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Unit information: Realism (Level M Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Realism (Level M Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HARTM0033
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Shaw-Miller
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will consider, compare and contrast, the aspiration to Realism in nineteenth century art. The aesthetics of Realism emerged in contrast to both Neo-Classicism and Romanticism and became one of the major tendencies in modern art. Emerging in the context of the European Revolutions of 1848 it reaches to the aesthetic aspirations of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and beyond. The unit will provide the opportunity to consider realist ideology in relation to artists such as Manet, Courbet, Degas, Monet, Morisot and Seurat in France. Such work can be compared to movements in other countries, such as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England, whose approaches were supported by the writings of Ruskin and challenged by the art of Whistler. In the process the unit will explore themes such as the representations of gender, class, work, religion, and the city and country.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1) To give students a detailed understanding of the development of the ‘Realist’ movement in art in the nineteenth century.

2) To place students in direct contact with the current research interests of the academic tutor and to enable them to explore the issues surrounding the state of research in the field.

3) To develop students’ ability to work with primary sources relating to this field and produce a research-led essay based on such sources.

4) To develop students’ abilities to integrate primary source material into a wider art historical and historiographical analysis.

5) To develop students’ ability to learn independently within a group context.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Information

One summative coursework essay of 5000 words (100%). This will assess ILOs 2-5.

Reading and References

T.J. Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution (London, 1982)

T.J. Clark, The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France 1848-1851 (London, 1982)

T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers (Princeton University Press, rev. 1999)

T. Dolan (ed.), Perspectives on Manet (Ashgate, 2012)

M. Werner, Pre-Raphaelite Painting and Nineteenth-Century Realism (CUP, 2005)

T. Barringer, J. Rosenfeld, A. Smith (eds), Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde (Tate, 2012)

E. Prettejohn (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Pre-Rahaelities (CUP, 2012)

L. Merrill, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in Whistler v Ruskin (Smithsonian, 1992)

P. Smith, Impressionism: Beneath the Surface (London, 1995)

W.I. Homer, Seurat and the Science of Painting (MIT, 1978)