Course overview

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the Nordic art movement of National Romanticism. The course will give a contextual historical background to the art and look at the art and artists of 19th century Scandinavia. In Northern Europe landscape painting has a powerful hold on our visual culture and especially in Scandinavia, where far northerly folk have found a kinship with nature to be indispensable. Nordic art is a little known treasure trove of stunning images of the Northern landscape and the country people. We will look in particular depth at the artistic developments in Norway.

Course description

We will begin with the problem facing Nordic painters in the early 19th century, of how to depict northern sensibilities in relation to the romantic landscape experience, previously dominated by the Mediterranean world view. Training outside of Scandinavia was necessary, initially in Germany, leading to the idealist composite landscapes of C. D. Friedrich.

Early exponents of this school coming under the German influence especially J. C. Dahl founded the National Romantic Movement which sought to depict Nordic landscape as an expression of Northern people and their values.

By mid-century, French painters and their outdoor technique of painting began to take over as the main influence on Nordic painters, who would then take this approach back to their home countries and apply it in realist paintings.

From realism grew Impressionism, which had a brief popularity amongst Nordic painters, but it was not long before Symbolism (the term in Swedish is more accurate - Stȁmningsmaleri – mood or evocative painting) was felt to be better able to convey the Scandinavian spiritual affinity with nature.

By the 1880s Nordic art had come to full maturity in a Golden Age expressing a joyous affirmation of Northerness.

The course will include illustrated lectures with discussion throughout.

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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