Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Neo-Classicism and Romanticism

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Art and Art History

DESCRIPTION This is a two-pronged study-unit that provides an in depth discussion of two closely related movements that were of seminal importance to new developments in History of Art. Neo-Classicism is considered against the background of the Age of Enlightenment which tried to reform Society through the use of reason and opposition to superstition. It was an essentially intellectual art that rebelled against the theatricality of Baroque and the frivolity of Rococo.

In France it was closely allied with the politico-social run-up to the Revolution and became its artistic propagandist arm. Greek and Roman art were its chief source of inspiration. Romanticism, on the other hand, validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience and sublimated nature especially in its untamed state. It revolted against the social and political norms of Neo-Classicism and its rationalisation of Nature. Its effects on politics were nonetheless considerable and complex.


The study-unit is based on the Artistic Manifestations of the Enlightenment and the Impact on Art of the French Revolution and the Artistic reactions that it engendered. The Study-unit will give the student the necessary competence to give a greater meaning to hi Art Historical Knowledge & Understanding of the late and early 19th Century.

Knowledge & Understanding:

• The study-unit is based on the artistic manifestations of the enlightenment and the impact on art of the French Revolution and the artistic reactions that it engendered;
• By the end of the study unit the student will be able to achieve an understanding of how the sociopolitical and economic realities of the Age of Enlightenment, conditioned the development and consolidation of a new aesthetic, which looked to ancient Greece and Rome for its inspiration. An important learning outcome is to show how art is very much the outcome of political realities which it can help to propagate.


• The principal skill that the student will acquire by following the course is an ability to understand how historical movements and economic and social situations manifest themselves in art. The particular focal point is the Age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution;
• The study-unit will give the student the necessary competence to give a greater meaning to his art historical knowledge & understanding of the late 18th and early 19th century.

Reading List:

H. Honour, Neo-Classicism, Pelican, new edition, 1991
R. Toman and M. Bessler, Neo-Classicism and Romanticism, Konemann, 2007
D. Blaynay Brown, Romanticism, Phaidon, 2001


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Take Home Examination (24 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Mario Buhagiar

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.