Course overview

In this course, we will have a look at an exciting and troubling period in the history of French art: the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI. Stretching from the 1640s to the 1790s, this period saw the rise of absolutism as well as its demise, with the French Revolution.

Course description

In this course, we will study the art created in France from the 1640s to the 1790s, i.e. from the reign of the Sun King to the French Revolution. In the first session, we will come back on the position of French art and artists in the early 17th century and consider the influence of Italian artists.

After this we will progress following a chronological timeline. Some of the themes and artists we will study include:

the Baroque art with Versailles, its architecture, decoration, and gardens “a la francaise” designed by André Le Notre

the classical art of Poussin and Claude Lorrain;

the emergence of the Académie des Beaux-art with all its norms

the rococo excess in the paintings of Watteau, Boucher and Fragonard;

the development of the art of pastel (Maurice Quentin de la Tour)

the quiet beauty of Chardin’s still-lifes

the role of women as patrons of the art, such as Madame de Pompadour

the increasing presence of women artists in the arts in the 18th century with Vigée Le Brun and many others

the neo-classical reaction, which emerged as the 1789 Revolution unfolded, with the art of Jacques-Louis David

Each session will be full of beautiful and significant works of art, set in their historical context.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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