Western Europe in the 18th Century





This foundation course studies the arts of Western Europe both as landmarks in the history of art and design and as cultural artifacts. The course investigates the emerging distinctions between “fine” and “decorative” arts by focusing on such designers as Boucher, Meissonnier, Piranesi, and Adam, who worked across media or whose ideas were broadly echoed, adapted, and applied in the commercial sphere. Lectures focusing on national artistic traditions (Italy, France, Germany, Britain) and the expanding palette of styles (late baroque, rococo, chinoiserie, Gothic revival, neoclassicism) are balanced with case studies of international trends such as the cult of exoticism, fashion and the body, and the explosion of interest in porcelain (and its imitations) across Europe. By expanding beyond standard histories of architecture, painting, and sculpture, and taking advantage of New York collections, this course aims to recover a fuller view of 18th-century artistic production and its relevant cultural contexts. 3 credits.