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ARTH 43 — Art in Context: 19th-Century American Painting

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Saturdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 3 weeks
Date(s): Apr 6—Apr 20
Time: 1:00—3:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 12
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $250
Instructor(s): Patience Young
1:00—3:00 pm
Apr 6—Apr 20
3 weeks
Drop By
Apr 12
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Patience Young
Art museum visits may be daunting. Each painting is but one example from an artist’s career. What makes a painting so special? Consider a modest painting by James McNeill Whistler: Why give it attention? How can we add meaning and value to the experience of looking?

This course will focus on selected paintings in the Cantor Arts Center collection to illuminate major themes in 19th-century American art; to provide artistic, historic, and social context for each of these paintings; and ultimately to give students a deeper ability to read and appreciate a work of art. Some of the paintings are on view in the current exhibition “Painting Nature in the American Gilded Age” (through August 25, 2019).

Benjamin West reflected the grand tradition of English historic painting. Portraits captured changing fashions and, in the work of Thomas Eakins, went beyond what was fashionable. Landscape painting progressed from the eastern Hudson River School of Asher B. Durand to the California glories of William Keith. Other artists of the period depicted everyday objects with clarity and precision in still-life painting. Whistler brought fresh challenges to what painting is and what it means.

These illustrated lectures will be held near but not in the museum’s galleries. The Cantor Arts Center will be open and freely available before and after class each week.

Patience Young, Director of Academic Engagement (Retired), Cantor Arts Center, Stanford

Patience Young joined the Cantor Arts Center’s staff in 1995 as its first curator for education. She was part of the team that revived the museum following the 1989 earthquake and established its new identity as the Cantor Arts Center. She received an MA from George Washington University.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.