Art in France: from 1785 to 1925 - HA695

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


The module will focus on selected aspects of the development of art in France, during the period when Paris was widely seen as the powerhouse of innovation and achievement in the Western art world. The underlying structure will be chronological. Relevant tendencies and movements include Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism and Cubism. Prominent artists to be considered include David, Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Rodin, Matisse, and Picasso. Such visual material will be considered in the context of: wider political and social history; the evolution of exhibiting institutions and the art world; current art theory and criticism; attitudes towards artistic tradition and the visual cultures of non-western societies (e.g. the phenomenon of 'primitivism'; the impact and evolution of photography, launched in 1839; the emergence of the idea of the artistic avant-garde; the reinterpretation of specific genres, such as the portrait, landscape, the nude, history painting; patterns and shifts within art-historical scholarship on the material. The importance of studying original art objects will be embedded in the module through the scheduling of a visit to relevant galleries in London (e.g. National Gallery, Tate Modern, Courtauld Gallery) and/or Paris (subject to funding). Chronological coverage may vary between successive iterations of the module.


Contact hours

11 x two-hour lectures (this will address learning outcomes 11.1-4; 12.1)

11 x two-hour seminars/workshops (this will address learning outcomes 11.1–4; 12.1–8)

Study trip(s) – 6 hours

Independent learning hours: 250 (including research, private study and assessment work)

Total number of study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Essay 1, 1000 words (30%)
Essay 2, 2500 words (60%)
Seminar Presentation (10%)

Indicative reading

• Harrison, C., Wood, P., Gaiger, J. (eds) (1998) Art in Theory, 1815-1900: an anthology of changing ideas, Oxford: Blackwell
• Eisenman, S. and Crow, T.(2007) Nineteenth-century Art: A Critical History, London: Thames & Hudson
• Nochlin, L. (1971) Realism, Harmondsworth: Penguin
• Thomson, B. (2000) Impressionism: origins, practice, reception, London: Thames & Hudson
• Antliff, M., Leighten, M. and Leighten, P. (2011) Cubism and cultureLondon: Thames & Hudson

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Level 5 and 6 students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate skills of visual, critical and historical analysis, together with generic intellectual skills of synthesis, summarisation, critical judgement and problem-solving, that will allow for the construction of original and persuasive arguments;
2. Demonstrate the skills of communication, improving performance, problem-solving, working with others and effective use of appropriate vocabulary and illustrations, ideas and arguments in both a written and oral form;
3. Appropriately use a range of learning and reference resources (including visual resources) within the Templeman Library and elsewhere, including museums, galleries and the internet; read critically, analyse and use a range of primary and secondary texts;
4. Employ information technologies to research and present their work.
In addition, 6 level students will be able to:
5. Demonstrate the acquisition of an independent learning style; for example in the preparation and presentation of course work, in carrying out independent research, in showing the ability to reflect on their own learning and by mediating complex arguments in both oral and written form;
6. Approach problem-solving creatively, and form critical and evaluative judgments about the appropriateness of these approaches to a level where a substantial degree of autonomy and self-reflexive awareness is achieved in these tasks.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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