BA Modern Language and Business & Management (French) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Art in France

Course unit fact file
Unit code FREN20271
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

For close to 300 years French art occupied a leading position in Western visual culture. This course unit will examine examples of French art from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, looking at a variety of themes. Paintings and other artworks drawn from a range of periods and movements, including 17th-century Classicism, Rococo art, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism and Surrealism will be analysed. In the first half of the course students will acquire knowledge and understanding of the topics and key techniques of visual analysis in lectures and student-led seminars.  

Aims

  • To gain knowledge and understanding of key aspects of French visual art 
  • To become familiar with examples of work by some major French artists 
  • To acquire and develop key techniques of visual analysis 
  • To acquire some key art-historical vocabulary  
  • To become familiar with essential historical context 
  • To learn how to look at and appreciate French art 
  • To gain confidence in discussing French art, both orally and in writing 
  • To develop skills of independent learning 

Knowledge and understanding

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

  • Show a degree of knowledge of French art over four centuries appropriate to Year 2 study 
  • Discuss and analyse works of French visual art in an informed manner 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of some of the periods, styles, themes and genres in French art history from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries 
  • Discuss works of art using some of the essential terminology of art history 
  • Relate a painting or other work to its historical context 

Intellectual skills

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

  • Demonstrate an ability to undertake individual research 
  • Show a capacity to think critically about works of visual art and the secondary written material about them 
  • Demonstrate a grasp of theoretical concepts relating to art history 

Practical skills

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

  • Demonstrate literacy in analysing visual culture, with specific attention to painting 
  • Be assured in giving verbal expression to intellectual responses to works of art 
  • Express critical ideas coherently in structured essays 
  • Engage effectively in group discussions 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

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

  • Demonstrate literacy in analysing visual culture, with specific attention to painting 
  • Be assured in giving verbal expression to intellectual responses to works of art 
  • Express critical ideas coherently in structured essays 
  • Engage effectively in group work and discussions 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students taking this unit will be able to analyse and evaluate both existing literature on the paintings studied and the primary set materials (images) themselves. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with an advanced capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently.
Innovation/creativity
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by existing literature on the topic and the primary corpus of paintings and illustrations studied.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Research
Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading
Written communication
Students on this unit will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling

Assessment methods

Assessment Task

Draft Catalogue - 0% (formative)

Themed exhibition catalogue, with 3-4 entries - 40%

Essay plan - 0% (formative)

Essay - 60%

 

Feedback methods

  • Oral feedback on oral participation in class  
  • Formative written feedback on draft catalogue and essay plan 
  • Written feedback on summative assessment 
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment) 

Recommended reading

  • Brigstocke, Hugh (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Western Art (Oxford University Press, 2001) 
  • Dawkins, Heather, The Nude in French Art and Culture 1870-1910 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)  
  • Clark, Kenneth, The Nude: A Study of Ideal Art (London: John Murray, 1956) 
  • Callen, Anthea, The Art of Impressionism: Painting Technique and the Making of Modernity (Yale University Press, 2000) 
  • Frascina, Francis, and others, Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century (Yale University Press and The Open University, 1993) 
  • Harrison, Charles, Francis Frascina, Gill Perry, Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction: The Early Twentieth Century (Yale University Press and The Open University, 1993) 
  • Herbert, Robert L., Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society (Yale University Press, revised edition, 1991) 

Further reading will be recommended on Blackboard.  

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jonathan Hensher Unit coordinator

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