Revolutions! Art and Society in France, 1770-1848 (AHV2012)

StaffDr Camille Mathieu - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

For the most part we will use case studies of artists, studios, and their painted production to think about the ways in which political ideology and historical circumstances are expressed visually.  The module encourages students to think broadly about art and visual culture, using such primary materials as a festival performance, a commemorative banner for a fallen martyr, a cheap coloured print of a headless Louis XVI, and an academic portrait of a Haitian Revolutionary leader—as evidence of social revolution.  We will challenge the easy assumption that art is unproblematically mimetic, for, in a period when artists were also politicians—David was on the Revolutionary Committee of Public Safety—cultural production becomes inescapably political.

This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, with a special emphasis on the interpretation of images—painting, drawing, caricature, prints, and some architecture and sculpture.  It provides you with an opportunity to explore broadly the permanence (and symbiosis!) of ideas of Revolution and Empire in modern France, and it helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of art and history.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Display a detailed knowledge of the main themes of the course, together with an intimate knowledge of the areas selected for essay and presentation work.
  • 2. Describe the changing nature of, and intellectual approaches to, the idea of revolution and its visual manifestations in France and its empire.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Employ various critical strategies and asses their strengths or weaknesses by considering a range of art historical and historical approaches.
  • 4. Analyse key developments in a complex and alien political and social environment through visual work
  • 5. Understand and deploy complex political and art historical terminology in a comprehensible manner
  • 6. Hone your visual analysis skills.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop strategies for innovative and integrative group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion.
  • 8. Present arguments orally with precision and aplomb.
  • 9. Demonstrate an ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 10. Think independently, research independently, and cultivate effective ways of independent study

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Picturing the Ancient Regime
  • David and Contemporary History Painting
  • Napoleonic Portraiture
  • Egyptomania
  • Female patronage
  • The Haitian Revolution
  • the Art of Reconciliation after the Terror
  • State Symbols
  • Géricault and the Restoration

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2211 x 2 hour lectures
Guided independent study256Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Visual Analysis500 words1-10Oral feedback or written annotations.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Participation and Engagement10Continuous participation in groupwork and documentation of that participation where relevant; 5 written pieces to submit of 600 words, composed either individually or in groups depending on activity1-10For Group work: Oral, in seminars or in visits to student discussion groups online. For written work; oral feedback or brief annotation of written work.
Essay453500 words1-7, 9-10Oral and written feedback
Group presentation; either pre-recorded or given live.205-10 minutes per person; coordinated as a group for a 25-35 minute presentation. Either pre-recorded or live; including powerpoint with bibliography and AHVC standard citations.1-10Oral and written feedback
Exam251,500 words; 48 Hours; online exam with AHVC standard referencing1-7, 9-10Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay – 3000 words1-7, 9-10Referral/Deferral period
Group presentation1000 word write up of presentation with AHVC standard referencing and bibliography, and visual power point as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes of material. OR 10 minute recorded presentation per person with powerpoint slides, including bibliography.1-10Referral/Deferral period
Examination1,500 words; 48 Hours; online exam with AHVC standard referencing1-7, 9-10Referral/Deferral period
Participation and EngagementMitigation/repeat study of the 600-word pieces; or if all are missed, 3000 word essay on weekly topic1-7, 9-10Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

The re-assessment consists of a 3000 word essay and 2-hour examination, as in the original assessment, but replaces participation in the group presentation with a written script that could be delivered in such a presentation and which is the equivalent of 10 minutes of speech, and which is properly cited and referenced and illustrated. For Participation and engagement: You will either repeat the exercise of responding to the prompts for the 600-word write ups, or, if all of the participation makes have been missed, you must complete a 3000-word essay on a particular topic as chosen by the course convenor.

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Scott, Katie. The Rococo Interior. Decoration and Social Spaces in Early Eighteenth-Century Paris, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1995
  • Crow, Thomas.  Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
  • Hunt, Lynn. The Family Romance of the French Revolution. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1992.
  • Grigsby, Darcy Grimaldo. Extremities: Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002
  • Ozouf, Mona.  Festivals and the French Revolution.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988.
  • Ledbury, Mark, ed. David after David: Essays on the Later Work. New Haven: Yale University Press,2002.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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Key words search

France, Ancien regime, revolution, napoleon, restoration, painting