Art History: From Academic Art to Impressionism

Ref: C2419076

Impressionism, “the new painting”, was an artistic revolution. We will explore its origins by contrasting it with academic art, by highlighting the role of photography, and studying precursors such as Turner, Courbet and Manet. We will then take a close look at the Impressionist group itself in order to reveal the diversity in aims, subjects and styles among its members. Finally, we will compare French art scene to the English, Scandinavian, German and American ones.

Course aim

This course focuses on the origins and early developments of modern art, from Courbet and Manet to Degas and Monet.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Contrast modern and academic art in order to identify some of the defining characteristics of modern art
  • Name influential artists and analyse key works of art
  • Name at least one artist who was not Parisian, and name a woman artist. Discuss the focus on Paris in the history of modern art
  • Follow-up on individual interest by conducting independent research

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • A class visit might be organised. We could go to the Courtauld Gallery (in which case you will have to pay an entrance fee) or to the National Gallery. This will be discussed during the first session.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

Art History: From Academic Art to Impressionism


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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