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

Undergraduate Course: From Versailles to La Guillotine: Visualising the Cost of Luxury, 1682-1804 (HIAR10202)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the rise and fall of the French Royal family and problematises their patronage of luxurious goods, art and architecture from the late seventeenth century until the rise of a new Empire with Napoleon I.
Course description This course introduces students to key issues in the relationships between visual and material cultures, society, politics and transatlantic networks in France from 1682-1804. It begins with the building and decoration of Versailles where Louis XIV moved in 1682, and considers the role of enslaved people in the creation of artistic pieces during the following decades, exploring paintings, porcelain and silver to problematize the true cost of luxury. It also examines the structure of the luxury goods production system at the Guarde Meuble (now the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris) and the rise of the Parisian art market. It ends with the French Revolution and the fall of the guillotine, by considering how a new and supposedly more democratic language of luxury emerged with Napoleon I.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  21
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) 1 x 2,500-word essay 50% - submitted weeks 8-10
1 x 3-hour online exam 50%
Feedback Students are given feedback on FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT as follows:
Mid-Point Feedback: You will submit a one-page essay outline by week 5. This is intended to give you adequate time to make use of the feedback prior to assessment at the end of the course. Feedback will be given in Week 6, in the form of a 15 minutes per student one-to-one (online or in-person) session on your outline.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: There will be an essay and an exam, equally weighted. Written feedback on student essays will be provided.

Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3 hour online examination3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the relationships between visual and material cultures, society, politics and transatlantic networks in France between 1682 and 1804.
  2. Show knowledge and understanding of contexts and ideas associated with luxurious goods, art and architecture in the French Royal family from a post-colonial perspective.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of art historiographical methodologies, from anthropology, to slavery, markets, royal and military history, and post-colonialism.
  4. Evidence developed skills of visual and textual analysis, communication, and organisation, verbally and in writing.
Reading List
Meredith Martin and Gillian Weiss, The Sun King at Sea - Maritime Art and Galley Slavery in Louis XIV's France, (LA: Getty Research Institute: 2022), pp.22-79.

Adrienne Childs, ¿Sugar boxes and blackamoors: ornamental blackness in early Meissen porcelain¿, Cultural Aesthetics of Porcelain, (ed. Michael Yonan), pp.159-179.

Krzysztof Pomian, Collectors and Curiosities, Paris and Venice, 1500-1800, (1987), translated by Elizabeth Wiles-Portier, (Cambridge, Polity Press, 1990), ¿Dealers, Connoisseurs and Enthusiasts in Eighteenth-century Paris¿, pp. 139-168.

Marie Antoinette, 2006 film by Sofia Coppola and review by Alexander Zevin, ¿Marie Antoinette and the Ghosts of the French Revolution¿, Cinéaste, vol. 32, no. 2, Cineaste Publishers, Inc, 2007, pp. 32¿35

Richard Taws, ¿The Guillotine as Antimonument¿, Sculpture Journal, 19:1, Spring-Summer 2010, pp.33-48.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis; Clear thinking and the development of an argument; The ability to express ideas clearly in writing; Independent research; Presentation and communication skills; Organisation and planning; Teamwork through group discussion
KeywordsFrench art,Versailles,Louis XIV,luxury goods,collecting,French Revolution,transatlantic,Napoleon I
Course organiserDr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth
Course secretaryMr Nathan Ross-Hammond
Tel: (0131 6)51 5880
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