ART H 309
This course is a survey of The Aesthetic Movement in Britain and its influence in America from the 1860s to about 1900. With its credo of “art for art’s sake,” The Aesthetic Movement was a response against prevailing Victorian attitudes and values, aimed to liberate art from moralistic purposes. We will consider Aestheticism thematically, through topics such as painting, decorative art, interior design, public venues for art, art exhibitions, fashion, and commercial culture. Intersecting and pertinent issues to be addressed will include modernity, national identity, gender and sexuality, social reforms, decadence, the concept of beauty, the role of patronage and the stylistic influence of non-Western cultures (particularly Japan, in the form of Japonisme).
Throughout the quarter, we will look at Aesthetic art through a broad range of sources: painting, decorative objects, architecture, illustration, popular imagery and ephemera. Emphasis will be placed on the contributions of artists, designers, critics and other notable figures including – but not limited to – James McNeill Whistler, James Tissot, William Morris, E.W. Godwin, Christopher Dresser, Walter Crane, Walter Pater, Sir Arthur Lazenby Liberty, Aubrey Beardsley, and Oscar Wilde.
Student learning goals
Students will develop the ability to visually analyze and write effectively about works of art; become familiar with key ideas, issues, artists and works of art during this period; and increase their awareness and understanding of the interrelationships between the art of this period and its cultural and social contexts.
General method of instruction
Class sessions will involve lectures, analysis of images and group discussions.
Art History 203 or familiarity with nineteenth-century art or history is helpful but not required.
Class assignments and grading
Students will be evaluated on the following: midterm exam, short writing assignments, a research paper (in lieu of final exam), and class participation.