Art in the Nineteenth Century - HART8006

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 7 30 (15) Ben Thomas checkmark-circle


This module will explore the major art movements of the Nineteenth Century such as Romanticism, Realism, Pre-Raphaelitism, Impressionism, the New Sculpture and Post-Impressionism. It will look in depth at the work of a number of key artists during this period (for example, these may include J. M. W. Turner, Eugène Delacroix, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, Paul Gauguin, Auguste Rodin, Camille Claudel, Paul Cezanne and Vincent van Gogh). While the focus will be on the visual arts in France and England, the module will situate these artistic trends within a broader historical context, exploring parallels with literary, scientific and philosophical developments. Social attitudes towards the arts will be examined in the light of the class, gender and racial issues that characterised an age of industrial growth, European colonialism and empire building. Seminars will be dedicated to analysing topics like Delacroix and Orientalism, the 'Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood', the representation of poverty, nature and landscape, the modern city and popular culture, the impact of photography, or Gauguin in Tahiti.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 44
Total private study hours: 256
Total module study hours: 300


Optional for: MA History & Philosophy of Art; MA Curating.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Seminar notes (20%) – to be prepared each week, and submitted for assessment at the end of term.
Creative portfolio (40%) – to consist of 4 x 1000 word components such as: the analysis of a drawing, a photo-essay on a piece of public sculpture, a blog post on a nineteenth-century painting, an exhibition review.
Essay (40%) – 4000 words on a topic from a set of questions devised for level 7.

Reassessment methods

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Indicative reading

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

Indicative list:
Clark, T. J. (2000), The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers, London: Thames & Hudson
Eisenman, S. (2020), Nineteenth-Century Art: A Critical History, London: Thames & Hudson
Harrison, C., Wood, P. and Gaiger, J. (1998), Art in Theory, 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell
Marsh, J. (2019), Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, London: Quartet Books
Nochlin, L. (1971), Realism, London: Penguin

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Distinguish, explain and evaluate different art movements in the Nineteenth Century, their distinguishing styles, practices and ideas demonstrating an advanced level of knowledge and understanding.
2. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the works of key nineteenth-century artists.
3. Produce short pieces of critical work in a variety of forms that demonstrate to an advanced level the skills of object-based analysis and comparative visual analysis.
4. Understand the interplay between the visual arts and broader nineteenth-century culture through research into relevant scholarly literature.
5. Critically reflect upon and evaluate aspects of the art criticism produced during the Nineteenth Century.
6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to synthesize ideas and concepts relating literary, scientific and philosophical developments to those in the visual arts in the Nineteenth Century.
7. Produce an extended analysis of aspects of nineteenth-century art demonstrating critical and theoretical rigour together with advanced research skills.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Develop 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. Develop the key skills of communication, improving performance, problem-solving, and working with others, to a level where a substantial degree of autonomy and self-reflexive awareness is achieved in these tasks;
3. Communicate effectively, using appropriate vocabulary and illustrations, ideas and arguments in both a written and oral form;
4. Read critically, analyse and use a range of primary and secondary texts;
5. Locate and use appropriately a range of learning and reference resources (including visual resources) within the Templeman Library and elsewhere, including museums, galleries and the internet;
6. Employ information technologies to research and present their work.
7. 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;
8. 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 and where the student demonstrates advanced research and presentation skills.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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