Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Art in Europe 1: Pleasure, Power, & Profit, 1648-1814
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  (2000 words)  60%
Semester Assessment Reflective log  (1500 words)  20%
Semester Assessment Comparative Essay  (1000 words)  20%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  (2000 words)  60%
Supplementary Assessment Reflective log  (1500 words)  20%
Supplementary Assessment Comparative Essay  (1000 words)  20%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. ​Describe and interpret the meaning of artworks using appropriate visual vocabulary.

2. Compare artworks produced in different contexts and for different purposes.

3. Interpret primary and secondary sources.

4. Construct and justify a written argument about works of art and their historical contexts using the appropriate scholarly apparatus.

5. Reflect on their own learning.

Brief description

The artist in 1648 could be certain of himself: if he wanted to convey a certain emotion, he just needed to consult his copy of Charles Le Brun’s Lecture on Expression, find the ‘correct’ head, and copy it; if he wanted to get ahead as a professional artist, he knew exactly which genres to work in. Over the next century and a half, these reassuring restrictions gradually fell away, only to be replaced by new demands as the power centres of art shifted between Academies, Royal Courts, the public, and the market. Along the way, the very question of what it meant to be an artist was challenged and transformed in multifaceted ways. Was the artist supposed to provide pleasure, produce profit, or promulgate political power? Of course, for women artists excluded and suppressed by the old power structures, this tumult was more opportunity than crisis.
This module examines the history of art in Europe during the long-eighteenth century, and situates these artistic debates and transformations amid their economic, social, and cultural contexts. It aims to, first, acquaint you with the key artists, movements, and contexts for understanding this period in the history of art; and second, help you begin to develop key art historical skills: including describing, analysing, and comparing works of visual art; conducting independent research; constructing and communicating interpretations and arguments about artworks; and contextualizing these interpretations and arguments in a historical framework.


1. ​Charles Le Brun and the rise of Academies
2. Rococo
3. William Hogarth & Joshua Reynolds: the Battle of the Pictures
3a. Seminar 1: Hogarth & Reynolds
4. The First Industrial Revolution and Material Culture
5. The Sublime and the Beautiful
5a. Seminar 2: Edmund Burke on the Sublime
6. The Enlightenment and Culture
6a. Seminar 3: Denis Diderot and Art Criticism
7. Art for the French Revolution
7a.Seminar 4: Jacques-Louis David and the politics of painting
8. Assessment Preparation Week
9. Painting for Napoléon
10. Late Neo-Classicism
11. Early Romanticism
11a. Seminar 5: Romantic Aesthetics

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Articulating ideas orally in seminar discussions and textually through comparative visual analysis, reflective research diary, and essay.
Improving own Learning and Performance Reflective research diary asks student to reflect on their participating in their own learning in the context of developing a research project.
Information Technology Conducting research through library catalogues, online scholarly databases and museum websites; organizing their own research materials and notes to compile diary; engaging with digital platforms like Blackboard and Turnitin.
Personal Development and Career planning Development of key skills, including professional presentation of research using MLA style, and reflective practice.
Problem solving In seminar preparation and discussion, essay research and writing.
Research skills In seminar preparation, conducting research for reflective research diary and essay.
Subject Specific Skills Ability to visually analyze works of art, set them in their historical context, and construct arguments about their meaning and significance.
Team work n/a


This module is at CQFW Level 4