The Art of the Enlightenment

Ten Lectures Exploring European Art from 1750 – 1815

The first five lectures will describe how philosophers, scientists, artists and explorers sought to create a vision of a new and more rational society. The talks will address the work of the encyclopaedists and founders of the new artistic academies. They will trace the influence of the Grand Tour on the ideas of the picturesque and sublime. They will also examine how enlightened rulers and industrialists responded to these changes.

Five more talks will explore how enlightenment ideals were threatened by the upheaval of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. They will examine the response of Blake, Goya and other artists and will explain how  resistance to Napoleon sparked nationalist movements and romantic aesthetics in Germany and Italy.

The talks will address the enlightenement in the following areas: France; Britain and America; Austria, Germany and Italy; Russia and Scandinavia; Spain, Portugal and the New World. Individual talks can be arranged with reference to each of the five areas before and after 1789. The talks have been designed for groups intending to visit these areas but can be reframed to address the work of individual artists by request.