Course Description

Course Name

Art in France from the Enlightenment to the Realist Scandal

Session: VPRS1322

Hours & Credits

42 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level


  • Prior to enrolling in courses at this language level, students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of 2 upper-division college level courses at their home university in the U.S.

High Advanced

  • Prior to enrolling in courses at this language level, students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of five semesters (or eight quarters) at the college level.


  • Prior to enrolling in courses at this language level, students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of four semesters (or six quarters) at the college level.


1 / General objectives of the course:

Introduction to the history of art and the analysis of works of art; Discovery of the main French artistic movements of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century (Rococo-Neoclassicism-Romanticism-Realism); Discover the great French artists and their works, situating them in the historical, artistic and socio-cultural context of the time.
This course offers students who wish to participate in the cultural mediation operation "Young people have the Word" organized in partnership with the Musée du Louvre (November / December). The participating students are invited to discover three works of art to the visitors and share with them their knowledge of Art History. This experience fits fully into the curriculum and gives rise to a certificate provided by the Louvre.

2 / Pedagogical approach of the teacher

The teaching is shared between the ILCF and the Louvre museum where some courses take place. It is based on an in-depth analysis of periods and works, with the active participation of students. Thus, even outside the foundations of the history of French art, the latter are gradually led to acquire the tools of plastic analysis and the specialized language necessary for any artistic commentary.
Outside of the courses, the Louvre is therefore necessary to acquire knowledge.

3 / Supports:

Work on projections of images / DVD on screen in theater, alternating with visits on the ground (The exits to the museum of the Louvre are paying for students of more than 26 years - except for those participating in the "Young people have the floor ").

4 / Bibliographical references summary

- GOMBRICH Ernst, History of art, Paris, Flammarion, 1982.
- FOCILLON Henri, Painting in the nineteenth century, Paris, Flammarion, 1991 (reprint).
- AGHION Irène, BARBILLON Claire and LISSARRAGUE François, Heroes and Gods of antiquity, iconographic guide, Paris, Flammarion, 1994.
- DUCHET-SUCHAUX Gaston and PASTOUREAU Michel, The Bible and the Saints, iconographic guide, Paris, Flammarion, 1994.
- Visitor's Guide / Louvre, French painting, RMN, 1994.
- Visitor's Guide / Louvre, The French Sculpture, NMR, 1994.
- HAMON Françoise and DAGEN Philippe, History of art, contemporary period, XIXth and XXth centuries, Paris, Flammarion, 1995.
- MIGNOT Claude and RABREAU Daniel (ed.), Modern Times: 15th-18th centuries, Paris, Flammarion, 1996.
- CHASTEL André, French Art, volume III: Ancien Régime, 1620-1775, Paris, Flammarion, 2000.
- Dictionary of French painting, Larousse.

- HARDING James, Firefighters: Academic painting in France from 1830 to 1880, Paris, Flammarion, 1980.
- DELECLUSZE (E.-J.), Louis David, his school and his time, Paris, Macula, 1983.
- ROSENTHAL Léon, From romanticism to realism, evolution of French painting between 1830-1848, Paris, Macula, 1991.
- CHATELET Albert, French painting 18th century, Geneva, Skira, 1992.
- LEVEY Michael, The Art of the Eighteenth Century. Painting and sculpture in France, 1700-1789, Paris, Flammarion, 1993.
- VAUGHAN Williams, The Romantic Art, London, Thames & Hudson, 1994.
+ Forney Library, Borough Municipal Libraries, BPI Center Pompidou. Librairie du Louvre + Websites of the Louvre and Orsay museums.

5 / Evaluation:

Note 1: Written examination; Note 2: Presentations (or for JOP students: participation note); Note 3: Final written examination; Note 4: Participation and Attendance. Each note (25% of the final grade) takes into account knowledge and expression in French. Attendance at table controls is mandatory to obtain the certificate.

6 / Attendance, Punctuality: ANY ABSENCE MUST BE JUSTIFIED.

After two absences, the course will not be validated on the certificate.
It is up to the students to inquire (with the class delegate or a fellow) about the work done and the duties required.

Theme Session
1. General presentation of the course - Analysis in History of Art: method and case study;
The arts in France at the end of the reign of Louis XIV: Politics and artistic propaganda: the Royal Academy of painting and sculpture; The role of Charles Lebrun - French Classicism: the example of the Château de Versailles - Artistic debates around 1670
2. From the Regency to the reign of Louis XV, the triumph of the Rococo and the color - Jean-Antoine Watteau, at the service of a new epoch: "galant festivals" and sets of theater .
3. The art Rockery on stage: the interior decors of Parisian private mansions
4. The great orientations of rococo in painting: "mythologie galante" according to François Boucher; Poetry according to Jean-Siméon Chardin (Musée du Louvre)
5. The art of the portrait: Jean-Marc Nattier, Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Maurice Quentin de La Tour - Jean-Honoré Fragonard and the apotheosis of the Rococo (Louvre museum)
7. Panorama of 18th-century sculpture: The art of portraiture; The mythological and historical sculpture;
Neoclassicism (1750-1830): The second style Louis XV or the end of the festival: Jean-Baptiste Greuze or the moralized genre - The poetic of the ruins: Hubert Robert (Louvre museum)
8. Under the Consulate and the Empire: Historical presentation of the period; The rediscovery of Antiquity - The arts in the service of history: examples borrowed from Parisian architecture.
9. Neoclassical painting (1): Characteristics; Jacques-Louis David: between Revolution and Virtuous Antiquity (1) (Musée du Louvre)
10. Neoclassical painting (2), David's pupils: Anne-Louis Girodet of Roussy-Trioson; Antoine-Jean Gros, at the service of the Napoleonic epic; Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, between idealization and stylization (Musée du Louvre)
11. From Romanticism to a Realistic Break: The Case of Painting: Romanticism, Fiery and Passion - The Great Names of Romantic Painting (1): Theodore Géricault (Musée du Louvre)
12. The great names of romantic painting (2): Eugène Delacroix (Musée du Louvre)
14. The great names of romantic painting (3) - Eugène Delacroix (Eugène Delacroix museum and decorations of the Saint-Sulpice church) -
15. Realistic rupture: Gustave Courbet and the emergence of the realistic movement

*Course content subject to change