• 2022 Term 3 (Aug - Sep)

Date & Time:

Wednesdays 11:00 am-1:00 pm (NZ Time)

  • Classes begins on 3 August 2022

  • The final class of the Term on Wednesday 21 September 2022.

Time Zone equivalents:

  • Honolulu, Hawai’i: Tuesdays 1:00-3:00 pm beginning 2 August 2022

  • US Pacific: Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 pm beginning 2 August 2022

  • US Mountain: Tuesdays 5:00-7:00 pm beginning 2 August 2022

  • US Central: Tuesdays 6:00-8:00pm beginning 2 August 2022

  • US Eastern: Tuesdays 7:00-9:00pm beginning 2 August 2022

  • London, UK: Wednesdays 12:00-2:00am beginning 3 August

  • New Delhi, India: Wednesdays 4:30-6:30am beginning 3 August

  • Bangkok, Thailand: Wednesdays 6:00-8:00am beginning 3 August

  • Singapore: Wednesdays 7:00-9:00am beginning 3 August

  • Sydney, Australia: Wednesdays 9:00-11:00 am beginning 3 August 2022


  • This series of eight talks, in our new Art and Architecture series, examines how the dimension of the spiritual exhibits itself in the secular art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Week 1:Impressionism to Post

Impressionism: From Monet to Munch, the latter half of the nineteenth century saw artists reject the long tradition of realism and begin experimenting with new forms of expression. The new language of art may have been shocking and radical, but often these were just different vehicles for giving voice to old spiritual and transcendent ideas.
Impressionism to Post

Week 2: German Expressionism

At the turn of the twentieth century, two slightly different German art movements developed further the new emerging expressionist style. One called itself, The Bridge, the other The Blue Rider. Both these innovative and revolutionary art movements had a strong social and mystical focus which attempted to address and respond to the growing spiritual decline in a modern post-Darwinian world.
German Expressionism

Week 3: Fauvism, Futurism, Orphism, Rayonism

This collection of movements had, as its focus, colour, (often non-representational), light, and dynamism of abstract forms. Underlying these formal preoccupations were often some kind of vague metaphysical quest, romantic in nature if sometimes misplaced.
Fauvism, Futurism, Orphism, Rayonism

Week 4: Kandinsky, Mondrian, Russian Abstraction

Abstract art came of age with this group of artists. At base, except for the Constructivists, the movement was deeply aligned with a spiritual mission. Indeed Kandinsky wrote a whole book on the subject to explain the theory behind his art, entitled, Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912).
Kandinsky, Mondrian, Russian Abstraction

Week 5: Dada

This art movement was the most radical one to emerge during the war years (1914 – 18), and its influence has reverberated down the decades. It was essentially nihilistic and anticlerical, but at its core, despite all its negations and protest, was a desire to give birth to a civilization worthy of the name.

Week 6: Surrealism

What many fail to realize is that this art movement found its impetus in a quasi-religious impulse. Its founder, Andre Breton, was enamoured by things of an occultist nature. Indeed the earliest manifestations of the surreal in art, by Giorgio De Chirico, were labelled, “metaphysical” paintings

Week 7: Abstract Expressionism, POP art

These are two antithetical art movements, the former usually associated with a desire to express deeply felt emotion, often of a spiritual nature, while the latter is frequently perceived as entirely secular. However, looking a little closer, this simple duality breaks down at a certain point. They both exemplify spiritual flirtation.
Abstract Expressionism, POP art

Week 8:Modern art in New Zealand

While New Zealand artists tend to cry shy of the spiritual in their art, some of our seminal practitioners in the business, from Colin McCahon to Shane Cotton, have made it the hub of their focus. Even someone as secular as Dick Frizzell has dabbled in the dimension.
Modern art in New Zealand

Meet our Instructor:

History, Literature & Philosophy Instructor Peter Dornauf, MA Dip Tchg

Peter Dornauf has taught in secondary schools, Wintec and Waikato University collectively for over 25 years. He is a well know Waikato artist, art critic and a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. His book “Days of Our Deaths” serves as the basis for one of Peter’s other popular EarthDiverse courses, “A Cultural History of Death.” Peter also teaches our “The Spiritual in Modern Art” course and continues to develop additional EarthDiverse courses for future Terms.


All in-person classes are held at the EarthDiverse offices and classrooms located at 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (located just north of the Hamilton Central Bus Station) (entrance is located on the side of the building, see map below). Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front of the building in any of the available car parks. Daytime parking can be found in our dedicated car parks, or free 2-hour on-street daytime parking can be found just in front of Anglesea Street.

Distance Learning:

This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton, New Zealand. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:

  • Attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time.

  • Attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time.

  • Watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.

Distance-Learning option:

  • In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.

  • Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.

  • Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.

Pricing options:

All prices in New Zealand Dollars. Unwaged includes students, seniors and retirees.


  • Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.

  • This class has no assignments, quizzes, tests or exams.

  • All classes encourage questions and group discussion.

  • PDF copies of each class presentation are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!

  • Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.

  • There are no refunds for missed classes. Missed classes can be made up by watching the on-line recording of the class session, which is usually posted within 24 hours.

  • Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single session without registering.

  • Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.


  • There are no prerequisites for this course.


  • The course fee includes all teaching materials.

  • You will only require a pen or pencil, a notebook for taking your own class notes, and a loose-leaf binder. Any notes that our instructor writes on the class whiteboard will be emailed to you as a digital PDF file so that you can print these out at home and add them to your own notebook.