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Unit information: Paris in 2020/21

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Unit name Paris
Unit code HART20028
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Ms. Tricha Passes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The unit will introduce the visual arts in respect of their specific relationships with the city of Paris, beginning with the revolution of 1789, examining the expansion of Paris in the mid nineteenth century and assessing Paris's cultural importance with the influx of 51,000,000 visitors to the Exposition Universelle in 1900. International artists gravitating to Paris in the early twentieth century will also be addressed and the unit will culminate with the post WW1 Arts Decoratifs Exhibition in 1925. Architectural developments will also be examined particularly, the effects that these had on the lives of inhabitants, largely as represented in a wide range of visual imagery. Specific case studies will concentrate on, for example, the variety of existences available to artists working in Paris (bohemian, flaneur, respectable bourgeois) and the development of the department store as both an innovative architectural form and a novel economic and social practice. Relationships between the city and the suburbs, notably as evidenced in the imagery of Impressionist artists, will also be considered, as will the struggle by artists to improve the range of exhibition venues in the city.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate a broad awareness of the major artistic developments associated with Paris in the long nineteenth century;

2. articulate how art historians have approached the study of Parisian artists and/or artistic movements;

3. select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general historical points;

4. identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically and form an individual viewpoint;

5. demonstrate writing and research skills appropriate to level I/5.

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Details

One 3000-word summative essay (75%) [ILOs 1-5]

One timed assessment (25%) [ILOs 1-2]

Reading and References

Harvey, David., Paris, Capital of Modernity (New York, 2003)

Herbert, Robert., Impressionism: Art, Leisure and Parisian Society, (New Haven & London, 1987)

D'Souza, Aruna and McDonough, Tom., The Invisible Flâneuse:? Gender, Public Space and Visual Culture in Nineteenth Century Paris. (Manchester University Press, 2006)

Clark,T.J., The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers (London, 1985)

Gronberg, Tag., Designs on Modernity: Exhibiting the City in 1920’s Paris , (Manchester University Press, 2003)