HISTART 271-001

Origins of Modernism: Art and Culture in 19th-Century France

T Th 01:00 PM 02:30 PM
4 Credit Lecture

Cross-listed w/ FRENCH 241-001

This course examines a series of dramatic transformations in nineteenth-century French art, from the emergence of 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 they were produced.

This is the period during which modernist 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.

Note: This course fulfills the LSA Humanities distribution requirement.

Textbooks/Other Materials: None. All course readings are available on Canvas.

Course Requirements:

  • Three take-home essays tests and three short in-class quizzes.
    • Each of the three take-home tests counts for 20% of the final grade.
    • Each of the three quizzes counts for 10% of the final grade.
    • Participation in discussion section counts for 10% of the final grade.

Intended Audience: Undergraduates.

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

Estimated Cost of Materials: Less than $50.

HISTART Distribution Requirements: Europe and the US; Modern and Contemporary