HISTART 271-001

Origins of Modernism: Art and Culture in Nineteenth-Century France

AH Aud. D
TTh 1:00-2:30pm
4 Credit Lecture
Cross-listed with FRENCH 241. All classes are taught in English.

This course examines a series of dramatic transformations in French art between 1784 and 1907—from the rise of Neoclassicism and Romanticism to the advent of Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. Our objective is to account for a selection of remarkable pictures (by Géricault, Manet, Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Seurat, van Gogh, et. al.) and to assess the changing cultural circumstances under which the art of painting was produced.

This is the period during which modern art developed its characteristic strategies and behavioral patterns:

  • a new insistence on individuality and originality;
  • a strained relationship with established artistic traditions
  • an open hostility towards institutional and commercial culture
  • a measured enthusiasm for radical politics and alternative subcultures

Over the course of the semester, we will explore the interrelations between artistic practices and a society radically transformed by revolution, industrialization, and the emergence of consumer capitalism. Lectures and discussion sections focus on the formal and thematic means by which artists sought to picture—and to understand—the advent of modernity.

Estimated cost of materials: $0-$50.

HISTART Concentration Distributions: D. Europe and the U.S., 4.Modern and Contemporary

Textbooks/Other Materials: All readings are available on Canvas.

Course Requirements: Three in-class image quizzes and three take-home essay tests. Each of the three image quizzes counts for 10% of the final grade. Each of the take-home essay tests counts for 20% of the final grade. Participation in discussion sections counts for 10% of the final grade.

Intended Audience: undergraduates.

Class format: Two eighty-minute lectures and one fifty-minute discussion section per week.

This course fulfills the LS&A Humanities distribution requirement