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Art Nouveau Across Europe at the Fin-de-Siecle


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: two essays of 2500 words each (33.3% each) and one unseen three-hour examination (33.3%)

Module description

In this module we look at how art and design, associated with Symbolism, Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movements, were interpreted across Britain and Europe around 1900. Starting with the principles of the English Arts and Crafts movement and French Symbolism, we will examine the development and spread of new ideas about art and design as part of the search for a new style for a new age. This search for new solutions laid the foundations for the Modernisms of the twentieth century, as artists and designers grappled with the challenges of rapid social, political and technological change.

Through cases drawn from the fields of architecture, design and fine art, we will explore the complex impulses, anxieties and hopes for the future that shaped the arts around 1900.

Indicative syllabus

  • A new role for the arts in the nineteenth century
  • The arts and crafts movement
  • National revivals: seeking the roots of national culture
  • Symbolism and secession: new forms of expression in the fine arts
  • Art and life: the Artists' Colony and utopian communities
  • The home as a work of art: Art Nouveau villas and studios
  • New paths to artistic modernity: avant gardes
  • The World's Fairs, exhibitions and markets
  • The arts journals and new styles in graphic design
  • World War One and the strange death of Art Nouveau