The influence of Japan on Western art in the 19th century

Course Dates: 25/01/19 - 22/02/19
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Sarah Jaffray

Explore how 19th century European artists from the Impressionists to Art Nouveau were freed from the conventions of their cultural and artistic restraints by the motifs and philosophy of Japanese art.


What is the course about?

This course will explore how the art and culture of Japan inspired 19th century European artists. After an introduction to the Japanese culture that was transported to Europe in the 1850s, we will look at how specific artists and movements adopted and transformed Japanese art to suit their own artistic practice. It will conclude with how Japanese art changed the direction of European modernism as a whole.

This course is structured around lectures and class discussions exploring relevant concepts and historical questions.

What will we cover?

• ‘Pictures of the Floating World’ (Ukiyo-e), the Edo Period (1615–1868), its major artists and themes: Utamaro, Hiroshige, Hokusai
• Japonisme revolution in France: Émile Zola, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and the Impressionist circle.
• Japonisme as philosophical change: Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, the Nabis, Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt.
• Open and intimate, Japonism in Britain and America: James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright.
• Sensual aesthetics and the development of art nouveau: Gustav Klimt, Aubrey Beardsley and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

After lecture and discussion you should be able to:
• Identify visual elements of Ukiyo-e apparent in key 19th century art works
• Explain how the cultural influence of Japan impacted the artistic practice of at least 2 major 19th century European artists
• Demonstrate an understanding of the affinities of Japanese and European cultures in the mid-late 19th century.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to all. No prior knowledge of history or art history is required.

You should be able to follow written and verbal instructions, hand-outs and health and safety information. You will be invited to take part in group discussions. Please look at the course outline carefully to decide if you may benefit from support in your English skills to help you to take part fully in this class.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught with slide-based lectures, note sheets and group discussions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to bring a notebook. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might also be interested in: VB140 - Art evolutions: Pre-Raphaelites to Expressionism.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: VB242

Full Fri, day, 25 Jan - 22 Feb '19

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Full fee: £129.00
Senior fee: £103.00
Concession: £79.00

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.