Art and Society in Victorian England (ARHT2617)


This unit of study will examine the diverse responses of nineteenth-century British artists to the profound social changes associated with the rise of industrial capitalism and the development of the modern city. The focus for this course is on the distinctive ways modern urban life was represented by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Victorian narrative painters. We will also examine the work of artists and craftspeople who sought to express alternatives to the urban experience through medieval revivalism and Orientalism. Topics to be investigated include the relationship between revivalism and realism; masculinity and modernity; varieties of photographic and painterly realism; gender and Orientalism; Aestheticism and the grotesque; religion, race and empire. We will make use of the rich collection of paintings from this period in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

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Further unit of study information


1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week


1x4000-4500wd essay and visual tests (100%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

ARHT1001 and ARHT1002



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Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

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