Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Impressionism: Innovation and Invention 1874-1926 HISTART5129

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The course explores the evolution of French Impressionism from 1874, the year of the movement's first group exhibition, to the death of Monet in 1926. It also considers aspects of the development and spread beyond France of Impressionist approaches at this period, and of work by close colleagues of the Impressionists such as James McNeill Whistler.


1 hour lecture per week x 10 weeks; 1 hour seminar each week for 6 weeks; 2 x 2 hrs visits to a museum/gallery/exhibition.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses



One x 4,000-word essay worth 80%; one x 10-min oral presentation worth 20%

Course Aims

This course aims to :

■ provide a fresh, stimulating and original approach to the distinctive features of Impressionism during its maturation and final phase (1874-1926), through first-hand engagement with examples in local collections, close attention to wider historical, social, cultural and scientific contexts, and application of thematic as well as chronological perspectives;

■ foster students' acquisition of in-depth knowledge and understanding of key works of mature/late Impressionism, and new artistic developments associated with this phase of the movement;

■ enable students to develop an advanced understanding of the period reception of Impressionism, and of modern theoretical and methodological approaches to the movement;

■ encourage students to become self-reflective, 'deep' learners by engaging with a range of current scholarly debates in the field of Impressionism, and applying insights from other disciplines to study of the iconography, styles, and techniques of mature/late Impressionism;

■ equip students with advanced skills of critical assessment, visual analysis, and theoretical interpretation, whether orally or in writing, of the subject-matter, style, aesthetics, and techniques of the leading exponents of mature/late Impressionism.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ evaluate critically the characteristic iconographies, styles and techniques of Impressionism 1874-1926, and their relationship to earlier artistic practices;

■ critically synthesise evidence, ideas and perspectives derived from in-depth engagement with primary and secondary sources to reach valid assessments of the contributions to Impressionism 1874-1926 of individual artists such as Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and Morisot;

■ critically apply relevant theories and interdisciplinary perspectives to assess the significance of mature Impressionist 'inventions' and 'innovations', such as 'serial' painting, the white frame, the 'artist's garden', and the group exhibition, and their relationship with wider cultural, scientific and intellectual developments c.1874-1926;

■ use clear, jargon-free English to communicate information and conclusions about Impressionism 1874-1926;

■ effectively deploy research and time-management skills to gather, interpret and organise a range of diverse evidence relating to Impressionism c. 1874-1926;

■ enhance personal knowledge, understanding and skills through self-directed learning and advanced problem-solving in the field of Impressionism 1874-1926.


Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.