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European Art of the 19th Century

Level 4, 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

This course is currently not being offered in the academic year 2015 - 2016.

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The course will explore the wide-ranging and iconic art of nineteenth century Europe. Each session will focus on specific artists and artistic movements within historical, social and cultural contexts. The module begins by exploring the work of Romantic artist such as Turner, Constable, Gericault and Delacroix and how emotion and imagination featured as inspiration. Realist painters on the other hand found their stimulus in subjects from everyday life. Physiognomy, the pseudo scientific system to detect character through physical appearance, was taken up in earnest by some artists, especially Frith. Additionally, it became popular to create narrative compositions that transmitted moral warnings. The final half module concentrates on significant movements such as Pre-Raphaelites, the Arts and Crafts Movement, Impressionism and Post-impressionism.

Syllabus content

Week 1
Introduction: This is a module overview with a group exercise and assignment brief

Week 2
Romanticism: What is meant by the term?  Who were artists associated with this movement?

Week 3
Realism: This session explores the difference between Romanticism and Realism and also introduces social realism in 19th century art.

Week 4
Physiognomy in art: This session demonstrates how the pseudo science was used to characterise certain ‘types’ of people by their facial features and physical form. Essay structure and referencing.

Week 5
Moral messages to women and men: This session focuses on the representation of correct femininity and masculinity in Victorian art.

Week 6
Pre-Raphaelites: This is the first of two classes about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood examining the work and inspirations of the original founder members and their circle.

Week 7
Pre-Raphaelites: Second wave Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Week 8
Impressionism: This class considers the meaning of the term and what the artists aimed to achieve.

Week 9
Post-Impressionism: This class explores the work of artists such as Van Gogh, Seurat, Gaugin and Toulouse Lautrec.

Week 10
Module recap and preparing for the assignment.

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in the subject. No previous knowledge is assumed.

Learning and Teaching

Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include group discussion, exercises and presentation of material on video and/or DVD. The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all. This will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the topics and ideas discussed in the course.

Coursework and Assessment

Essays or other equivalent written assignments to a total of 1500 words demonstrating an understanding of core elements of the course material.

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

You will not have formal examinations but you may have class tests. You may be asked to write assignments, keep a course journal or put together a portfolio. Our assessments are flexible to suit the course and the student.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions

Birchall, H. 2010. Pre-Raphaelites. London: Taschen.
Naifeh, S. and White Smith, G. 2011. Van Gogh. London: Profile Books.
Pointon, M. 1997.History of Art: a Students Handbook. London: Routledge.
Prettejohn, E. 2007.The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites.London: Tate Publishing.
Rosenblum, R. and Janson,H.W. 2004.19th-Century Art.  Harlow: Pearson.
Wilton, A. 2006.Turner in His Time. London: Thames and Hudson.

National Gallery. 2012. Artists A to Z. [online] (accessed 4 November 2012).
Tate Britain. 2012. Art and Artists. [online] (accessed 4 November 2012).

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.