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Jacques-Louis David painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps
Jacques-Louis David painting title The Death of Marat
Jacques-Louis David painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps
Jacques-Louis David painting title The Death of Marat


Four-Week Course

Dates: Four Thursdays, Oct. 2–23
(Possible museum visit to the Wilkinson Center for Prints and Drawings at the Blanton Museum of Art, Oct. 16)
Time: 6:30–8 p.m.
Location: See Course Locations and Parking page
Course Fee: $110 (discounted to $88 for select groups)

Cheryl K. Snay, Ph.D., Blanton Museum of Art, UT Austin

The dynamism of nineteenth-century French art with its proliferation of artistic styles and new inventions can be explained in part by the instability of the political environment surrounding its production. Starting with the French Revolution in 1789 (David, Gros, Gérard, Ingres) and concluding with the Dreyfus Affair and the anarchism that exploded in the 1890s (Pissarro, Seurat, Forain, Steinlen), this course surveys familiar artists and movements of the long nineteenth century with an eye toward placing them in their political contexts. Participants in this class will go away with a deeper understanding of the function of art in a nascent democracy and the legacy of that art in the twentieth century. Topics to be covered include the role of the Academy in the government; the artist as politician; David; opposition art—fine and popular—by Daumier, Courbet, and Manet; and the ideological underpinnings of the Barbizon School and its progeny, including the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and the Symbolists.

Cheryl Snay is Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin. She earned her Ph.D. in art history from Penn State University, focusing on government-sponsored art in late nineteenth century Paris, and then was awarded a Carol Bates Fellowship at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. She worked to catalogue the collections of nineteenth-century French drawings at the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art before coming to the Blanton in 2004. Since arriving at the Blanton, she has organized several exhibitions, most recently A Century of Grace: 19th-Century Masterworks from the Dahesh Museum of Art in New York. Her research has been published in exhibition catalogues and scholarly journals, including The Burlington Magazine, Master Drawings, and Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. She is a contributor to an anthology on the political economy of art, edited by Julie Codell of Arizona State University, to be published by Associated University Presses in fall 2008.

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