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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Romanticism to Expressionism (HIAR10108)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artistic quest for the origins of Germanic identity and the Romantic roots of early Expressionism.
Course description Identity, as it is understood and explored in this course, is a multifaceted concept, one that might encompass geo-politics, self-perception, or, in an essentialist formulation, the notion of an inherent national spirit. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's essay 'On German Architecture' (1772) is a helpful starting point for considering how the idea of a 'Gothic' Germanic identity (especially with respect to the motifs of cathedrals and forests) played out in the visual culture of the long nineteenth century i.e. from Caspar David Friedrich onwards. Furthermore, the Nazarenes and the Brücke, while separated by a hundred years, might be considered avant-garde 'brotherhoods', who sought to reinvigorate German art in opposition to academic (especially neo-classical) artistic conventions. We will discuss early organic theories of art as expressed in the written work of such thinkers as Johann Gottfried von Herder, as well as later philosophies of art (Arthur Schopenhauer, Julius Langbehn, Friedrich Nietzsche et al.) and the artistic reception of their ideas. We shall also investigate the enduring Romantic cult of Albrecht Dürer as the German artist par excellence, and the influence of this icon of the Northern Renaissance on both nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German artists, as well as society more generally. In addition, we will discuss the German Romantic 'longing for the south' (Italy), in many respects following Dürer's travels, and the more problematic artistic and critical reception of French culture in Germany. The course will cover a wide range of subject matter and exact topics are likely to vary from year to year, but topics may include for example the arboreal 'fairy-tale' landscapes of artists such as Caspar David Friedrich and Adrian Ludwig Richter, and the anti-urban 'back-to-nature' tradition of representing rural peasants as seen in the art of Wilhelm Leibl and Paula Modersohn-Becker, among others. Visual expressions of a 'free body culture' in both Symbolist and Expressionist artworks as part of the Life Reform Movement may also be considered, as may the sexual misogyny and anxiety of turn-of-the-century art in Munich, Vienna and Berlin.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2A Reason, Romance, Revolution: Art from 1700 to 1900 (HIAR08027) AND History of Art 2B From Modernism and the Avant-Gardes to Postmodernism and Globalisation (HIAR08028) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2,000 word extended essay (50%)
3 hour online examination (50%)

Feedback Mid-way through the semester all students submit an essay abstract for formative feedback. You will be given written feedback/feedforward comments and one-to-one 15 minute meetings on this uncredited submission within 15 days of the hand-in date.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3-hour online exam3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the historical and artistic development of Romanticism.
  2. Demonstrate awareness of the broader contextual dimensions of German art and society, and the diverse attitudes of German artists and critics to 'Latin culture'.
  3. Have a secure understanding of the key issues concerning German cultural identity, and be able to relate how Expressionism connected to some of the ideals of Romanticism.
  4. Discuss in seminars and write in essays about challenging and demanding art historical and theoretical concepts, which inform a fuller aesthetic appreciation and critical understanding of the course material.
  5. Demonstrate skills of spoken communication for your 10-minute powerpoint presentation exercise. You will also develop your inter-personal skills, listening to and commenting on your colleagues' work, as well as points raised in discussion by the tutor.
Reading List
General Reading List
These titles are highly recommended and are available in paperback or at a reasonable price. Check etc.
Hans Belting, The Germans and Their Art: A Troublesome Relationship, 1998

Joseph Leo Koerner, Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape, 2009

Beth Irwin Lewis, Art for All?: The Collision of Modern Art and the Public in Late-Nineteenth-Century Germany, 2003

William Vaughan, German Romantic Painting, 1994

For further reading see Syllabus
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Christian Weikop
Tel: (0131 6)51 4229
Course secretaryMr Nathan Ross-Hammond
Tel: (0131 6)51 5880
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