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

Postgraduate Course: From Versailles to Napoleon III: Visualising the Cost of Luxury, 1682-1873 (HIAR11133)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course traces the rise and fall of the French Royal family and analyses their patronage of luxurious goods, art and architecture from the late seventeenth century, through the French Revolution, ending with the fall of the Second Empire in 1870.
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 1682-1873. It begins with the building and decoration of Versailles where Louis XIV moved in 1682, follows the Royal family until the French Revolution and the executions of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793, and considers the new democratic language of luxury associated with Napoleon, Jacques Louis David and the opening of the Louvre. It ends with the Haussmanisation of Paris in the nineteenth century, international exhibition culture, Napoleon III and the fall of the Second Empire. Throughout, it considers the role of enslaved people in the creation of artistic pieces during this time, focusing on paintings, architecture, sculpture, porcelain and silver to problematize the true cost of luxury. It also considers the structure of the luxury goods production system, the growing art market in Paris and London and the historicised collecting of ancien régime France in nineteenth-century England.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  16
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 4000 word essay 100% - submitted weeks 8-11
Feedback Students are given feedback on FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT as follows:
Students will submit a mid-semester essay plan (c.500 words) and annotated preliminary bibliography. Written feedback on the student plans will be provided with the opportunity for a one-to-one follow-up meeting.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Written feedback on student essays will be provided, in addition to the opportunity for a one-to-one meeting towards the end of semester.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the relationships between visual and material cultures, society, politics and transatlantic networks in France from 1682-1873.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to absorb, understand and apply theoretical ideas relating to 18th and 19th-century French visual and material culture through close reading of texts, as well as visual analysis.
  3. Successfully analyse and develop arguments in relation to topics arising in 18th and 19th-century French visual culture, such as for example luxury, patronage, and slavery.
  4. Present ideas clearly and well in writing and in debate.
Reading List
Meredith Martin and Gillian Weiss, The Sun King at Sea - Maritime Art and Galley Slavery in Louis XIV's France (Getty Research Institute, 2022), pp.22-79.

Adrienne Childs, ¿Sugar boxes and blackamoors: ornamental blackness in early Meissen porcelain¿, in Michael Yonan ed., The Cultural Aesthetics of Eighteenth-Century Porcelain, (Routledge, 2010), pp.159-179.

Marie Antoinette, 2006 film by Sofia Coppola or Les Misérables 2012 film

Iris Moon, Luxury after the Terror, (Philadelphia: Penn State University Press, 2022), pp.17-41.

Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth, ¿¿Life was a spectacle for her¿: Lady Dorothy Nevill as Art Collector, Political Hostess, and Cultural Philanthropist¿, Journal 19, Issue 31, 2021, pp.1-26.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis; Clear thinking and the development of an argument; Independent research; Presentation and communication skills; The ability to articulate ideas clearly in writing; Organisation and planning; Teamwork through group discussion
KeywordsRoyalty,French Revolution,patronage,luxury,slavery,ancien regime
Course organiserDr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth
Course secretary Yijia Chen
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