Back to the Classroom — Thursday

Posted in teaching resources by Editor on August 26, 2010

Susan Dixon wraps up our responses to Julie Plax’s syllabus for an undergraduate course on the eighteenth century. Tomorrow, this special ‘teaching week’ concludes with Julie’s syllabus for a graduate seminar on the French Rococo.

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Susan M. Dixon is Associate Professor of art history at The University of Tulsa. She is interested in the history of archaeology as practiced in Rome, ca. 1500-1900. She has published on Giovanni Battista Piranesi and is currently working on a monograph about Rodolfo Lanciani.

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This is a grand experiment, to have us as a group consider what constitutes a good eighteenth-century art survey, and I thank Julie for her courage in providing us fodder. How each of us might choose to dish up the century’s artistic production for student consumption will necessarily reflect our own tastes and fascinations. The freedom we have in that regard is staggering, not having the weight of a textbook like Hartt’s (Italian Renaissance) or Wittkower’s (Italian Baroque); we are without a table d’hôte. Julie’s lecture topics give her the opportunity to cover the most well-known works of art as they help flesh out major issues by which many define the century, i.e., reflections on aesthetics and taste, definitions of public versus private space, sea changes in economic, social and political structures, and the tension between rational science and religion. It is just what one wants a survey class to be, a nice smorgasbord.

I respond here in a way that I hope a good colleague would respond to me, by suggesting readings that have worked for her, or even lecture topics that he thinks I should not neglect. I think one can sometimes get more value by not choosing the reading that presents the broad view (designing the lecture to provide that), and rather using readings that are more focused in scope and more critical in approach. If the readings are chosen well, they can act to expose students to various methodologies, something that could help them navigate the literature when researching. The tricky part, however, is choosing readings that challenge without alienating, as Jennifer pointed out yesterday.

To be brief, if Julie and I were having coffee and cake right now, I might say to her: “how about . . . ?”

Under Nature, David L. Hays, “’This is not a Jardin Anglais’: Carmontelle, the Jardin de Monceau and Irregular Garden Design in late 18th-Century France,” in M. Benes and D. Harris, eds., Villas and Gardens in Early Modern Italy and France (Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 294-326. I like this because even though it’s about a quirky garden that might not be taught in a survey course, it engages with perceptions of what makes a French vs. an English garden. If this is too far off the mark, there’s also Michel Conan, “The Coming of Age of the Bourgeois Garden,” in J. Dixon Hunt and M. Conan, eds., Tradition and Innovation in French Garden Art (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), pp. 160-83. It’s a nice foil after the students have seen Versailles and even Stowe. The piece ends with a question: “how did changes in landscape garden forms contribute to the construction of the sphere of intimacy in the bourgeois families of the first half of the 19th century?”

Under Grand Tour, Bruce Redford, Venice and the Grand Tour (Yale University Press, 1996), perhaps chapters 1 (who’s touring) and 2 (what they learn on the tour). Both are easy reading. It might be nice to pair them with a quirky article by Ilaria Bignamini on the Italian “take” on the Grand Tourists.

Under Religion, I would look at Jon Seydl, “Contesting the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Late Eighteenth-century Rome,” in Andrew Hopkins and Maria Wyke, eds., Roman Bodies: Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century (British School at Rome, 2005).

I’m sure my predisposition for social history is showing about now. Anyone want to join us for coffee?

Back to the Classroom — Wednesday

Posted in teaching resources by Editor on August 25, 2010

As we continue this week’s focus on teaching the eighteenth century (with Julie Plax’s syllabus serving as a prompter), Jennifer Germann offers these useful observations . . .

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Jennifer Germann is Assistant Professor of Art History at Ithaca College where she teaches visual culture and gender studies. She is currently completing a manuscript on the representation of Marie Leszczinska (1703-1768), Queen of France, and working on a project on homosociality and women artists in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods.

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Thanks to Craig for inviting me to be a part of this forum and to Julie for sharing her syllabus. Reviewing Julie’s syllabus is a bit like being a Grand Tourist, in the best armchair-traveler style – I have all the benefits of the voyage without actually having to do the grading! Julie’s course is an introductory-level survey of eighteenth-century European art and architecture. It covers (from my perspective as a specialist in France) many corners of the Continent across the length of the century. It considers key cultural developments in relation to science, religion, and gender. For our purposes, consideration of this syllabus engages broader pedagogical questions as well as more specific issues relating to the field.

When preparing syllabi for introductory-level classes, I often find myself facing the complex issues around reading and learning. Most significantly, I find myself confronting the questions of what I can expect my students to know when they come into the classroom. What skills do they possess and which do I wish them to develop? Will they understand the reading? And if they can, will they actually do it? Julie’s course utilizes textbook reading mixed with some juicy articles by specialists that students are required to analyze in a graded writing assignment (about which I would be interested in hearing more). This is a useful way to bring undergraduates into a specialist field and to hold them accountable for the work. In my own courses, students often remark that they enjoy encountering ‘real art history’, not just survey books; I imagine Julie’s students feel the same way.

However, this also raises the question of how students are introduced to this field of study. In terms of background reading, Julie relies on a variety of textbook sources but returns most frequently to Petra ten-Doesschate Chu’s textbook, Nineteenth-Century Painting. Is the lack of focused survey (or more choices of one) about eighteenth-century European art and architecture a problem for those teaching the field or for students encountering it for the first time? I certainly recognize that for specialists (as in Julie’s case), this may not be a problem but it may suggest a lack of ‘institutional presence’. I think this issue resonates, for me, with a recent Enfilade discussion about the ‘risk’ of and to eighteenth-century studies that Mary Sheriff raised. Or, as Michael Yonan suggests in the comments section for that posting, would a textbook simply create a confining canon out of our beau désordre?

As I read Julie’s rich syllabus, I am also reminded that the fifteen-week semester looming ahead isn’t actually a very long stretch and there are topics, areas, and works of art that have to be omitted. This raises a final question: how to cover it all? How do other HECAA members choose what to cover and what to leave for a different encounter?

Back to the Classroom — Tuesday

Posted in teaching resources by Editor on August 24, 2010

Our first response to Julie-Anne Plax’s syllabus for an undergraduate course on eighteenth-century art . . .

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Georgina Cole is a part-time lecturer and researcher at the University of Sydney. She has just been awarded her Ph.D. from the same university for her thesis “Painting the Threshold: Doors, Space and Representation in Eighteenth-Century Genre Painting,” which examines the role of doors in the work of Watteau, Chardin, Hogarth, and Gainsborough alongside a new theory of genre painting. Georgina has taught and contributed to a number of art history courses at the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

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Overshadowed by the looming edifices of the baroque and the nineteenth century, the eighteenth century is often an unfamiliar period for art history students, and prone to be written off as a frivolous century lacking any real achievements. Faced with these prejudices, a good course needs to show students that there is a lot to be gained from taking this playfulness seriously and that ultimately, the eighteenth century is a crucial turning point for many ‘modern’ ideas about representation, science, and private life. Julie Plax’s syllabus tackles both of these issues, and it does so by focusing on the intersections of eighteenth-century art and cultural identity, politics, travel and scientific discovery. The range of seminar topics here is impressive, as is the attention to things that aren’t paintings, such as monuments, buildings and gardens. This approach accurately emphasizes the ‘artfulness’ of the period and its fluid relationships between painting, sculpture, architecture and decoration. Her pan-European focus is particularly refreshing, and includes English, Spanish, German, Russian and Swedish art and contexts. The thematic and chronological organization of the course is well devised and should help students engage with the themes, forms and contexts of eighteenth-century art rather than just its stylistic affiliations.

While I liked the breadth and diversity of the course content, I was really impressed by the forms of examination and their focus on student learning. The numerous assessments – multiple exams, an article critique and a final research paper – provide the student with continual feedback to aid in the development of writing skills and critical analysis. As a teacher, I have found that students need and want constant feedback on their academic performance. This can sometimes be a heavy burden, but it is vital for their academic development. The ongoing opportunities for assessment in this course, especially the submission of multiple drafts of the research paper, will certainly help students improve their writing, research and interpretive skills. Spreading the assessment loading across multiple tasks also keeps students engaged throughout the semester.

Also on the topic of examination, I was intrigued by the lottery for the allocation of research topics. This is an ingenious solution to an often difficult and time-consuming problem, and admirably avoids “Fragonard fatigue”, a condition experienced after marking 97 papers on Happy Hazards of the Swing. It means a good spread of topics for marking, and forces students to study works they would not have chosen for themselves. Although we generally introduce more critical articles and essays into the reading list at the University of Sydney, I think that the way Julie has controlled access to more difficult material by turning it into a form of assessment is a great way of ensuring that it is comprehended and critically analyzed. The article critique assessment is an excellent way of developing reading and interpretive skills and the emphasis on discussion improves communication and argumentation. All in all, this is a comprehensive and in-depth approach to the major concerns of eighteenth-century art that emphasizes its interaction with social, cultural and political contexts, and effectively promotes student learning.

Back to the Classroom — Syllabus for the Eighteenth Century

Posted in teaching resources by Editor on August 23, 2010

As many of us prepare to return to the classroom this fall, it seems an appropriate time to think about teaching as a vital component of the life of HECAA. The vast majority of postings here at Enfilade point to exhibitions, conferences, and scholarly opportunities. Yet in addition to the hats we wear as researchers and writers, many of us spend a huge portion of our professional careers trying to communicate our understanding and love of art history to students. In acknowledgment of this crucial responsibility, our fearless leader, Julie-Anne Plax has graciously agreed to share a syllabus from one of her past undergraduate courses. It’s posted below, and for the next three days, HECAA members will weigh in with their own responses to it (of course, all members are invited to leave comments along the way as well). To wrap up the week, Julie is also providing a syllabus for a graduate seminar on the French Rococo. Special thanks to Professor Plax for her generosity!

N.B. — The syllabus has here been modified slightly for formatting reasons. It is also available for download as a Word Document.

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Professor Julie-Anne Plax
Art Building, Room 312
Spring 2008, MW 2:00-3:15

Office Hours: MW 12:30-1:30, or by appointment
Art Building 294 / 626-4864 / jplax@email.arizona.edu

Course Description
ARH 316B is a one-semester lecture course which can be taken for three units of credit under ‘General Education Tier II: Traditions and Cultures’. This course presents a thematic survey of European art and architecture from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the French Revolution; or, in stylistic terms, from Rococo to Neo-Classicism. The lectures will examine the major artists, artistic monuments, and movements of the eighteenth century and address, more specifically, some of the critical issues in the study of eighteenth-century art.

Required Text
There is no required text for this class. The required readings will be available as PDFs at the course’s electronic reserve library site.

Course Requirements
The grade for the course will be based the following requirements.

  • Exam 1                    15%        Feb 25
  • Exam 2                    15%        April 7
  • Final Exam             20%       May 9, Friday, 2:00-4:00
  • Article Critique      15%        various dates
  • Participation            5%
  • Research Paper     30%
    • Paper prospectus and bibliography, February 18
    • 1st rough draft, March 10
    • Penultimate draft, April 14
    • Final paper, May 7

Examinations: Bluebooks required. Each examination will consist of a combination of short answer, slide identification/comparison and an essay question.

Article Critique: You will write a critique of one article. There are four articles to chose from which are indicated with *** in the syllabus course calendar. Due dates for each of the article critiques are also indicated in the course calendar below. The critique should be 3-4 typewritten pages. The critique should include a brief summation of the article, a discussion of what the article was about (the larger questions addressed as opposed to a recapitulation of the argument) and your own evaluation and opinion of the article.

Research Paper: You will be assigned a particular artwork or monument as the topic for your research paper during the research paper lottery on January 28. (See the end of the syllabus for the list of artworks). The finished research paper will be between 7 and 9 typewritten double-spaced pages of text, not including the required endnotes, bibliography and illustrations. The paper will be graded according to three categories: 1) evidence of research; 2) content and organization; 3) writing skill and scholarly form; (correct form and usage of notes, bibliography and illustrations)  There is a research paper guideline on e-res for correct form and usage. To ensure steady progress on the paper there are several requirements: 1) a prospectus and preliminary bibliography 2) 1st rough draft 3) penultimate draft 4) final paper. Failure to meet these requirements will result in a 10% reduction of your final grade for each of the requirements not met.

Discussion/participation: Discussion and participation is evidence of engagement with the material. We will be discussing all the readings informally and the four article critique readings in a more formal manner.

Students will receive a score for each requirement based on the following scale. The final grade will be calculated according to the percentage weights assigned to each requirement above.

Grading scale:
90-100% -A
60-69% -D
0-59% -E

The School of Art follows the University of Arizona Grading System. A, B, C, D, and E constitute the regular grades used at the University of Arizona.

The University of Arizona Grading System
A*    Excellent
B*    Good
C*    Satisfactory
D*    Poor
E*    Failure
P    Passing (Special S/P and P/F grade)
F    Failure (Special P/F grade)
S    Superior (Special S/P grade)
O    Audit

Late Work
Late work will be accepted with a 5% deduction per day.

Absence Policy
Students are expected to attend class and roll will be taken at each class meeting. More than three absences will affect your grade at the rate of 5% per each additional absence subtracted from your final total score.

Classroom Behavior and Academic Integrity
Student Code of Conduct: “The aim of education is the intellectual, personal, social, and ethical development of the individual. The educational process is ideally conducted in an environment that encourages reasoned discourse, intellectual honesty, openness to constructive change and respect for the rights of individuals. Self-discipline and a respect for the rights of others in the university community are necessary for the fulfillment of such goals.”

Code of Academic Integrity: “Integrity is expected of every student in all academic work. The guiding principle of academic integrity is that a student’s submitted work must be the student’s own. This principle is furthered by the student Code of Conduct and disciplinary procedures established by ABOR Policies 5-308/5-403, all provisions of which apply to University of Arizona students.”

Both the Code of Conduct and Code of Academic Integrity can be found online.

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January 16: Introduction to the Course and Background to the Eighteenth Century
Chu, Nineteenth-Century European Art, 19-33

January 21: Martin Luther King Holiday
No class

January 23: The Art Academy
Chu, Nineteenth-Century European Art, 33-39

January 28: Watteau and the Fête Galante — RESEARCH PAPER LOTTERY
Wakefield, Eighteenth-Century French Painting, 22-41

January 30: Rococo and Pompadour
Wakefield, Eighteenth-Century French Painting, 78-91

February 4: Architecture of Private Life
***ARTICLE CRITIQUE READING: Mimi Hellman, “Furniture, Sociability, and the Work of Leisure in Eighteenth-Century France” in Eighteenth-Century Studies 32 (Summer 1999): 415-45

February 6:  Grand Tour I
Ford, “The Grand Tour,” Apollo 114 (December 1981): 390-400

February 11: Grand Tour II
DISCUSSION of Hellman READING and Critique due

February 13: The British Country House
Tavernor, Palladio and Palladianism, 151-80

February 18: Nature and the Great Outdoors
Berrall, The Garden: An Illustrated History, 263-80
Paper Prospectus and Bibliography due

February 20: Guest Speaker!

February 25: Exam I

February 27: Hogarth and Humor
Vaughan, British Painting, 24-37

March 3: Portraiture
Vaughan, British Painting, 68-97

March 5: Baroque Tradition and Religious Art

March 10: Germany
1st Rough Draft of Paper due
***ARTICLE CRITIQUE READING: Hart and Stevenson, “The Body and Ascension in the Sacred Rococo Art of Southern Germany and Austria,” in Heaven and the Flesh, 127-47

March 12: Neo-Classical I
Chu, Nineteenth-Century European Art, 41-53

March 17 & 19: Spring Break
No Class

March 24: Neo-Classical II
DISCUSSION of Hart and Stevenson READING and Critique due
Chu, Nineteenth-Century European Art, 53-69

March 26: Great Men, Great Monuments and Great Museums

March 31: The Cult of Sensibilité
Brookner, Greuze: The Rise and Fall of an Eighteenth-Century Phenomenon, “Sensibilité,” 1-18

April 2: Mothers and Children
***ARTICLE CRITIQUE READING: Duncan, “Happy Mothers and Other New Ideas in French Art,” Art Bulletin 55 (December 1973): 570-83

April 7: Exam II

April 9: Women Artists
DISCUSSION of Duncan READING and Critique due
Slotkin, Women Artists in History, 110-27

April 14: Diderot: Art Criticism and the Encyclopédie0
Penultimate draft of Paper due
Diderot, Salon of 1765 “Greuze,” 96-100
Diderot, Salon of 1767 “Robert,” 190-200

April 16: Russia and Sweden

April 21: Science and Industry
***ARTICLE CRITIQUE READING: Boime, Art in an Age of Revolution 1750-1800, “Joseph Wright of Derby,” 233-60

April 23: Animals and Art
Vaughan, British Painting: The Golden Age, 162-73

April 28: Exoticisms
DISCUSSION of Boime READING and Critique due

April 30: Colonial America

May 5: Revolution and Art
Chu, Nineteenth-Century European Art, 93-107

May 7: The Sleep of Reason
Final and perfected Paper due
Last day of class, no reading, Hooray!

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Paper Lottery Choices
For Images see IMAGEN Portfolio: 316 Paper Images
1. Johann Zoffany, Royal Academicians in General Assembly
2. Antoine Watteau, Pilgrimage to Cythera
3. François Boucher, Portrait of Mme de Pompadour
4. Pompeo Batoni, The Honorable Colonel William Gordon
5. Canaletto, Rio dei Mendicanti
6. Lord Burlington and William Kent, Chiswick House
7. Stowe Garden
8. William Hogarth, Gin Lane and Beer Street
9. Joshua Reynolds, Mrs. Sarah Siddons as a Tragic Muse
10. Christopher Wren, St. Paul’s, London
11. Giambatistta Tiepolo’s fresco painting at the Wurzburg Palace
12. Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii
13. Fuseli, The Nightmare
14.  Mengs, Portrait of Winckelmann
15. Antonio Canova, Statue of Napoleon
16. Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Marie Antoinette and her Children
17. Angelica Kaufmann, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi
18. Joseph Wright of Derby, Experiment on a Bird in an Airpump
19. Etienne Falconet, Monument to Peter the Great
20. George Stubbs, Mares and Foals in a River Landscape
21.  François Boucher, Sultaness Drinking Coffee
22. Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe
23. Jacques-Louis David, Marat
24. Francisco Goya, The Duchess of Alba

Thinking about Teaching

Posted in teaching resources by Editor on September 9, 2009

At the beginning of a new academic year, recent postings at The Long Eighteenth address various themes related to teaching. Laura Rosenthal tackles grading and tactics for teaching with ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online). David Mazella responds to a posting by Kenneth Mostern at Leaving Academia (he found it at Perverse Egalitarianism), which suggests that “the scariest thing a young faculty member experiences is not, as is conventionally supposed, the ‘need to produce’ and therefore her/his experience is not aided by the ‘mentorship’ of an experienced scholar. Rather, the young scholar’s fear stems from the fact that no one in the department is talking to each other about scholarship.” Mazella also describes an assignment he gives students to make use of the Burney Collection of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century newspapers (as noted earlier here, the Burney Collection is available for free until October 30 through Early Modern Online Bibliography). The postings are all accompanied by dozens of comments. For the most part, the specifics apply to literary studies, but the larger concerns and goals would seem to bear on art history in the eighteenth century as well.

Innovation in Teaching Award

Posted in Calls for Papers, opportunities, teaching resources by Editor on September 3, 2009

ASECS Innovative Course Design Competition

Deadline: 1 October 2009

To encourage excellence in undergraduate teaching of the eighteenth century, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies invites proposals from members in any of its constituent disciplines. Proposals should be for a new approach to teaching a unit within a course on the eighteenth century, covering perhaps one to four weeks of instruction, or for an entire new course. For example, participants may offer a new approach to a specific work or theme, a comparison of two related works from different fields (music and history, art and theology), an interdisciplinary approach to a particular social or historical event, new uses of instructional technology (e.g., web sites, internet resources and activities), or a new course that has never been taught or has been taught only very recently for the first time. Participants are encourage to include why books and topics were selected and how they worked. Applicants should submit five (5) copies of a 3-5 page proposal (double-spaced) and should focus sharply on the leading ideas distinguishing the unit to be developed. Where relevant, a syllabus draft of the course should also be provided.

The Committee will select the top three proposals by November 15. A major criterion for judging the proposals is how specific they are in relation to design, readings, pedagogy, and/or activities. The authors will be asked to develop a brief presentation for delivery in the Teaching Competition seminar at the 2010 Annual Meeting. A distinguished teacher-scholar will be invited to moderate the session. A $500 award will be presented to each of the participants, and they will be invited to submit a twelve-page account of the unit or course, with a syllabus or other supplementary materials for publication on the website. (more…)

Speaking of Eighteenth-Century Rome . . .

Posted in marketplace (goods & services), resources, teaching resources by Editor on August 7, 2009

From the Interactive Nolli Map Website, University of Oregon

Under the direction of Jim Tice and Erik Steiner, the University of Oregon has constructed a stunning interactive version of Giambattista Nolli’s Map of Rome from 1748. The digital version, available online for free, is user-friendly, searchable, and comes with several essays that introduce Roman geography, social history, and eighteenth-century cartography. There’s also a fine bibliography. The map can be overlaid with a variety of layers: Gardens, the Tiber River, Rioni, Fountains, City Gates, Walls of Rome, Pathways, Map Icons, and Satellite Images. In addition to exploring (and now modelling) standards that we should expect of scholarly digital projects, the Nolli Map could offer immediately practical uses for teaching assignments. And if you find that the virtual map just makes you want a paper version all the more, the project organizers have teamed up with Raven Maps to produce a new edition available for $95 (in 2005, around the time of the launch of the Nolli wesbsite, one of the original maps sold at Christie’s for £7800, or just over $13,000). The University of Oregon website makes the Raven edition sound irresistible:

At approximately two-thirds the original size, it measures 45 inches by 52.6 inches (114cm x 133cm). It is printed at a scale of 1:4,500, where 1 inch equals 375 feet. Produced to the highest standards in mind, the edition is printed with stochastic screening on 100 lb Finch Fine paper. Stochastic screening is recognized for its superior representation of fine lines and tonal values, and is commonly used for printing high quality black and white photography. The process (in which printed dots are spread randomly throughout the image area instead of in a grid pattern) yields a warmer, less mechanical result perfect for a map of this vintage. A process black ink was used for the printed area and an antique tint lends the map an elegant look and feel.

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