French Painting from Watteau to Monet (ARTHIST 110, ARTHIST 310, FRENCH 310)
This course offers a survey of painting in France from 1700 to around 1900. It introduces major artists, artworks, and the concepts used by contemporary observers and later art historians to make sense of this extraordinarily rich period. Overarching themes discussed in the class will include the dueling legacies of coloristic virtuosity and classical formalism, new ways of representing visual perception, the opposing artistic effects of absorption and theatricality, the rise and fall of official arts institutions, and the participation of artists and artworks in political upheaval and social change. The course ends with an interrogation of the concept of modernity and its emergence out of dialogue and conflict with artists of the past. Students will learn and practice formal analysis of paintings, as well as interpretations stressing historical context.