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SC2029 Modern Art: Culture, Society & Lifestyle in 19-20th Century Europe (morning)

Ended 18 Mar 2021

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Full course description

Course Overview

This course explores Europe in the modernist age and considers the reflection of society in the art that was produced. Two world wars, the industrial revolution, the development of the railways, and the opening of Japan to the West, are just some of the historical moments in time that serve as a backdrop to this era. We will consider how society navigated through politics, economics and culture and produced some of the most influential artists the world has ever seen. Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet now have their work printed on everything from umbrellas to coasters but why is their work so popular? How can we read their artwork to interpret their social commentary? Who were the artists that influenced them? We will examine these questions and more as we navigate through the cultures and societies in different parts of Europe that influenced the age of modern art.


This course delves into the artworks of the modern era from mid-19th century to the early 20th century. We will explore the art works as visual representations and commentaries on the society that produced them as well as considering the life of the artist and the art piece itself. By following a chronological format, we will get a sense of historic development as well as the influence artists had on each other. Each week will cover a different aspect of modern art and will highlight the strong links between each of these developments. We will be evaluating these art works as 21st century viewers so we will consider the differences between us and the viewers of the time and the impact digitisation has on the appreciation of art.


Course Schedule 


Classes will be delivered online on Thursdays 10.30am-12.30pm for eight weeks from 28 January to 18 March.


Week 1: Realism and the academy: The forerunner to modernity

Week 2: Victorian Art and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

Week 3: Edouard Manet and the Impressionists

Week 4: Post-Impressionism and Paul Cézanne

Week 5: The art of shape: Cubism

Week 6: The art of colour: Fauvism

Week 7: Expressionism and New Objectivity

Week 8: Abstract Art

Course Lecturers

Aoife Hegarty graduated in History of Art from University College Cork (UCC) in 2011 when she went onto study a Masters in Public History in Royal Holloway, University of London. Here, she specialised in public engagement with art and museums. Currently, she is undertaking her PhD in Digital Arts and Humanities at UCC researching museum education, accessibility and outreach. She works in a contemporary Art Gallery as an art mediator.

Ellen Byrne received her degree in Fine Art from the Crawford College of Art and Design in 2013. After gaining experience working in an art museum for two years, she completed her Masters in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism from UCC in 2017. She also lectures on the A.C.E diploma for European Art History.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Closing Date for Application

Monday 18 January

Contact Details for Further Information

Regina Sexton, Phone: 021-4904700, Email: