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Art and Revolution (AHIS20016)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeAHIS20016
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

What does the art of nineteenth-century Europe tell us about the society that made it? This period was marked by immense social and cultural change: political upheaval; rapid industrialisation; an expanding colonial empire; a society altered by shifting attitudes to class, race, gender, bodies, senses and emotions; rapid urbanisation (and dislocation) as people moved from countryside to city. Artists responded to these changes in revolutionary ways of their own, defying the traditional approaches of the academy and creating their own modes for representing their world. From Romanticism and Orientalism to Impressionism and the avant-gardes of the late-nineteenth century, these artists’ shifting representations of social relations, the landscape, the human body, and sexual and gender identity fundamentally altered both the function of visual art and the role of the artist. In this subject, students will explore how painting and sculpture of nineteenth-century Europe was instrumental in creating new identities and new modes of being in and imaging the world amid the conditions of modernity and the emergence of Industrial capitalism. Although the primary case study will be France, art from other European countries will also be discussed. Engaging with recent scholarship, students will be encouraged to question and critique the ways in which art has the capacity to embody, reflect, and challenge ideologies of its time.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should have:

  • developed an understanding of fundamental models of revolutionary modern art practice;
  • a broad understanding of the ways in which such models incorporate or respond to the conditions of modernity; and
  • an ability to engage with the ways in which revolutionary modern art practice incorporates ideologies of subjectivity, gender, nation and ethnicity.
  • an ability to critically engage with art historical scholarship and its methodologies of interpretation and critique.

Generic skills

At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:

  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision; and
  • be able to participate in teamwork through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.

Last updated: 10 August 2019