Course overview

This course explores the effervescent avant-garde scenes in Europe and the U.S., at the beginning of the 20th century (from 1905 to 1924). It saw an incredibly rapid succession of art movements. From Fauvism to Constructivism, avant-garde artists relentlessly explored uncharted territories and redefined what art is: Can a urinal become a work of art? What about a black square on a white? You will study iconic works of art, created by artists like Picasso and Matisse, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Walter Gropius, Natalya Goncharova and many more. In doing so you will deepen you understanding of this incredible and fundamental artistic period.

Course description

What is the avant-garde? In this course, you will deepen your understanding of a fundamental period of the history of art. Throughout the ten sessions, key characteristics of the “avant-garde” will be highlighted, in terms of the artist’s mindset, the group’s dynamics and rhetoric, the work of art’s aspect, and the audience’s response.

This course will begin with an introductory portrait of the European society and arts at the turn of the 20th century. We will then study a sequence of avant-garde movements (such as Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, and Vorticism). Their rapid proliferation will be questioned in order to understand the urge artists felt to challenge conventions and create something new.

We will investigate the impact of the First World War on avant-garde movements and their members. We will see how this conflict challenged them by casting doubt on something fundamental: their faith in progress and their role in defining the future. To this state of uncertainty, we will study two opposite artistic responses: dada and the “Return to order”. The case of the Bolshevik revolution and its impact on art and artists will also be examined. Finally, we will consider the case of the Bauhaus, probably the most successful fusion between the ideas of the avant-garde and real life.

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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