perhaps most importantly, how they do what they do, within Buddhist art.  Our methodology will be to examine the images with great care, paying as much attention as possible to what they themselves want, or expect, from those of us who look at them. What do the images believe we are capable of? What do they think we need, that they can provide? 

Although this process of examining the images may sound obscure, it is simpler than it first seems. The course proposes that every image is already a guide to its own interpretation, and all we have to do is to pay careful attention to what it is saying. 

In order to pinpoint some of the specificities of Buddhist art in these respects, we will also look at imagery from some of the other great religious traditions, focusing in particular on Byzantine icons. As we will see, despite profound religious differences, some key overlaps emerge between the two sets of images, each highlighting the mysterious modes by which the other operates. 

This course is not a survey of Buddhist art, nor a historical accounting of its development. Rather, it uses select images in an effort to arrive at an understanding of some of its core principles.

About the Professor

Rico Franses is Chair of the Critical Analysis of Art at BICAR. He was for many years Founding Director of the University Art Galleries and Collections at the American University of Beirut. He has also held teaching positions at The Australian National University (Canberra), Pratt Institute (New York), and a fellowship at Harvard University. He has a BA in Philosophy (McGill University, Montreal), an MA in Art History (McGill) and a PhD in Art History (Courtauld Institute of Art, London). Among his publications are a book, Donor Portraits in Byzantine Art. On the Vicissitudes of Contact between Human and Divine (Cambridge University Press, 2018), and several articles including ‘Lacan and Byzantium. In the Beginning was the Image’, ‘The Deleuzian Spatiality of Byzantine Art’, and 'Untime in the Unconscious.  On the Dislocations of Time in Freud, Lacan, Laurie Anderson and Walid Sadek’.


Students will receive a Certificate of Completion upon successful attendance of a course or a Certificate of Completion and Letter of Evaluation if they successfully attend and complete the final assignment. Those who complete three courses (attendance and writing) in the Critical Analysis of Art over two calendar years are eligible for a BICAR Diploma in Critical Analysis of Art.

Refund Policy

We will refund your mode of payment — minus a 25% processing fee — if you choose not to take this course after the first session. Or, you can ‘roll over’ your balance to another or future BICAR course without a fee deduction.


To register, we can facilitate two modes of payment — either a direct bank transfer to our Indian account or we also have a PayPal link:

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