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Term and Course Number:

Spring 2018 – Course Number 116


Jacques Louis David, Neoclassicism and the Revolutionary Origins of the Modern Art World


Bob McVaugh, Professor of Art and Art History, Colgate University


The last two decades of the 18th Century - the revolutionary decades in which the modern West was born - witnessed the development of the Neoclassical style in French and European visual arts. It was a style that advanced intellectual and moral energy as a critique of the sensual indulgences of the aristocratic rococo style. It was also a style that engaged the public directly through new expanding exhibition structures and the accompanying growth of art criticism.

In four classes we will acquaint ourselves with Neoclassicism as a complement to the Enlightenment tendencies that drove the Age of Revolution. Our inquiry will be organized around the careers of towering figures such as Joshua Reynolds, Angelica Kaufmann, Antonio Canova, John Flaxman, and - above all - the dominant French artist Jacques Louis David. In the end we will see that many of the cultural institutions and expectations we associate broadly with all of modern art were formed amidst the decades that surround the French Revolution.


Thursday, April 5
Monday, April 9
Thursday, April 12
Monday, April 16


4:15 pm to 5:15 pm  (Note: This is a time change from previous courses.)


Hamilton Public Library

Special Notes or Instructions

Note: This is the third of three courses connected to the French Revolution.

Registration Fee


Registration Procedure (Advance registration required.)

The first class meeting is Thursday, April 5, 2018. Registration begins one month before the start of the course and ends one week before the first class session (register between 3/5/2018 and 3/29/2018. Late registrations may be accepted between March 29 and the first class session as space permits.

To pre-register, send a check (payable to: Education Unlimited) for the registration fee to:

Margaret Miller
77 West Kendrick Ave.
Hamilton, NY 13346

Indicate the course title and number in the memo line. Checks should be received no less than one week prior to the start of the class. (Please include a note with your name and phone number if it is not printed on your check.)