This course is a survey of European painting (and related forms) from the time of the first "mature" Impressionist pictures and exhibitions (about 1874) to the Salon d’Automne of 1907, the year in which Cézanne’s posthumous retrospective produced a major deflection in the interests of the French avant-garde. The course is organized around three general premises. First, that Impressionism, despite its commitment to the direct study of nature, unseated the traditional concept of a "naturalist" picture and, in particular, of the implied transparency of the picture plane first developed during the Renaissance. Second, that this dislocation fostered all across Europe experiments with the notation and materiality of marks made upon the picture plane, and led to the development of a new paradigm for the practice of painting. Finally, that we can draw an historical "map" of these experiments which does not reduce to a history of styles or individuals, but rather allows us to see how making pictures intersects with contemporary developments in science, industry, and other forms of cultural expression.
There will be a mid-term and a final examination, each consisting of some slide identifications, short essays based upon slide comparisons, and at least one longer essay question that is prepared in advance of the exam. A paper of about 8 typed pages (double-spaced, fonts no larger than 12 points) will be required of each class member. Ideally, this paper will focus on one or two original works of art from the period studied in this course and visible in the Bay Area, notably works on view at the Legion of Honor and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. It is hoped that papers will address some critical issue that seems historically important, worthwhile to write about, or just plain interesting. Every paper will be unique, and you are encouraged to bring to the topic your reading and research in other areas (for example, history, literature, or philosophy). Please Note: it is strongly suggested that you speak to the instructor while formulating a paper topic to ensure that it remains germaine to the course and sufficiently focused upon actual works of art.
Section meetings with Susan Witt, Teaching Assistant for the course, will be scheduled once a week at a time convenient for as many people as possible. The sessions will review issues raised in lectures, discuss readings, and generally allow class members to air their opinions, their greifs, and their questions. Attendance at the sessions are optional, although everyone is encouraged to avail themselves of this opportunity. Graduate students following the course for credit will meet with the instructor one extra hour per week (day and time to be arranged).
Each member of the course registered for credit will receive a CD-ROM that includes the Course Reader and a complete set of images for every lecture. You will be expected to safeguard this CD, and to return it in good shape to the instructor on the day of the final examination. Since this is still an experimental use of digitized course materials, please do not allow anyone not actually enrolled in the course to borrow or to copy your CD-ROM.
Auditors not enrolled in the course can consult a complete set of images from the lectures on the Web Kiosk server of the Department of Art & Art History at the following internet address: http://slidelibrary2.stanford.edu/. The course itself has a website accessible to anyone at the following internet address: http://www.stanford.edu/class/arthist126/index.htm.
Required Readings for the course consist of five books (see below) and a Course Reader that is included on the CD-ROM. Familiarity with the Required Readings is mandatory since essay questions for the examinations will engage issues raised by the texts. The readings have been selected to complement the lectures: that is, they are inter-related but essentially independent, so the pace of reading is basically determined by the whims, interests, and hunger for knowledge of individual class members. Topics in the readings are keyed to lecture topics in the Lecture Schedule, and you are strongly encouraged to maintain a steady reading schedule for yourself. To access the Course Reader, click the link called "Reader" on the CD-ROM home page.
Denvir, Bernard. Post-Impressionism. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1992
Duncan, Alistair. Art Nouveau. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1994
Kern, Stephen. The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1986
Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1970
Lucie-Smith, Edward. Symbolist Art. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1985
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