Course Title:  01:082:396  Impressionism

Academic Credits:  3 credits

Mode of Instruction:  Lecture

Course Prerequisites:  None

Core Curriculum:  None

Course Description:

Subjects, style, and social significance of 19th-century French impressionism, including Manet, Monet, Degas, and themes of women, café society, urbanization, leisure.

This course explores the meanings and myths of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Artists discussed will include Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, Cassatt, Morisot, Cézanne, Sargent, Gauguin, van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Representative works will be considered in the context of their social, historical, and artistic conditions. Among the topics to be addressed are the contested concepts of modernism and primitivism, the politics of the female body, and the representation of Paris and its café society. Rather than an exhaustive survey, this class will consider a relatively small number of key works by each artist. The lectures will be supplemented by critical readings that approach the course material from diverse perspectives.

Learning Goals:

This course is intended to provide a focused study of key works associated with Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. By the end of the semester, students should be able to recognize the style and approach of each artist and analyze the meaning, historical circumstances, and visual characteristics of specific works. They also will improve their ability to speak and write about art and visual culture. In particular, they will develop the skills for writing a point-by-point compare and contrast.

Required and Recommended Course Materials:

The following 2 textbooks may be purchased at the Rutgers Book Store as well as online:
1) Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Nineteenth-Century European Art (the page numbers listed in the syllabus are from the 2003 edition; if you have another edition, you will have to determine the corresponding pages). ISBN: 9780205707997 (available new and used to buy and rent, ranging in price from approximately $163.20 to $76.70.) A copy will be available on reserve at the Art Library.
2) Mary Tompkins Lewis, ed., Critical Readings in Impressionism & Post Impressionism: An Anthology (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007). ISBN: 9780520250222 (available new and used, starting at $45.95). A copy will be available on reserve at the Art Library. All other readings will be available on-line at the Sakai site for the course or on reserve at the Art Library, Voorhees Hall. Questions about the readings will be included on each of the exams, so it is imperative that you keep up with the readings.



1) 1 in-class writing assignment to prepare you for the midterm exam
2) Visual Analysis Paper (a separate assignment sheet will be handed out in class; 4 pages, at least 1000 words, typed and double-spaced; you will be required to go to a museum to complete the paper)
3) Reading Response Paper (a separate assignment sheet will be handed out in class; 3 pages, at least 750 words, typed and double-spaced)
4) Midterm exam (the exam will include 3 short take-home questions and 3 pairs of images that you must compare/contrast using the material you have learned in class and from the readings)
5) Final exam (same format as the midterm exam except the take home questions are cumulative) Both the midterm and final are open note / open book exams that focus on core concepts rather than on memorizing artists’ names, titles, and dates.


Attendance will be taken each class. More than 3 absences (missing about 20% of the classes) may result in the student being asked to withdraw from the course. Much of the class material is not repeated elsewhere, and you are responsible for all concepts presented in class. If you are absent, you should get notes from one of your classmates so you know what was covered during class.


Grades will be calculated as follows: 15% attendance and class participation 5% in-class writing assignment 20% visual analysis paper 20% reading response paper 20% midterm exam 20% final exam


Isabel Taube  Syllabus TBD

Disclaimer:  These course descriptions/synopses pages have been provided as samples and the information should not be considered accurate or current.  For actual course information, refer to the course site hosted by a Rutgers Learning Management System (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) as of first day of class.