MODERNISM AND MODERNITY IN EUROPEAN ART.
FROM THE ARTISTIC TRENDS OF THE 1890'S TO EARLY 20TH CENTURY AVANT-GARDE STYLES

Winter Term 1996
Ilona Sarmany-Parsons
Department of History
CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY





Course Description

The course is intended to give an overview of the main artistic trends from Art Nouveau/ Secession to Surrealism by concentrating on the changing role of the arts in society and the changing attitudes of the artists to their vocation.

It will concentrate on painting, viewed in its social, cultural and national contexts and will analyze the relationship between art and political and/or philosophical ideas .

As in the Fall Trimester, changing world-views, as manifested in works of art, will be analyzed from a social, political and philosophical point of view.

Together with English, French, German and Russian artistic trends, specific CentralEuropean variations of the new styles in art will be discussed.

Apart from oral examination at the end of the course, the students will be tested on their recognition of the styles and masters featured in the lectures.


Compulsory reading:
E D H. Gombrich: The Story of Art. London, 1992. pp 442-475.
H. Honour & J. Flemming: A World History of Art. 1982. pp. 564-603.
R. Rosenblum & H.W. Janson: Art of the Nineteenth Century. pp. 428-463.
N Lynton: the Story of Modern Art. Lond. 1992. pp.1-225

Thematic Units of the Course

1) The increasing antagonism between the artistic establishment and experimental art in the 1890's and its consequences. (This includes discussion of official forums, the newly established art market, and the marginalized status of the avant-garde). The Breakthrough of Art Nouveau and Jugendstil in Europe

2) Secession and Modernism in the Austro-Hungarian Empire: in Vienna, Prague, Cracow and Budapest. The relationship of these Central European art centers to those in Western Europe.

3) The coming of the radical avant-garde generation : Fauvism and Expressionism. France, Germany, Austria and the impact of their art on the rest of Europe.

4) The final break with tradition: Cubism in Paris, Futurism in Italy and related tendencies elsewhere in Europe.

5) Abstraction: Experiments in the creation of a new visual language. Zero hour for modern art.

6) The attraction of war for certain artists and the multiple crises of the creative ego: Dadaism, Surrealism and individual contemporary artists not belonging to any movement.

7) The heritage of the early radical avant-garde in historical perspective.

All lectures will be accompanied by slides.


Optional reading:
Herbert Read: A Concise History of Modern Painting. Lond. rev. ed. 1968.
Nikos Stangos (ed): Concepts of Modern Art. New York 1974.
Camilla Gray: The Russian Experiment in Art 1863-1922. London 1975.
Robert Hughes: The Shock of the New. - Art an the Century of Change. London 1980.


CRC-Curriculum Resource Center
CEU Budapest, Hungary
Modified: June, 1996


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