Art Appreciation: Art & Architecture of the 19th Century

Ref: C2223606

Nineteenth century England produced some of the most diverse and interesting art and architecture of any period. We will concentrate on the important topics and explore some of the major themes such as the Gothic Revival and Pre-Raphaelitism, and some of the masterpieces of the period.

Course aim

This broad survey is aimed to introduce the major themes and developments in art and architecture in the Victorian, including the Pre-Raphaelites, the Gothic Revival and William Morris.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

Art and architecture in the nineteenth century owed much to the Romantic movement at the beginning of the century so the course will begin with a brief introduction to some of the main ideas of Romanticism The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood transformed painting in the early years of Victoria’s reign. We will look at characteristic works and discover what they brought that was new. They engaged both with contemporary issues but also looked back with nostalgia to the middle ages. This preoccupation was also central to the architecture of the same period and we will see why gothic revival became the dominant style. Painters were engaging new audiences with subjects that reflect their time and we will look at narrative painting. We will then consider developments in gothic revival including the fantastic world of William Burges. Classicism doesn’t disappear and with painters like Lord Leighton there is a new concern for beauty as an end in itself and the value of narrative. The last years of the century saw a widening aesthetic with the Queen Anne revival in architecture and the diverse sources used by William Morris in his designs. We will also consider Morris’s friend and collaborator Edward Burne-Jones.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1. Relate nineteenth century art to the main ideas inherited from Romanticism. 2. Identify ways in which the Pre-Raphaelites were new in their approach to painting 3. Discuss reasons for the importance of Gothic Revival architecture in the Victorian era 4. Illustrate some of changes of taste in the later nineteenth century

How will I know I'm making progress?

The classes will be illustrated with slides. You will know you are progressing by finding you see more in the images and are gaining confidence in expressing your ideas in class.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Nothing extra is needed but if the class would like to substitute a visit for one of the sessions you will need to pay your own costs.

Reading and information sources

No reading is essential but here are some suggestions of books you might like to read Atterbury P/ Wainwright C (eds) Pugin A Gothic Passion V&A 1994 Barringer T/ Rosenfeld J /Smith A Pre-Raphaelites Victorian Avant-Garde Tate 2012 Bills M/Knight V William Powell Frith Yale 2006 Brown D B Romanticism Phaidon 2001 Crook J M William Burges Francis Lincoln 2013 Dixon R/ Muthesius S Victorian Architecture Thames and Hudson Girouard M Sweetness and Light Yale 1977 Harrison M/ Waters B Burne Jones Barrie and Jenkins 1973 Kirk S Philip Webb Wiley-Academy 2005 Marsh J/ Nunn P Pre-Raphaelite Women Thames and Hudson 1999 Muthesius S High Victorian Movement in Architecture Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972 Parry L (ed) William Morris V&A/Philip Wilson 1996 Ruskin J The Seven Lamps of Architecture Saint A Richard Norman Shaw Yale 2010 Smith A (ed) Exposed The Victorian Nude Tate 2001 Spencer R The Aesthetic Movement Studio Vista 1972 Staley A/Newall C Pre-Raphaelite Vision Tate 2004 Tate Gallery Pre-Raphaelites 1984 Treuherz J Hard Times Lund Humphries 1992 Upstone R/Wilton A Age of Rosetti, Burne-Jones and Watts Tate 1997 Wildman S/Christian JEdward Burne-Jones Victorian Artist-Dreamer Metropolitan Museum 1998 Look also at the websites of the major collections such as Tate Britain, Manchester City Art Gallery, The Watts Gallery and the Lady Lever Art Gallery Port Sunlight. They have images and information about their holdings.

What could the course lead to?

The art and architecture of the nineteenth century has left us a significant inheritance. I hope this course will allow students to explore this in different ways and deepen their knowledge and understanding. There are good displays of paintings in many galleries like Tate Britain and Leighton House in London, as well as provincial galleries such as those in Birmingham and Bournemouth. There is a great inheritance of building and their role in the towns where they were built – London, Birmingham, Manchester etc – can lead students on to looking at the social developments of the age. The Victorian Society works to protect buildings of the period as well as organising events and visits for its members ( ). Other courses of interest can be found with the WEA, Birkbeck College, University of London ( ) and residential and day courses at Madingley Hall University of Cambridge ( ). Also keep your eye on the free online courses at ).

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Art Appreciation: Art & Architecture of the 19th Century Course Outline


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