The Impressionists: Painting Modern Life (Online)

Course summary

The Impressionists: Painting Modern Life (Online)



Overview

This course introduces the groundbreaking group of painters in nineteenth-century France. It examines the major concerns of artists such as Cézanne, Monet, Manet and Degas and their intimate interaction with modern life. It expands to embrace the impact of women Impressionists such as Cassatt & Morisot, and investigates the trans-national impact of Impressionism. Van Gogh, Gauguin, Post-Impressionism, and the Impressionists'creative techniques, are examined, analysed and interpreted.

Listen to Dr Jan Cox talking about the course:

This course introduces the groundbreaking group of painters in nineteenth-century France. It examines the major concerns of artists such as Cézanne, Monet, Manet and Degas and their intimate interaction with modern life. It expands to embrace the impact of women Impressionists such as Cassatt & Morisot, and investigates the trans-national impact of Impressionism. Van Gogh, Gauguin, Post-Impressionism, and the Impressionists'creative techniques, are examined, analysed and interpreted.

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

1. Introduction to Impressionism

  • Origins and definitions
  • Impressionism: the key artists
  • Setting the scene: politics, economy and society
  • Impressionism: aims and practice
  • The geography of Impressionism
  • Impressionists before Impressionism
  • The Paris Salon

2. The painting of modern life: Manet and Renoir portray Paris

  • Manet’s Olympia and Cabanel’s The Birth of Venus
  • Olympia: the critics’ view
  •  Manet and Titian
  • Baudelaire and the flâneur
  • Renoir and the gaze

3. Techniques of the Impressionists  paint and practice

  • Colour and technique – an overview
  • Claude Monet: La Gare Saint-Lazare
  • Paul Cézanne: Mountains seen from L’Estaque
  • Camille Pissarro’s political colour
  • Van Gogh’s opinions on colour (1882)

4. Critical responses to the Impressionist exhibitions

  • A critical overview
  • The first Impressionist exhibition – two responses
  • Claude Monet – Boulevard des Capucines – critical responses
  • Camille Pissarro – Hoarfrost – critical responses
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette – critical responses

5. The Impressionist body: bathers and bathtubs

  • Gauguin and the ’modern’ nude
  • Degas’ pastels at the eighth exhibition
  • Degas and Caillebotte – comparative nudes
  • Cézanne and the bathers
  • Cézanne and Renoir – comparative bathers

6. Women Impressionists

  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Key facts and Information
  • Constraints and society
  • ‘In the theatre box’ – the Impressionist gaze
  • Contemporary criticism at the Impressionist exhibitions
  • ‘A sense of confinement’ – limits, boundaries and barriers

7. Monet and the modern landscape

  • Monet – early works and motivations
  • Monet and Bazille
  • Monet at La Grenouillère
  • Monet and Renoir – comparative works
  • Monet and modernity at Argenteuil
  • Monet and the repetition of image

8. Work and industry: Pissarro, Caillebotte and the art of labour

  • Pissarro and politics
  • Factories on the River Oise
  • Depictions of class: markets and a donkey ride
  • Caillebotte’s The Floor Scrapers
  • Camille Pissarro – a change of heart?

9. International Impressionism

  • Anders Zorn – impressions of London
  • Karl Nordström – View of Stockholm from Skansen
  • Philip Wilson Steer and British Impressionism
  • Steer and Harrison – Impressionist rivals?

10. Beyond Impressionism: Gauguin, Van Gogh and Seurat

  • The final exhibition
  • Seurat and Neo-Impressionism
  • Gauguin and Post-Impressionism
  • Van Gogh and The Night Café
  • The end of Impressionism?

 

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.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following essential textbooks:

  • Thompson, B, Impressionism: Origins Practice Reception (London, Thames & Hudson, 2000)
  • Harrison, C., Wood, P. and Gaiger, J., Art in Theory 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Oxford, Blackwell, 1998)

We advise that your enjoyment of this course will be considerably enhanced by the purchase of the following highly-recommended books which are not currently in print. We do provide the core extracts that you need for your studies, however you may wish to know that they are freely and cheaply available on Abebooks (and Amazon also):

  • Moffett, C. S., 1986 The New Painting: Impressionism, 1874–1886, Oxford, Phaidon.
  • Smith, P., 1995 Impressionism: Beneath the Surface, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson (The Everyman Art Library).

Certification

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.

For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php

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 submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

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.

Fees

Home/ EU fee rate: £260.00
Non-EU fee rate: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00

Tutor

Dr Jan Cox

Dr. Jan D. Cox has a BA (Hons) from Oxford Brookes, an MA from Bristol and a PhD from Leeds. He has lectured on the Camden Town/London Groups both at The Ashmolean and in Somerset.

Course aims

This course aims to introduce the participants to the group of artists known popularly as The Impressionists. It will place these artists within the aesthetic, social, and economic context of their time, and examine critical reactions to their art. We will look at a number of overarching themes such as body, landscape, and depictions of work and modern life. Additionally, we will analyse such areas as the important role of women artists and Impressionist painting techniques.

Teaching methods

Teaching methods on this course will be:

  • Guided reading of particular texts.
  • Guided use of particular websites.
  • Discussions of particular issues and responses to reading in the unit forms.
  • Close critical analyses of particular pieces of visual, written and material evidence.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to understand:

  • The concept of Impressionism in terms of both a shared ethos and its many individual interpretations.
  • The methods and ideals that informed the Impressionists engagement with Modern Life.
  • The place of Impressionism in the canon of nineteenth-century European art.
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the Impressionists approach to the creation of art.

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

  • Ability to assess and critically analyse different types and sources of evidence.
  • Ability to think laterally across a range of issues and be able to evaluate and summarise the interaction between them.
  • Ability to discuss and interpret specific issues in a clear and logical manner.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment of 500 words due half way through the course and one longer assignment of 1500 words due at the end of the course.

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

Application

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

Level and demands

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