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~ French Literature and Art ~

French Literature and Art, Part I : Romanticism



90 minutes


After this seminar, you'll know all there is to know about : Romantic Art, Romantic Literature, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Les Misérables,  Ingres, David, Géricault, Delacroix, Raft of the Medusa, Liberty Guiding the People.

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The 19th century was one of the most culturally rich, and politically intense, periods in French history. After many centuries of rethinking and reinterpreting the classical ideals of the Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, artists and intellectuals from all walks of life came together to create an all-new vision for literature and art, intimately connected with the political events of the moment and the newly-emerging modern world.


During this 3-part course, we will explore the world of French literature and painting at this exciting time in history, and see how the many artistic currents that arose during this time aimed to find new forms of self-expression while also reflecting the tense political atmostphere. We'll look at three main periods of the century, and the respective literary and artistic movements that arose, one after the other, in the quest for truth, modernity, and self-expression : Romanticism, with its violent passions and tragic nostalgia for the past ; Realism, an honest inquiry into the social norms of the lower and middle classes ; and Naturalism, a literary movement based on scientific observation, intimately linked to the revolutionary new artistic current introduced by Monet and Renoir : Impressionism.


Join Sandra on a journey through the 19th century and discover how the ups and downs of post-Revolutionary France led to the most innovative artistic movement the world had ever seen.

Lecture I : Romanticism

Both a literary and an artistic movement, Romanticism appeared on the scene in the aftermath of the French Revolution and materialized as a rebellion against the rigid rules Neo-classical art as mandated by Napoleon I. Writers and artists alike began to seek freer forms of expression, using their creation as an outlet for the intense, dramatic, and sometimes violent emotions vehemently repressed and disapproved of in the official state regime. We'll see how political events influenced artistic and literary expression, and explore the works of the most renowned intellectuals of the perid : Victor Hugo and his Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris, Alexandre Dumas and his Three Musketeers, Ingres and his Grande Odalisque, Delacroix and his Raft of the Medusa... What did these artists have in common, and how did the Romantic movement prepare the terrain for generations of artists and writers to come?

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