Art and revolution: in the long 18th century
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: VB149
Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
What is the course about?
This morning 6-session art history course follows the philosophical fluctuations of Enlightenment Europe through its visual art. We begin with the Baroque propaganda of absolute monarchies and end with the Romantic art of the Napoleonic era. In between, we focus on the always beautiful, yet wholly subversive Rococo, as well as the revolutionary concepts of Neo-Classicism. We actively consider the impact of other social elements including fashion, aesthetic theory and satire (to mention a few). These developments are addressed thematically through the works of iconic, European masters such as Nicolas Poussin, Mary Beale, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Tiepolo, Chardin, Canaletto, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Jacques Louis David, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun and Francisco Goya.
The course includes writings by artists, art critics, politicians and philosophers (including Voltaire, Rousseau and Winckelmann) to get a greater sense of the contemporary mindset that shaped the art of this period. From its themes and readings this course aims to build the student’s general, art historical skill set, which can then be applied across various periods and cultures.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
• The (not-so) ‘divine right’ of kings: art, the academy, portraiture and propaganda
• Art theory: what painting is supposed to be, with emphasis on Poussin and Watteau
• From chubby cherubs to scathing satire: the myth of Rococo frivolity, with emphasis on Tiepolo and Chardin
• The grand tour: new concepts of beauty and the picturesque, with emphasis on Canaletto and Reynolds
• Weaponising art: Neo-Classicism and the French Revolution, with emphasis on Vigée Le Brun and David
• Chaos and introspection: Romanticism, with emphasis on Goya.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Explain the impact of the art academy on the career of the artist in 18th century Europe
• Explain how Enlightenment philosophy impacts one or more of the art movements we discuss in the class
• Identify at least one key compositional/iconographical element in each of the major art movements discussed in this course
• Discuss as least one of the major art theoretical concepts related to the art of western Europe in the 18th century.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for all levels.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught online with slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally for download, not printed out for you.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list provided.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might also be interested in:
VB152: Art and Anxiety from the Enlightenment to the Victorian Age
VB212: A change must come: art, politics and society
VB857: Art and Science.
Sarah Jaffray received her BA and MA in Art History with an emphasis in French Modernism and a minor in the Italian Renaissance. She holds a second MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. Sarah was a lecturer for several colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area before relocating to London to be with her family. For the past three years she has worked as an educator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum and at Wellcome Collection. Her interests include Modernism, drawing, artistic process, collaboration, cultural theory, and the intersection of art and technology. She is currently researching the relationship of language and drawing.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.