Discussion Topics and Issues Week 20-22

  • Issues to explore in class discussion and written assignments during weeks 20 - 22: 

    How does Rococo art reflect the lives of the aristocratic class?

    What is the impact of Rococo images on the rising bourgeoisie?

    What impact does Enlightenment thought have on artistic content and form?

    What is the impact of the French Academy and the Salon Exhibitions?   

    To what extent do works by 18th century artists reflect the decline of the ruling aristocracies and the rise of the middle class? 

    How does the purpose of art change as the eighteenth century progresses? 

    Just what does Romanticism mean? 

    In what ways are Romantic artists reacting against the Enlightenment's intellectual climate?

    How does Romantic art reflect a break from deep-seated artistic rules inherited from the Renaissance?  Why does this occur?

    To what extent do Romantic visual artists reflect developments in contemporary literature and music? 

    Stylistically and thematically, how do artists express the same kinds of notions found in Romantic music and literature?

    What is the impact of the Industrial Revolution on artistic production?

    By what process does photography come to be considered art?  Do early photographers seem to define their work in that way?  What functions does photography serve from the beginning that both link it with and distinguish it from the other visual arts?

    What impact does photography have on painting and vice versa?  How do painters emulate photographers and how do photographers emulate painters? 

    Technically speaking, what is the range of artistic expression inherent to photography?  How do photographers manipulate their medium for their desired effects?

    What exactly is Realism?  Does it mean the same things for writers and for visual artists?  What subjects do artists choose to depict realistically?  Why? 

    Is optical realism what is most real?  If not, what techniques can artists use to portray their understanding of what is real? 

    In what ways do the socioeconomic changes accompanying the Industrial Revolution affect the birth of Realism?  To what extent was Realist art used as propaganda for social change?

    To what extent is Realism a reaction against Romanticism? 

    How do the Pre-Raphaelites represent a reaction against Realism and/or Impressionism? 

    How do the Impressionists represent perhaps the most dramatic break from the Renaissance tradition up to their time? 

    How does their work reflect radical change stylistically, in their concepts of art's purpose, and in their ideas of themselves as artists? 

    Who were their greatest influences and why? 

    What impact does the opening of European-Japanese trade relations have on the art world?  Why are European artists so taken with Japanese woodblock prints?  How do they emulate those prints in their own paintings and prints?

    Why have the Impressionists enjoyed such popularity among the general population in the past several decades, and why have the Pre-Raphaelites experienced a notable rise in popularity?

    Why were Post-Impressionist artists initially attracted to Impressionism, and why did each become dissatisfied with it?

    What was each trying to accomplish artistically and what in their work made them influential for other artists?

    How do the Post-Impressionists reflect the changing role of the artist in Western society?