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Apr 19 - Apr 19 2023

Stories of Art: 1700-1800

Host: National Gallery
Date: April 19th to May 24th
The tumultuous and dramatic social and political changes which took place across Europe in the 18th century produced some of the most remarkable developments in the visual arts of any century. One major shift was the rapid increase in the number of people involved in the consumption, and therefore production, of art. More people saw, owned and commissioned works of art in the 18th century than at any time previously. This course will chart the passage of the visual arts through this turbulent period. It will take in the frivolity and humour of the Rococo, the profound impact of the discovery and dissemination of Roman and Greek statuary, debates over the relative merits of national art styles, particularly in Britain, the waning influence of royal and aristocratic patronage in the face of a rapidly rising middle class and the relative austerity of Neo-Classical art. Across Europe, questions concerning the role of art within society, the role of the artist and the role of those who viewed art, remained central and will be themes that we return to throughout this course. Unevenly and at different times, political and economic power began to slip from the complete control of European monarchs and aristocrats. Meanwhile, questions of taste, previously bound up with ideals of nobility, became entwined with notions of popularity. We will see in this module that art in this century both reflected, and distracted, from stark and brutal changes. All sessions will start with an hour-long talk delivered by course tutor Dr Matthew Morgan, followed by a short break. Four of the sessions will feature in-depth contributions from guest speakers. At the end of each session, there will be time for questions.
  • Apr 19 - Apr 19 2023




Stories of Art: 1700-1800