WEEK ONE: 8 - 12 July 2013

Course 4: Dr Ayla Lepine

Art and Architecture in Victorian London from the ‘Battle of the Styles’ to ‘Art for Art’s Sake’


Victorian art and architecture had an immense impact on London, leaving us with such diverse structures, collections and art movements as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Red House, Leighton House and the Aesthetic Movement, St Pancras Station, Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Houses of Parliament and the Albert Memorial.  Examining all of these legacies closely, this course will encourage students to look afresh at nineteenth-century taste and innovation, and question to what extent Victorian art and architecture relied on old traditions to convey modern values. Both in the classroom and in a series of visits to London buildings and art collections, students will consider different approaches to this important period in British history.

Students will have unique opportunities to engage first-hand with the forms and functions of buildings and objects, using collections held in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Britain and the RIBA to gain in-depth understanding of nineteenth-century art and ideas. Decorative arts, interior design, fashion and the popular press will also be taken into account. By looking closely and applying an array of art historical methodologies, we will engage with fundamental ideas about beauty, labour and commerce when London was at the centre of the world’s largest empire.

If you would like to pursue your interest in Victorian art and architecture further, you may also be interested in our Study Tour to Victorian Oxford, conducted by Dr Carol Jacobi from 7-8 September.

Course 7: Dr Natalia Murray

Russian Art 1863-1932: Innovations, Influences and the Roots of Modernity


This course examines the history of Russian art in all its diversity from the first artists’ rebellion against St. Petersburg’s almighty Art Academy in 1863, the blossoming of arts in Russia’s ‘Silver Age’, to the upsurge of avant-garde art and its subsequent disappearance after 1932, when Socialist Realism became the only artistic style permitted in the Soviet Union. We will look at the cultural as well as geographical boundaries of Russian art, and its contact with developments in European art  as well as the shifts of cultural context, which often occurred through emigration, cultural export, exhibitions, publications, and collaborations.  The complex nature of the Russian avant-garde, its origins and roots, will be examined throughout the course. We will also look at traditional Russian art and icons and their influence on the Russian avant-garde, and will discuss the works of Repin, Serov, Benois, Bakst, Somov, Vrubel, Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Filonov, Rodchenko, Chagall, Popova, and others.  Lastly, we will examine the influence of political changes in Russia under Stalin on the development of Russian art. Visits include the Victoria and Albert Museum (Ballets Russes drawings and stage designs); the Naum Gabo archive at Tate Britain; the British Museum, and The Courtauld Gallery.

Course 8:

Dr Richard Cork

Making it New: Modernism in the Early 20th Century


With seismic explosiveness, young artists across Europe changed the course of painting and sculpture soon after the new century began. A series of revolutionary movements erupted, beginning with Fauvism in France and Expressionism in Germany. The Italian Futurists were the most clamorous but the Cubists in Paris proved the most far-reaching. Then, in 1914, London was shocked by the advent of Vorticism and its rumbustious magazine BLAST. This course explores the rebellious momentum of an exciting period. However, it terminates in the tragedy of the First World War when many avant-garde artists found themselves caught up in a blood-bath. Visits include The Courtauld Gallery’s display of twentieth-century art, Tate Modern, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art and the Imperial War Museum.


WEEK TWO: 15 - 19 July 2013

Course 15:Dr Klara Kemp-Welch

Art and Revolution: East European Art from 1917-1989



This course offers a survey of modern and contemporary art from the former Soviet Union and the Central European Soviet satellites. We will focus on the dynamic relationship of artistic practice to the rise and fall of communism in the Soviet bloc. The first part of the course will explore painting, photography, film and design in the decades following the revolution of 1917, mapping the aspirations of avant-garde figures like Kasimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Sergei Eisenstein, and Dziga Vertov, and the rationale for the introduction of Socialist Realism as official orthodoxy in 1934. In the second part of the course we will focus on the emergence of non-conformist art in the decades following the denunciation of the Stalinist Cult of Personality by Khrushchev, in 1956. Our discussions will include Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre, International Mail Art practices, and the installations of Ilya Kabakov, among others, and will explore relevant writings by key dissidents such as Vaclav Havel. The course concludes with an examination of the seismic transformations of 1989-91 and their implications for cultural life in the ‘former-East’. Visits include relevant displays in London collections and some of the newer galleries showing East European art, including Calvert 22 and Regina London.


Course 16: Dr Matthias Vollmer

The Shadows of the Past: Art in Germany from 1945 to Today



Denouncing avant-garde art movements like Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, New Objectivity and the Bauhaus as ‘degenerate’, the Nazi regime promoted a ‘true German art’ mostly in the tradition of German nineteenth-century realistic painting. After World War II, West German abstract artists such as Willi Baumeister, Ernst Wilhelm Nay and ‘Wols’ sought to come to terms with the traumatic legacy of the country's recent history. Simultaneously, East German artists like Bernhard Heisig and Werner Tübke presented idiosyncratic interpretations of official ‘Socialist Realism’. In both Germanys artists developed distinctive versions of modern and postmodern art - at times in accord with their political cultures, at other times in opposition to them.


WEEK THREE: 22 - 26 July 2013

Course 23: Dr Christian Weikop

German Romanticism to Expressionism: From the Nazarenes to the Brücke


This course examines the artistic quest for the origins of Germanic identity, and the romantic-idealist roots of early Expressionism.  Goethe’s essay ‘On German Architecture’ (1772) is our starting point, and we will discuss how his interest in the idea of a Gothic German identity reverberated in the art of the long nineteenth century, from the Nazarenes to the Brücke group. We will consider the ideals of the German Romantic movement, from early organic theories of art to an ‘aesthetics of inwardness’, which might be what unites the work of artists as diverse as Philip Otto Runge and Franz Marc. The course will cover a wide range of subject matter: from the forest cult in works by artists like Caspar David Friedrich and Ludwig Richter, to the anti-urban ‘back-to-nature’ tradition as seen in the art of Wilhelm Leibl and Paula Modersohn-Becker, and the expressions of a ‘free body culture’ in the Symbolist canvases of artists like Hugo Höppener. We will also investigate the Romantic cult of Albrecht Dürer as ‘the’ German master par excellence, and his influence on both nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German artists. This course includes visits to the print rooms of the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.


Course 24: Dr Sarah James

Photography, Modernism and Modernity in the 20th century


This course will examine the relationship between the European avant-garde, technology and mass culture, by situating artistic production in the context of photography, mechanical reproduction, cinema, advertising, consumerism, and everyday life in the modern metropolis. We shall explore the ways in which photography intersected with painting at the turn of the century, and its role in shaping the most significant artistic movements of the European avant-garde from Futurism, Constructivism and Dada to Surrealism and New Objectivity. We will consider how artists drew on technologies, mass media and popular culture to celebrate modernity and challenge traditional approaches to artistic production, subjective experience, gender norms, and commodity culture. We'll look at photographic culture more broadly, considering photobooks, photo-essays, avant-garde journals, and major photo-exhibitions. The course will end by investigating how the avant-garde’s utopian dreams were violently deformed with the rise of mass politics and the ways in which both Stalinism and Nazism built on and transformed the avant-garde’s vision of technology and mass culture.


WEEK FOUR: 29 July - 2 August 2013

Course 29: Dr Nancy Ireson

Avant-Garde Art in Late 19th-Century Paris


Thanks to new types of exhibition, artists in late nineteenth-century Paris had wide a range of opportunities to present their work to the public. They were no longer obliged to satisfy the requirements of the Salon juries; from the Impressionist exhibitions of the 1870s, to the Salon des Indépendants (established in 1884), forums for avant-garde art proliferated. Different ways of working emerged, as did new styles and themes, reflecting or reacting to life in the ever-changing city. This course looks at well-known figures from the period, including Degas, Seurat, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec, and situates them in relation to some of the urgent issues of time, including urbanisation, nationalism and colonialism. The course will prioritise close visual analysis, and the group will visit the National Gallery, the British Museum and The Courtauld Gallery to discuss works in detail.

Course 31: Dr Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski

From Pollock to Pop: American Art c. 1930-1972


This is a survey of major artistic developments in the United States from the first beginnings of Modernism to the early 1970s, when Modernist practice began to be questioned. The shift from medium-specific to medium-resistant practices (site-specific work, conceptual art) is a central concern. Throughout, we will consider artistic production in relation to larger patterns of historical and cultural change. We will explore the ‘Ashcan School’ and the seminal Armory Show; Precisionism in the context of the 1920s economic boom and of European avant-gardes; Regionalist painters and the impact of the Great Depression; and the development of Abstract Expressionism (and Pop Art’s reaction to it) in the context of Surrealism and the influence of Marcel Duchamp. We will look at figures like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as at less readily defined artists like Louise Bourgeois and Joseph Cornell. Minimalist, post-minimalist and conceptual art will be studied in the context of the civil rights movement, feminism and gay rights. Works by Eva Hesse and Robert Morris and the architectural interventions by Gordon Matta-Clark will be examined in light of the political and economic questioning of the art establishment. Visits include Tate Modern and the British Museum’s Print room.

Course 32: Dr Benedict Burbridge

Contemporary Photography


This course will explore the place of photography in contemporary culture, and in particular, photography’s place in contemporary art. We will examine the conditions that have led to photography’s increased status as a medium for artistic production, along with the themes and approaches that have defined recent art photography. The course will offer a critical look at the work of an established canon of contemporary artists—including Paul Graham, Jeff Wall, Thomas Ruff, Simon Norfolk, Rineke Dijkstra and Nan Golding—as well as that of lesser-known and emerging photographers, placing the work in a variety of historical and theoretical contexts. We will address the relationship of art photography to other photographic genres and applications, from the documentation of war to its uses in fashion and advertising. The course will consider the relation of photography to the museum, and how the institutional display of non-artistic, or ‘vernacular’, imagery impacts upon its interpretation. We will also examine the ways in which technological developments—particularly digitization—have affected the production and dissemination of photographic images, and photography’s relation to the market.