Walter Benjamin claimed that Paris was the capital of the 19th century. In the 18th century, the city could with equal right claim to be the capital that witnessed the birth of the modern art world, because several developments came together there c. 1750 that would define it:
the birth of the public art gallery
the birth of academic art history and classical archaeology as academic disciplines
the rise of a new, articulate middle class public of art lovers
the development of new venues to discuss art, such as the Salons, and new media to disseminate art
In this seminar we will investigate how these developments interacted to make Paris around 1750 the place where the modern art world was born; more in particular, we will consider how these, often conflicting, developments manifested themselves around a series of public debates, from the disputes caused by the rediscovery of Paestum and Pompeï, which led to radical new assessments of the value of classical art for the present, to the design of the church of Sainte Genenviève, subsequently the Panthéon; or the debates that surrounded the transformation of Royal art collections at the Palais-Royal into the Louvre; the new artists and audiences that met in the Salons; or the debates caused by the publication of Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums.
During the seminar students will choose art works, texts or artefacts in the collections of the University Library or Museum of Antiquities as the focus of their research. The seminar will also include an excursion to Paris.
Students will have a firm grasp of the main events, artistic, theoretical and historiographical developments contributing to Paris becoming the centre of the modern art world in the 1750s;
They will master the existing literature, and will identify new avenues of research;
They will be able to give a close visual analysis of an art work or artefact, and demonstrate how it relates to the developments studied in the seminar.
Please consult the timetable on the MA Arts and Culture website.
Mode of instruction
Research seminar, consisting of a combination of lectures by the tutors, presentations by the students in which they report on their progress and present their analysis of their work of art, text or artefact of choice.
Excursion to Paris.
Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars.
The total course load for the course is 280 hours.
Short oral presentations in Leiden and Paris (25% of grade);
Short outline of the research questions, argument, methods and sources for the final paper of this seminar (25%);
Research paper (50%).
Blackboard will be used to post assignments, the required reading list, powerpoints used in the lectures, and relevant events.
T.b.a. during the first session.
Exchange and Study Abroad students: Please see the website Study in Leiden for information on how to apply/register for this course.
Students who are not in the MA Arts and Culture programme, but who would like to take this course as an optional course, please contact Mrs. Joëlle Koning MA the co-ordinator of studies.
This course can be taken for the MA Arts and Culture specialisations:
Early Modern and Late Medieval Art
The course can also be taken as a specialist course for the MA Arts and Culture free component of any other specialisation (10 EC) or MA program of Leiden University.