After Impressionism: European Art From Van Gogh to Klimt

The details
Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
11 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module will explore diverse responses by individual artists working at the end of the nineteenth century to the legacy of Impressionism as the quintessential art of modern life.

The module will focus on the expressive inventions of van Gogh, the colonialist impulses of Gauguin, the colour theories of Seurat, and the analytical constructions of Cézanne. We will spend time studying the sculpture of Auguste Rodin, who redefined the modern body.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

  • To explore issues related to some of the main developments in European art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • To introduce students to works of this period (as far as possible, in the original) and to the comparative study of modernist phenomena.

  • To introduce students to specialised debates in past and recent literature around the interpretation of European art of this period.

  • To raise student awareness of different methods of approaching the discipline through analysis of chosen texts.

  • To stimulate students to develop skills in written communication through essay and oral communication, class presentations and debate in seminars.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to have:

  1. A good understanding of the material covered and know some of the key works of the period.

  2. A greater appreciation of works related to this subject and period.

  3. Some insight into the different methods of art-historical investigation that have been explored with reference to European art of this period.

  4. Some experience in textual analysis relevant to works and theoretical debates from this period.

  5. An ability to discuss European art of this period and demonstrate all these competences through seminar presentations, one coursework essay of 3000 words and an unseen examination.

  6. Worked together as a small team, developing communication and project management skills as well as the ability to meet deadlines for written work.

Skills for your Professional Life

By the end of the module, students should also have acquired a set of transferable skills, and in particular be able to:

  1. Define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant.

  2. Seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information.

  3. Process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments.

  4. Compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure.

  5. Write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications.

  6. Be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them.

  7. Think 'laterally' and creatively (i.e., to explore interesting connections and possibilities, and to present these clearly rather than as vague hunches).

  8. Maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position based on feedback.

  9. Think critically and constructively.

Module information

Out of this fragmented scene emerged the wild beasts of Fauvism, the `movement` that established Matisse. But this new phenomenon was superseded almost immediately by the even more radical tendency of Braque and Picasso's Cubism, arguably the defining creative moment of modernism.

We will end by looking at the Vienna Secession and the highly stylised and enigmatic paintings of Gustav Klimt, as well as the iconic works of Edvard Munch. We will attempt to discover what it really meant to be 'modern' in turn-of-the century Europe and how artists responded to the dramatic political, social and technological changes that we call modernization.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour combined lecture and seminar per week.

There will also be a Reading Week when no teaching will take place, exact week to be confirmed.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   2000 word essay     66.66% 
Coursework   Quizzes TOTAL    33.34% 
Exam  Main exam: Remote, Open Book, 24hr during January 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: Remote, Open Book, 24hr during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
60% 40%


Coursework Exam
60% 40%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Natasha Ruiz-Gomez, email:
Dr Natasha Ruiz-Gomez
PHAIS General Office - 6.130;



External examiner

Dr Dominic Paterson
University of Glasgow
Senior Lecturer in History of Art / Curator of Contemporary Art
Available via Moodle
Of 568 hours, 18 (3.2%) hours available to students:
550 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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