Program Details

What’s in the Famous Name? Why Do I Recognize That Picture?

Karen Roberts
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Have you ever heard the name of an artist and wondered why this person is renowned? Have you ever heard the title of a work of art and wondered why it deserves such fame? This series will examine why specific artworks become masterpieces to be revered by all ages and what makes these artists considered "genius."  How do they see beyond the boundaries of their day to create new forms? Taking alternative paths, they overcome society's devotion to the familiar and resistance to the new. What is it in their art that overcomes social obstacles?


  1. Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi’s apartments and cathedral have organic shapes that create a fantasy environment with emotional color and texture. What inspired his unique vision? His Sagrada Familia Cathedral is the icon of Barcelona, Spain.
  2. Frank Gehry’s buildings are cited as among the most brilliant contemporary structures in the world. Gehry’s Deconstructionist form redefined architecture. Critics call this style irreverent and cubistic. He creates his brand with titanium metals and fluid lines. 
  3. Georgia O'Keeffe is historically known as the first woman to achieve status in the N.Y. art world. Her paintings of flowers are what she is most renowned for, unfortunately, they received Freudian interpretations minimizing O'Keefe's artistic pursuit of simplicity. 
  4. The art of Frida Kahlo still defies any single interpretation. Some see Kahlo’s paintings as surrealist or expressionist. Her personal style seems to universally engage our sense of empathy, whimsy, and fascination.

About the Instructor

  • Karen Roberts, Ph.D., is an art historian and artist who teaches at FAU, Nova University, and is Professor Emerita at Broward College. As a professor of the year and recipient of two Endowed Teaching Chair Awards, she has been lecturing in the Tri-County area museums and art organizations. Her research reviews art as a reflection of cultural values. She has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, Japan, and China to pursue first-hand experience.