Art Nouveau across Europe (Online)


From Paris to Moscow and from Glasgow to Barcelona, this course examines the richness and variety of European Art Nouveau. The years around 1900 were marked by an explosion of creativity as a new generation of artists and designers sought to invent a new style to suit a new century.

Listen to Dr Charlotte Ashby talking about the course:

The appearance of this style differed hugely from city to city and from artist to artist, but shared a commitment to a varied and often contradictory set of principles. The creators of Art Nouveau looked simultaneously to the past and the future, to art for the people and art for art's sake, to social reform and luxurious decadence, to the national and the international. They sought both to change the world and to escape it. On this course we will explore the complex impulses, anxieties and hopes for the future that shaped the visual arts around 1900.

For information on how the courses work, please click here.

Programme details

1. Origins of Art Nouveau: Design Reform and Arts and Crafts

  • Design reform: A new style for a new age
  • Pugin and the Gothic revival
  • Design reform in Britain
  • John Ruskin and truth in architecture
  • The Arts and Crafts movement
  • Arts and Crafts to Art Nouveau

2. Brussels and the birth of Art Nouveau

  • Art Nouveau – A definition
  • Art Nouveau in Brussels
  • Victor Horta
  • Horta House, 1898–1900
  • Exploring Art Nouveau

3. The Art Nouveau city: Paris and Vienna

  • Paris: Art Nouveau and the new woman
  • Paris 1900 World’s Fair
  • Vienna
  • Secession: The total work of art
  • Visual analysis: René Lalique and Josef Hoffmann
  • Art Nouveau Metro stations: A comparison

4. Art Nouveau: Entrepreneurs and the retail environment

  • Retailing Art Nouveau
  • Bing’s Art Nouveau
  • Studio Elvira
  • Georges Fouquet jewellery shop by Mucha, 1900
  • Reflection: The Willow Tearooms

5. Symbolism: Art Nouveau and fine art

  • Symbolism – Definitions
  • Secession: The break from the Academy
  • Symbolism: The occult and the spiritual
  • Symbolism: Psychology and the unconscious
  • The visual language of Symbolism
  • How does Symbolism relate to Art Nouveau?

6. The search for a national style: Russia and Poland

  • National revivals
  • Abramtsevo and the Russian revival
  • Exploring Abramtsevo
  • Polish national revival – Zakopane style
  • Stanisław Wyspiański

7. Art Nouveau Graphic Art: Posters and Magazines

  • The Modern Poster
  • Poster design
  • Women in the iconography of Art Nouveau
  • Art periodicals
  • Exploring Art Nouveau periodicals across Europe

8. The Art Nouveau object

  • Wiener Werkstätte
  • Art Nouveau manufacturing in Nancy
  • Comparative analysis
  • Peter Behrens: Art Nouveau and design for mass manufacturing
  • The United Workshops, Munich
  • Art Nouveau objects

9. The home as a work of art

  • The artist’s house
  • The artistic house in the city
  • The patron of the artistic house
  • The home as a total work of art: Palais Stoclet
  • Reflecting on the home as a work of art

10. The Strange Death of Art Nouveau

  • The Art Nouveau monument
  • The Art Nouveau designer: Antoni Gaudí
  • Can a style die?
  • Art Nouveau’s legacy: Art Deco and Modernism
  • Art Nouveau: Final reflections

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of successfully passing the final course assignment. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.


Description Costs
Course Fee £350.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Mr Gordon Reavley

Gordon Reavley teaches topics in Art History and Visual and Material Culture for Oxford University's Dept of Continuing Education (OUDCE), and Critical Theory for the University of Nottingham. He has been widely published on American social and cultural history and on the history and theory of art and design.

Course aims

This course aims to:

  • Introduce students to the richness and variety of the art and design that emerged in Europe around 1900 and became collectively known as Art Nouveau.

This course will enable participants to:

  • To explore the development of new ideas about art and design and its role in the modern world at the fin-de-siècle.
  • To look closely and analytically at the art, design and architecture of the period and make connections between works and their intellectual, social and cultural context.
  • To explore what such art works, designs and theories can tell us about how the people of Europe responded to and sought to understand and express their experience of a rapidly changing world at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course:

  • Students should have gained familiarity with the general trajectory of evolving ideas and forms in art, design and architecture in Europe around 1900.
  • Students should understand how an art work or design can reflect the ideas and aspirations of an artist, a patron and the society for which it was produced.
  • Students should have developed a detailed understanding of selected national case studies or design fields based on their areas of interest.

By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:

  • Visual analysis skills – looking at art and design and making connections to ideas raised in course material and readings.
  • Research skills – reading analytically and evaluating text and online learning material.
  • Self-expression of ideas through writing and discussion.

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link:


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an Enrolment form for short courses | Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.