Undergraduate Seminar: French Art and Revolution: from the 18th- to the mid-19th century
Wednesday | 9:00 - 12:00pm
This seminar will focus on the politics of French art during a period characterized by multiple revolutions and regimes changes (the Bourbon monarchy, the Revolution of 1789, the Napoleonic empire, the Bourbon monarchy’s restoration, the Revolution of 1830, the Revolution of 1848, and Napoleon III’s coup d’état of 1851). This violent period of political and cultural upheaval witnessed extraordinary transformations in French art. While this art has often been interpreted in terms of stylistic change (Rococo to Classicism to Romanticism), it has also inspired a major methodological shift in the history of art: “the social history of art” began with the seminal work of T.J. Clark in the 1970s and that of his student Thomas Crow in the 1980s. We will examine this literature, focusing on the relation between artistic and social change, considering not only political and institutional pressures upon artists, but also the shifting conceptions of art’s purpose and audience. Crucial too will be this period’s shifting constructions of gender, sexuality, nation, race, slavery, and empire.
Among books to be read (often in their entirety):
Thomas Crow, Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris (1985)
Lynn Hunt, The Family Romance of the French Revolution (1993)
Mona Ozouf, Festivals and the French Revolution (1988)
Thomas Crow, Emulation. Making Painters for Revolutionary France (2006)
Laura Auricchio, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. Artist in the Age of Revolution (2009)
T.J. Clark, The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists & politics in France, 1848-1851 (1973)
T.J. Clark, Image of the People. Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution (1973)
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Extremities. Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France (2002)
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (A) and Chronological period (III), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.