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Art History Course


1. Napoleon and Empire: Classicism, Romanticism and Orientalism


The nineteenth century was a period of enormous upheaval: political, social, technological. It is, therefore, no surprise that avant-garde art at the end of the century looked very different from art being made in the early 1800s.

The French Revolution and Napoleonic wars would see the end of the Ancien RĂ©gime. Neo-Classicism replaced Rococo as the academic style. Napoleon brought many famous pieces of Classical art back to France as spoils of war.

Napoleon was also keen to use the power of art as propaganda. He took artists on his military campaigns. Some artists turned to a Romantic style to capture dramatic scenes. Others were inspired by the exotic Oriental locations.

The effect of the Napoleonic wars can be seen in Goya's paintings in Spain. In England satirical prints poked fun at 'the little corporal'.

Join me to explore the art of this fascinating - and turbulent - era.