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COURSE NAME: "Nineteenth Century Art and Architecture"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Sarah Linford
EMAIL: slinford@johncabot.edu
HOURS: TTH 11:30 AM 12:45 PM

A survey of art and architecture from the later 18th to the 19th centuries, this course will investigate the major movements of the age: Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. The emphasis differs depending on the thematic structure of the given semester (see current course syllabi for details). However, students will study the canonical works of such artists as Canova, Turner, Delacroix, Manet, Degas and Van Gogh and they will also examine how the function and reception of art are transformed over the course of a century. Some semesters the course emphasizes French painting with a secondary focus on art and architecture in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and North America. Other semesters American art comprises half the focus, with transatlantic comparisons that highlight the relationship between the cultures of the old world and the new. Selected writings by 19th century critics and the artists themselves, in addition to readings by recent scholars in the field, will also inform understanding of the development of art in a period marked by social and political upheaval and from which an increasingly “modern” culture emerged.
This semester, the course will focus on French and Italian art of the 19th century, with a secondary focus on art and architecture in England, Germany, and North America. In addition to understanding the major movements of the age, and the critical issues they raise regarding mutations in the art market, art criticism, display, political engagement and “Modernism,” we will periodically return to the question of cross-cultural “influence” focusing on the relation between France and Italy in this period, making use of the Roman museums that hold important collections of 19th-century Italian works.
We start with the Neoclassicism that characterizes artistic production, patronage and reception in the late 18th- and early 19th- centuries. We will then inquire into the growing fracture between Academic and Avant-garde practices in the third and especially fourth decades of the 19th century, careful to examine what this means in artistic, esthetic, political and historiographical terms. Romanticism’s relation to nation-building in Germany will be examined to offset French Orientalism in the same period, introducing two critical issues central to understanding early Modernism: nationalism and Otherness. Then, as we focus on the artistic and social transformations around the European Revolutions of 1848, we begin to investigate the parallel histories of French and Italian Realism, Naturalism, landscape painting, Impressionism and the Macchiaioli, and the increasingly problematic identification of formal innovation with social and political progress in the Post-impressionist Avant-gardes. The course concludes with the major artistic tendencies of the early 20th century, problematizing the chronology of the 19th-c, which is alternately said to start in 1789, 1830 or 1848, and to finish in 1900, 1906 or 1914. In addition to gaining familiarity with the major painters, sculptors, architects and art critics of the age, then, students will also be introduced to the major issues and debates surrounding the emergence of Modern art and “Modernism.”

-Recognize key works and issues in 19th-century art.

-Develop an understanding of the chronology, development and issues of art in the long 19th century.

- Recognize and reason about the contributions of influential artists and art historians 

-Exercise critical thinking while looking, reading, writing and speaking about modern and contemporary art.

-Identify, analyze and interpret significant aspects and themes in the history of art within different social and historical contexts.

-Evaluate the ways that art as is shaped by dynamic social and cultural interactions.

-Develop technical vocabulary appropriate to the field of art history, communication and, more generally, to our image-based culture.

-Learn to visually analyze works in relation to other genres and other bodies of knowledge — scientific, political, economic, intellectual

-Formulate and develop critical and rigorous arguments, especially in essays and presentations; find and evaluate pertinent, high-quality sources and information.

-Structure and effectively communicate ideas and information orally and in writing; understand how to convey ideas and information visually.

-Develop an aptitude at visual analysis and the contextualization of works in different histories.

-Formulate an interpretative argument and draw out observations on the cultural outlook, norms and histories that influenced the production, creation and reception of the works and issues under discussion.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History.Eisenman, Stephen, editorThames and HudsonISBN-13: 978-0500841723 ISBN-10: 0500841721N6450.E39 (2011 edition)If you decide to purchase the textbook, I recommend the 5th edition.

ParticipationActive participation and contributions to class discussions are an important part of this course.5
MIDTERM EXAMINATIONThree short answer questions concerning the material discussed in the first half of the course. Three image identifications. Three slide comparisons (for which the images are pre-identified).The midterm exam is designed to assess understanding of the historical development of 19th-century art, knowledge of key individuals and works. Details, guidelines and a mock midterm will be provided at midterm review.25
FINAL PAPERChoose, in accordance with the professor, one 19th-century work on display at the GNAM (a final paper workshop is scheduled). Your paper is expected to provide a visual analysis of the work that feeds your over-arching argument. Details of how to work, what to look for, and how to organize your materials are provided in my “paper-helper” posted on our Moodle course site and will be discussed in detail after the mid-term exam. Start working on your paper as soon as you have chosen your work, you’ll need the time to do some basic research on the object, to organize and outline your arguments before you start writing. Once you have a first draft, consider running it by the Writing Center.30
FINAL EXAMINATIONThree short answer questions concerning the material discussed in the second half of the course. Three image identifications from the second half of the course. Three cumulative slide comparisons of works since the beginning of the course (for which the images are pre-identified). Comparisons are mini-essays: they should be reasoned out, argued, and critically savvy. The final exam is designed to assess students' understanding of the historical development of 19th-century art, knowledge of key individuals and works and critical debates, past and present. Details, guidelines and a mock final exam will be provided during our final course review. 40

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



(Note: a detailed schedule and syllabus is posted on our dedicated Moodle course site.)

Classes meet T-TH 11:30-12:45.

Week 1.1: Tuesday, January 19th 

Course introduction: scope, issues, requirements


Week 1.2: Thursday, January 21st

Issues in the Nineteenth century:  modern art and “modernism”


Week 2.1: Tuesday, January 26th

Revolution, Patriotism and Virtue

Required reading: Eisenman, chapter 1 (Crow)


Week 2.2: Thursday, January 28th 

Crises in Reason 

Required reading: Eisenman, chapters 2 and 3 (Crow)


Week 3.1: Tuesday, February 2nd 

Vision and Visionaries

Required reading: Eisenman, chapters 4 and 5 (Lukacher)


Week 3.2: Thursday,  February 4th 

Nation-building though the Arts

Required reading: Eisenman, chapters 6 and 7 (Lukacher)


Week 4.1: Tuesday, February 9th 

Old and New Worlds; Orientalism and the Other

Required reading: Eisenman, chapters 8 and 9 (Pohl)


Week 4.2: Thursday, February 11th

Naturalism and Realism

Required reading: Eisenman, chapters 10 and 11 


Week 5.1: Tuesday, February 16th 

Manet and Modern Life

Required reading: posted excerpt from Clark, The Painting of Modern Life


Week 5.2: Thursday, February 18th 

Photography between Art and Industry

Required reading: Eisenman, chapter 12 


Week 6.1: Tuesday, February 23rd

Impressionism, or the “Intransigent” Eye

Required reading: Eisenman, chapter 15 


Week 6.2: Thursday, February 25th

The Macchiaoli

Required reading: Eisenman, pp. 320-336


Week 7.1 Tuesday, March 2nd

Midterm review


Week 7.2 Thursday, March 4th 

Midterm examination


Week 8.1 Tuesday, March 16th

Neo-impressionism, Pointillism, Divisionism: Science and Utopia

Required reading: Eisenman, chapter 17


Week 8.2 Thursday, March 18th

The Problem with Van Gogh

Required reading: Eisenman, chapter 19


Week 9.1: Tuesday, March 23rd

Gauguin, Bernard and the scope of “synthetism” circa 1890

Required reading: Denis 1 and Bernard (posted on Moodle)


Week 9.2: Thursday, March 25th

The Non-representational and the Decorative: The Nabis

Required reading: Aurier (posted on Moodle)


Week 10.1: Tuesday, March 30th

Art Nouveau, the Secessions and the Liberty style

Required reading: Eisenman, chapter 14


Week 10.2: Thursday, April 1st

Nineteenth-century sculpture, from Canova to Rodin

Required reading: Krauss except from Passages in Modern Sculpture, pp.7-37 (posted on Moodle)


Week 11.1: Tuesday, April 6th 

International “Symbolism”

Required reading: Eisenman, chapter 20


Week 11.2: Thursday, April 8th 

Neo-traditionism and the search for a Modern Classicism circa 1900

Required reading: Denis 2 (posted on Moodle)


Week 12.1: Tuesday, April 13th 

The Paradoxes of Cézanne

Required reading: Eisenman, chapter 21


Week 12.2: Thursday, April 15th 

Marketing Formal Innovation: The Case of Fauvism

Required reading: Bois in Foster, pp. 82-89 and 112-117 (posted on Moodle)


Week 13.1: Tuesday, April 20th

The Cézanne-to-Cubism myth, or High Modernism

Required reading: Bois and Krauss in Foster, pp. 90-96 and 118-123 (posted on Moodle)


Week 13.2: Thursday, April 22nd 

In the Aftermath of Divisionism: Futurism

Required reading: Bois in Foster, pp. 102-111 (posted on Moodle)


Week 13.2: Tuesday, April 27th 

Other legacies of Post-impressionism, from Malevich to Mondrian

Required reading: Bois in Foster, pp. 142-146 and 160-165 (posted on Moodle)


Week 14.1: Thursday, April 29th

Course Review and FINAL PAPER DUE


Week 15: (Week of December 7th-11th)

Final Exam