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From Rococo to Realism: Masters and Masterpieces of 18th and 19th Century European Painting

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From Rococo to Realism: Masters and Masterpieces of 18th and 19th Century European Painting

4 Session Evening Course

4 sessions from October 19 to November 9, 2023
Code: 1M2282
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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The Bath of Venus by François Boucher, 1766

The 18th and 19th centuries were complex and contradictory times, characterized by political revolution, industrialization, and social change throughout the Western world.  These upheavals are reflected in the diverse approaches that contemporary visual artists took toward their work and the codification of—and rebellion against—rules laid down by various royal academies of the fine arts.

In a lavishly illustrated series, art historian Nancy G. Heller focuses on the principal European cultural movements of the 1700s and early 1800s­—Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Realism—as demonstrated in paintings by masters of the period. She also touches on parallel developments in European sculpture, architecture, literature, and music.

Heller is a professor emerita at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

October 19  Ornamental, Elegant, and Sometimes Naughty: The Intimacy of Rococo Art   

French art dominated much of Europe during the 1700s. Heller focuses on works such as Boucher’s charming mythological scenes and the flattering portraits created by Marie Antoinette’s favorite painter,  Marie-Louise-Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.        

October 26  Sober, Moralizing Art: Neoclassical Dignity and Stoicism   

The paintings of Jacques-Louis David and Angelica Kauffmann were designed to impart moral and political lessons. Often employing ancient Greco-Roman heroes and heroines, they eschew excessive displays of emotion and stress the importance of the rational.

November 2  The Allure of the Exotic and the Fear (and Thrill) of the Irrational: Romanticism

In contrast to Neoclassical painters, Romantic artists reveled in depicting their human subjects in unfamiliar or exotic settings as they faced forces out of their control, such as nightmares, natural disasters, and death. Heller explores these and related themes in the work of Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, and Eugène Delacroix, among other masters.

November 9  Paintings of Modern Life: Realism

In the mid-19th century, a group of avant-garde artists did something unthinkable by creating paintings and prints that reflected the life they saw around themselves every day. Neither idealized nor full of heightened emotion, Realist works by Gustave Courbet, Honoré Daumier, and others in turn led to later developments such as Impressionism.

4 sessions

World Art History Certificate core course: Earn 1 credit*

General Information

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1 core course credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.