Artistic Controversy and Change in France and England in the Mid-19th Century

501 TUTOR: David Evans (MA)

In the mid-19th century in both France and England there emerged artists who challenged the artistic establishment. We will study the work of realists such as Courbet and Manet who took painting in new directions and we will examine the controversial paintings of Monet, Renoir and their friends, who were labelled Impressionists. Meanwhile, in England the Pre-Raphaelites, such as Millais and Holman Hunt aroused controversy and artists such as Holl, Herkomer and Frith tackled contemporary social themes. We shall compare their work with that of their French contemporaries.

1 AM
AM course

Course Notes

1.Realist painting in France: Courbet and Millet.

Academic art in France and its connection with politics.

The theme of work in the art of Courbet and Millet.

Courbet's war on the establishment.

The landscapes of Millet and Courbet.


2.The English Pre-Raphaelites.

The foundation of the Brotherhood.

Outrage caused by the Brotherhood.

The Pre-Raphaelites became accepted:


Figurative works.


3.Inventing modern painting: Edouard Manet.

Early works.

The controversial works of the 1860s.

History painting.

New directions in the 1860s.

Manet and his contemporaries.

Manet in the era of early impressionism.


4.The rise of Impressionism.

The making of Claude Monet.

La Grenouillere.

Beside the sea and abroad.

Argenteuil and the first Impressionist exhibition.

Impressionism at its height.

5.Social comment in Victorian art.

Holman Hunt's 'Awakening conscience'.

Augustus Egg's Past and Present triptych.

The theme of work: Henry Wallis, John Brett; Ford Madox Brown.

Cruikshank and the problem of alcohol.

The art of Holl, Herkomer, Fildes and Frith.


The best preparation for the course is visits to appropriate galleries: the Musee d'Orsay and the National Gallery for French painting; Tate Britain in London and Birmingham City Gallery for English painting.

Useful books are: J Rosenfeld The Pre-Raphaelites and H. Keller The Great Book of French Impressionism.


Course Tutor

David Evans


About David

David Evans was brought up in Birmingham and attended King Edward's School in the city. He studied History at Cambridge and proceeded to teach the subject at Eton College for 41 years. Finding the history of art of absorbing interest, he introduced its study at 'A' Level to Eton. Since 2007 he has taught historical and art historical topics at Marlborough College Summer School.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM