Battlegrounds: Eighteenth-century British Art and its Interpretation
Monday 14 – Wednesday 16 September 2020
Dr Kate Grandjouan
This intensive, intermediate course has been designed for those with an interest in the interpretation of British eighteenth–century art and is suitable for those over the age of 18 who are broadly familiar with the main events and personalities of the period. The number of participants is limited to 16.
Morning lectures will be followed by afternoon visits to the British Museum’s printroom, to Tate Britain and the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.
This course plunges into what has become one of the most fought–over fields of art history: the interpretation of eighteenth–century British art. The sudden eruption of radical new approaches in the 1980s brought a new generation of scholars into view who challenged the status of established voices. At stake was the idea that art was the agent of social and political histories and could give powerful expression to ideological beliefs. The trail–blazers sent shock waves through the establishment, stimulating strident responses from art historians, too. Feminists claimed that the Marxists were shutting the door on women while scholars across the Atlantic attacked parochialism. With accusations of ‘spectacular act[s] of erasure’ their aim was to put Empire at the centre of radical new interpretations. Structured around the ‘Politics of Class’, ‘The Global Turn’ and ‘The Digital Eighteenth Century’ this course will introduce you to some of major questions of art–historical analysis and take you to the heart of how art historians work: as sleuths and detectives armed with magnifying glasses, as radicals bearing firebrands, as scholars raiding other disciplines, as generals and foot–soldiers thriving on conflict, pushing out boundaries, usurping territories, contesting methodologies and fighting over legacies.
Dr Kate Grandjouan lectures in early-modern art at The Courtauld and at Northeastern University at the New College of Humanities in London. She completed her doctoral studies at The Courtauld. Her research interests mainly focus on British art in the long eighteenth century. She has received fellowships from the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art in London and from the Lewis Walpole Library (Yale University) in Connecticut. Her publications in French and English include articles on William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson and Henry Bunbury. She is currently completing a book entitled Hogarth’s French.