The second half of the 19th century was a period of extreme technological, social, and cultural upheaval. During these years, traditional ideas about art, design, literature, and journalism were challenged by new ways of thinking that seeded the ground for more radical changes in the 20th century. The class will focus on close and critical readings of primary artworks and texts in Washington-area libraries, archives, and museums. Visits are scheduled for the Rare Book and Special Collections Department of the Library of Congress and the National Gallery of Art. Topics include: The Great Exhibition of 1851, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the Arts and Crafts Movement, Aestheticism, and the Revival of Printing. Key figures include: John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Julia Margaret Cameron, Elizabeth Siddal, William Morris, W.E. Godwin, Walter Pater, J.M.W. Whistler, Aubrey Beardsley, and Oscar Wilde. Along with weekly readings and short written responses, there will be one long-form seminar essay and presentation due at the conclusion of the semester, as well as a shorter theoretical essay and a mid-term exam.
As a result of completing this course, students will: Have a solid foundation in 19th century British art and culture Understand the history, theory, and practice of Proto-Modernism Be able to apply ideas and thoughts into other realms of enquiry and practice Learn the value of disciplined risk-taking and successful collaboration Experience the intellectual pleasure of understanding and articulating complex ideas Desire to share their newly-gained knowledge through art, writing, and other creative forms