shows of London
Nineteenth-century Reading Group Meeting:

Nineteenth-century Aesthetics

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

18.15, Research Forum South Room

T. J. Clark's The Painting of Modern Life book cover
T. J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life (1984)
Speaker(s): Curated by Dr David Russell (King’s College London)

Ticket/entry details: Open to academic staff and postgraduate students of The Courtauld, King’s College London and other institutions

Organised by: Professor Caroline Arscott (The Courtauld Institute of Art) with Professor Clare Pettitt and Dr Adelene Buckland (Kings College London)

Shows of London is an interdepartmental/intercollegiate group studying Victorian Culture that meets regularly to discuss texts on street culture, representation, the Metropolis and associated issues.

Continuing on the theme of nineteenth-century aesthetics, in this session we move on from the eclectic lithography and caricature of Daumier to look at the Impressionist movement. We respond to T.J. Clark’s The Painting of Modern Life, which takes up the argument that the ‘form of the new art is inseparable from its content – “those forms of objective bourgeois recreations in the 1860s and 1870s”’. We also read a selection of criticism from Michael Fried on Matisse and the relationship between Impressionism, Theatricality, and Modernity.

The following reading is available at

T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers (1984): Introduction*, and Chapter Four; Part One and Part Two.

Michael Fried, Absorption and Theatricality (1976): Introduction*, and Chapter One; Part One and Part Two, and Manet’s Modernism, (1996): Introduction*

*Denotes primary text

All welcome. Refreshments will be served. Please direct any enquiries to Nicola Kirkby at

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