peasant.jpgPeasant Dance
La Grande Jatte

1990 Two paintings, Peasant Dance by P. Brueghel, and Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George Seurat. Analyze what the differences in leisure activities shown in the two paintings reflect about the social life of peasants in the sixteenth century and of urban dwellers in the nineteenth century.

thesis_funnel.pngDrastically diverse, the leisure activities and social life of the peasants during the Renaissance and the nineteenth century urban dwellers in Europe were depicted extremely differently. The leisurely Renaissance activities separated the social status of peasants from the nobles for the interests and hobbies were disapproved by the higher classes. The period of Impressionism in France attracted many urban dwellers who were contrastingly of wealth and portrayed etiquette and a pleasant society.
I. Leisurely Renaissance activities separated the social status of peasants for the quality and content was disapproved by the higher classes

  • A. Leisure Activities of the Peasants
    • Games were held in town squares (i.e. cockfights)
    • Listening to music played by other peasants was extremely popular as well
    • Drinking in taverns was well liked and many peasants took part in this activity
    • Many peasants acted in plays in the theater
      • Often sat down toward the bottom on the stage and acted very dirty, slum-like and savaged
    • Activities very diverse from those of the middle class who acted more proper with more etiquette

  • B. Peasant Social Life
    • Peasants were at the bottom of the social ladder and were somewhat a small community
    • Separated from areas of wealth and did not contact the higher classes often
    • Peasants worked the land and often farmed for themselves and the higher classes

  • C. Contrasting Middle and Noble Class Life
    • Wealthy were more contained and private than the peasants
    • Were more proper
    • Lived in different sanitary conditions
    • Enjoyed attending balls and grand parties

  • D. Evidence from Peasant Dance
    • Peasants are shown enjoying life and not having any worries
    • They all get along and enjoy everyday activities
    • Displays that peasants enjoyed music, dancing, games and drinking in taverns
    • Shows crowded conditions in the villages where peasants dwelled

II. Urban Dwellers display a class of etiquette and contrasts behavior of peasants in the Renaissance
  • A. Impressionism was used to emphasize light and life
    • Evidence from La Grande Jatte shows the color and mood of the time period is more relaxed and serene
    • Impressionism was also used to portray realistic situations with vibrant color and light

  • B. Urban Life
    • Cities consisted of higher classes and wealthy landowning peasants
    • Different activities and recreational activities were prevalent
    • Communities appreciated nature more and paid attention to the world around them
    • Different classes of people often mingled and were in strong contact with each other
    • Serenity and peace was established between the separate classes in the cities

  • C. Evidence from La Grande Jatte
    • More privacy was abundant in public areas
    • A natural way of life and environment shows calmness
    • No controversy is evident and everyone seems to be getting along
    • Light used hints a positive society

Jared Siegel

1996 Compare and contrast the patronage of the arts by Italian Renaissance rulers with that of dictators of the 1930’s.thesis_funnel.png

Art was supported by rulers from both the time period of the Renaissance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as well as the 1930’s by various dictators. Italian Renaissance rulers focused on individualistic purposes for their support of art including their own private collections. Dictators of the 1930’s used art to reach out to the masses and gain much needed public support for themselves, and public hatred toward their enemies by the use of art propoganda. However, despite the different uses for art, these rulers allowed art during their eras to progress and flourish.

Italian Renaissance’s Patronage of the Arts

  • Many rulers supported artists for their work in religious related art.

  • Portraits were also done mainly in Northern Italian Renaissance art.

  • Portraits often were done of the man in the family, however the entire family was sometimes painted or the head of the household’s spouse.

  • With education, men and women began to appreciate the secular world and secular learning which led them to investments in the art, which they admired.

  • The Medici family in Italy was one of the main rulers that involved themselves with the patronage of the arts.

  • During the spread of the Black Plague, rulers also supported art since it depicted the horrors of the time period.

  • Overall, mainly involved spiritual themes for the salvation of the supporters while it showed their support for the church by investments in portrayals of Jesus and other leaders.

  • Medici directly financed famous painters such as Leonardo da Vinci and allowed them to reach their full potential by paying for their works of art.

  • The pope played a large role in the patronage of the arts and invested in works displaying important figures such as Jesus and his disciples.

  • Art was not used to gain support of any kind politically.

  • Paintings were also used for private collections of the nobility whose funding allowed the painters to be able to paint or sculpt as a profession.

  • The artwork was mainly used for individual purposes and not for the majority of the population to see.

1930’s Dictator’s Patronage of the Arts

  • Hitler used art to show what Europe would become showing perfect German soldiers.

  • Hitler also used artwork of landscapes to show Lebensraum, or the potential German living space after the war was over and won for the Germans.

  • Artwork ranging from Aryan military men to paintings of naked women all attracted the attention of the masses.

  • Stalin used artwork to ridicule his opponents during his fight for communism in Russia at the time.

  • Artwork of the 1930’s was mainly used to be presented to mass populations in order to be used to gain support for their parties of themselves.

  • Used to spread hateful ideas and prejudices against certain ethnic groups or religious groups such as the Jews.

  • In newspapers, caricatures were used to pass ideas of leaders or groups across the masses.

  • Art was also used to show the great leadership of a ruler and to gain as much support as possible whether it be a fascist leader or a communist leader.

  • Portraits of the leaders were done to improve their public image.

  • The main themes of the art was more secular and was not very spiritual.

Sam Goldberg -forgot to put my name


1997 Discuss some of the ways in which Romantic artists, musicians, and writers responded to political and socioeconomic conditions in the period from 1800 to 1850. Document your response with specific examples from discussions of at least two of the three disciplines: visual arts, music and literature.

thesis_funnel.pngFrom 1800 to 1850, the Romantic movement was universal insofar as it was prevelant in all forms of art, music, and literature. Since romanticism was intertwined with high emotion and value of nature, the romantics were able to vividly portray the political and socioeconomic conditions present in the environment around them in their works. The ideals of liberalism were shown in the works of many of the romantic writers, who also showed a critique of their modern society. Also, these large amounts of emotion, which were created by intense and widespreaad nationalism in Europe, can be easliy seen through romatic art and music.
I. Ideals of Liberalism Shown in the Works of Many Romantic Writers, as well as Criticism of Society
· Principal ideas of liberalism are liberty, equality, freedom, etc.
· Liberalism was becoming increasingly intensified after 1815, which marked the end of Napoleon’s dictatorial rule, allowing these ideas to flow
· Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, wrote famous Gotz von Berlichingen
· Play about a sixteenth-century who revolted against centralized authority and championed individual freedom
· These can be viewed as very nationalistic tendencies
· Walter Scott, born in Scotland, extremely influenced by Goethe’s work, therefore must have held these nationalistic views in his works as well
· Victor Hugo, famous works include the Hunchback of Notre Dame
· Hugo exemplified romantic fascination with human emotions, equated freedom and liberty in literature with freedom and liberty in politics and society
· George Sand, wrote novel Leila, delved deeply into tortuous quest for freedom
· Lord Byron, rejected old traditions and championed cause of personal liberty in works such as Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
· William Blake, the better on got to know the world, the more the life of the imagination and its spiritual values began to recede
· Saw this problem as evidence of the materialism and injustice of English society (criticized society)
· Friedrich Schlegel also criticized society in novel Lucinde, attacked contemporary prejudices against women as capable of being little more than lovers and domestics
II. Intense and Widespread Nationalism in Europe Produces Vast Amounts of Emotion that Can be Easily Seen Through Romantic Art and Music
· Nationalism was based on cultural unity under a common language, history, and territory
· Nationalism was particularly strong between 1800-1850, what with the Napoleonic era in France, and the drive for independence in places such as Greece and Ireland
· Eugene Delacroix, master of dramatic and colorful scenes that stirred emotions
· Passionate spokesman for freedom, masterpiece Liberty Leading the People, celebrated nationalistic nobility of popular revolution in general, and that of France in particular
· Joseph M. W. Turner painted nature’s power and terror, in reference to nationalism this means he may have wanted a more violent and quicker approach in other countries, because he was English
· John Constable also painted nature, but painted it gently, suggesting he wanted a more passive approach to nationalism
· Musicians gave symphonies a new wide range of forms that created powerful emotions, plumbed depths of human feelings
· Franz Liszt, one of the most famous pianists of his time, became a cultural hero
· Ludwig von Beethoven, used contrasting themes and tones to produce dramatic conflict and inspiring resolutions, much like nationalism
Scott Dunaisky

2002 Describe and analyze the differences in the ways in which artists and writers portrayed the individual during the Italian Renaissance and the Romantic era of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

thesis_funnel.pngDuring the course of European history, there were many movements which revolutionized societal norms and expectations, artistic values, and works of literature. Two major movements include the Age of Romanticism, and the Italian Renaissance. The Italian Renaissance portrayal of the individual was very different than that of the Romantic portrayal of the individual.
I. Italian Renaissance Portrayal of the Individual
  • The Italian Renaissance saw several movements in art, literature, and intellectualism. Glorification of humans and the individual were shown in these movements and more as well.
  • Humanism, in particular captured this very spirit. Humanism was an Italian Renaissance movement in which people turned to secular values instead of Christian ones, and put emphasis on the power of the individual and the worth and dignity of humankind.
  • Humanists believed in studying to better oneself. They advocated the study of Latin and Greek classics and of the ancient church fathers in a hope to bring back the ancient norms and values to modern society.
  • Humanists were also advocates of "studia humanitatis," which was a liberal arts program that put emphasis on the study of grammar, rhetoric, poetry history, and politics.
  • Francesco Petrarch is considered the "father of humanism." Many of his works put emphasis on the ancient Romans such as his Letters to the Ancient Dead, Africa, and Lives of Illustrious Men.
  • Other Humanist goals included the bettering of the individual (oneself). For example, they wanted to speak eloquently, be able to identify what is "good," and to practice virtue. (Civic Humanism)
  • Renaissance art played a great role in humanism as well. Medieval art was abstract, formulaic, and was Church dominated. Humanity and nature were the interests of Renaissance artists. The communication of human emotions was a new key element in Renaissance art.
  • These changes in art and literature came about as a result of men and women glorifying a secular world, secular learning, and the rise of national sentiment by competent state bureaucracies staffed by the laity, and not clerics.
  • One work of art in particular embodied the spirit of the Renaissance. The School of Athens by Raphael shows a gathering of scholars in an ancient Greek setting in which Plato and Aristotle sit in the center.

II. Romantic Portrayal of the Individual
  • Artists and writers of the Romantic Era emerged during the period of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. In the Romantic Era, emphasis was put on nature, dreams, folklore, folk songs, fairy tales, hallucinations, sleepwalking, and medieval literature, art, and especially architecture.
  • The Romantic Movement, in effect, was a resistance movement against the narrow minded, scientific rationale of the Enlightenment.
  • As in the Italian Renaissance, the romantics too, were very individualistic, and they believed the full development of one's unique human potential to be the supreme purpose in life
  • Romanticism, however, was a revolt against the scientific rationalization of nature. They were, more than anything else, infatuated with the power and awesomeness of nature.
  • As a result, Romantic Art went a long way from embodying the spirit of the Enlightenment and intellectualism. Instead, Romantic art was centered on mysticism, dream, and the supernatural.
  • In Romantic art, the individual is often portrayed as an insignificant being, compared to the might of the natural and the supernatural. Although they are portrayed to be very small, Romantic art still is very individualistic. The individuals portrayed in Romantic art are portrayed to be very inquiring, deep in thought, or maybe even possessed by their environment.
  • Just like in Italian Renaissance art, there is emphasis on the individual, and the emotions of the individual are communicated well. However, As supposed to Italian Renaissance art, where scholarly attitudes, secular values, and supreme glorification of the individual were emphasized, Romantic art went against this very rationale and put emphasis on religion, natural and supernatural phenomena, and portrayal of the individual as an insignificant being in the greater scheme of things

Brian Kim

2003 Compare and contrast the relationship between artists and society in the Baroque era and in the twentieth century. Illustrate your essay with references to at least TWO examples from each period.

Throughout history, art has been used to express the values society imposes upon its' people. Thus, art will take different shape, form and theme throughout various periods in history. The effect of religion upon the art and its' painter will profoundly differ depending upon the age, such as the profound influence of Christianity upon Baroque and the lack of religion within 20th century art. Another significant variation between ages in art is the way in which they interpret society, for the Baroque period glorified society's actions while Modern Art condemned them. Finally, Baroque and Modern Art converge in the fact that both were available to a majority of the public.

Effect of Religion on the Art and Painter
- The Baroque period was initiated by the Catholic Church in an attempt to re-convert previous members of the Catholic Church during the Counter-Revolution in the 1700s
- The art was focused around the theme of grandiose and beautiful works exemplifying the beauty of the Catholic Church
- This new period in art attracted a great amount of old and new members to the Catholic Church, renewing the popularity of the Catholic Church.
- Nativity by Josefa de Obidos is a famous example of the profound use of religion through the Baroque period
- Modern Art is distinct from the various other art periods due to its starking absence of religious themes.
- However, this effect is not so strange due to the lack of religion within today's modern society.
- In fact, it can be said that today's society devalues religious as a major factor in people's lives and is thus reflected within the art.
- Also, religion has been noted as hostile towards Modem Art and its' effect on the people, therefore there is little reason for Modern Art painters to reflect religious themes in their work.
- A painting that reflects this is Van Gogh's "Starry Night".
Interpretations of Society
- Pablo Picasso's Guernica criticized the mass destruction reaped by the German blitzkrieg during the Spanish Civil War
- Modern Art was created to exemplifies the true acts of society, whether it be just or corrupt
- Modern Art was originally created to immerse the public in political and social debates
-Thus, all topics were meant to be controversial as opposed to the glorification of society
- This is also evident within Jackson Pollock’s many works.
- Baroque style was the reciprocal, its' main ideal being to enlighten and praise society.
- The Catholic Church employed it to attract citizens and exemplify the better aspect of the Catholic Church
- However, Baroque didn't focus solely on religion, it also exemplified grandiose towns and people, awakening a sense of pride within the people for their society
- This is exemplified in Samson and Delilah by Anthony Van Dyck
Availability of Art to the Public
- Throughout the early era of art, only the rich were afforded the oppurtunity to appreciate art.
- However, when the Catholic Church created the Baroque style, they opened it up to the public so as to influence a greater majority of the people.
- This began the popularization and greater recognition of art everywhere.
- However, Baroque painters were still distinctly the rich, for only they could afford the tools and the time necessary to create art.
- When Modern Art was created, all were able to access it, for no longer did it represent elegance but rather opinions of the individuals.
- This created a much greater fan base and popularization of art around the world
- Also; this allowed almost all of the public to view art, for no longer were art prices so high as to exclude some of the population.
-This is represented through the work of Salvador Dali, who began as a poor man but was able to amass riches through the arts.
Daniel Friedman


2004 Contrast the ways in which the paintings shown express the artistic and intellectual concerns of the eras in which the works were created.


During the late 14th century into the beginning of the 16th century the Renaissance peaked in Europe; during this great revival of Greco-Roman culture and the exiting of what was known as the Dark Ages due to the lack of culture that now was being experienced in art like the School of Athens above, by Raphael, but through the literature and intellectual movement of the time known as Humanism.

Matthew Williamson
Fast forward in history, to just after World War One. This Age of Anxiety birthed a major shift in the traditional boundaries and conceptions of art. Art came to be symbolistic and abstract as artists yearned to comprehend the tragedy and destruction that was passing or had just passed before their eyes. This is reflected above in Picasso's masterpiece Les Demoiselles D'Avignon. As such, movements including cubism, dadaism, and surrealism arose.
Arielle Koppell


Renaissance Art

  • Art fully matured in the High Renaissance period of the late 15th century and early 16th century
  • Differing from the Medieval art, Renaissance art become more about communicating human emotion and observation of the natural and secular world
  • Gave art new order, making things proportional and symmetrical to make it more real
  • New types of art work due to technological improvements that occurred in the 15th century like the invention of oil paints
  • Also two old techniques had finally been perfected that of “chiaroscuro” and linear perspective:
    • Chiaroscuro- using shading to enhance and perfect that naturalness of the art showing multiple shades and hues of colors as well as making art more life like
    • Linear Perspective- usually just referred to as perspective, adjusting the size of figures to give a feeling of continuity
  • These styles both helped to rationalize art work of the day with better space and paint to follow what things really seem like
  • Seemed much more 3 dimensional as well as having more energy and color that would stand out more than gothic or medieval art
  • True artistic ability of the High Renaissance reached its height with Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo:
    • Da Vinci studied many different things, not just that of art but through his studies of man and the anatomy he was able to bring it back to his art through muscle structure, showed in the Vitruvian Man, and facial features, distinctly profound in the Mona Lisa
    • Raphael died a premature death at 37 with a career shortened but in this time he was still able to show his sensitivity in his art work with human emotion but also make one of the greatest art pieces of his time, the School of Athens, where he shows off the old Greek philosophers of his time in this realm with Aristotle and Plato in it
    • Michelangelo being one of the greatest artists of his time worked under commission of 4 different popes, creating the Sistine Chapel, the great sculpture of David, as well as perfectly exemplifying the arts of the Renaissance in perfectly showing off harmony, symmetry, proportions, shading, perspective, and as well as the idea of the Greco Roman artists glorifying the human body (usually always male body)
    • Michelangelo also made an art style known as Mannerism, or which followed the art work of the High Renaissance but allowed the artists to put there own spin on the work
  • Humanism can be looked upon in many ways but can be best explained as the championing of secularism and individualism as well as the educational program concentrated on scholarship and rhetoric
  • But in all Humanism is best known as and most simply put, an intellectual movement in the idea to study Latin and Greek classics as well as church pieces in a hope to leave the stagnant dark ages and hope for return to the ancient norms and progression of the past
  • Studia Humanitaits- a liberal program advocated by the humanist to increase education, mainly in grammar, poetry, history, politics, and philosophy
  • Humanists were first orators and poets who wrote books in vernacular, nations language or romantic languages after Latin, but also could be in he fields of a secretary, speech writer, and a diplomat
  • Petrarch- “”Father of Humanism”, used elitism and textual studies to show classics and church can co-exist
    • Wrote many love letters to a women named Laura as his most well known literature but was much more secular than many other writers
  • Dante- Most famous for writing the Divine Comedy, sonnets that show him traveling through the after world going through the rings of hell all the way to the heavens
  • Boccaccio-Wrote Decameron, 100 short tales about a group of men and women running away from the plague
  • Pietro Paolo Vergerio- wrote On the Morals That Befit a Free Man which was a tract for education
  • Castiglione- Wrote the Book of Courtier or novel or a novel to show how to be a perfect Renaissance man through showing off your character in athletics, military, musical skills as well as in your manners and in good character
  • Christine de Pisan- wrote city of ladies which was basically a pre-mature version of a feminist who chronicled all the great female accomplishments
  • Lorenzo Valla- wrote Donation of Constantine which proved the that the church’s teachings of the bible and the written work on him were done in different centuries by the way they wrote but not fully used until the protestants use this idea to show corruption and impurity in the church teachings
  • But the Renaissance also expanded into the North with those like Erasmus or Thomas More which followed a slightly more religious standpoint instead of the secular point of the Italians
    • Erasmus-“Prince of Humanists”, loved his religion but wanted slight reform from its practices which he wrote in many of his Adages or 5000 of his different works which he popularized many different quotes like “to leave no stone unturned”
    • Thomas More- Good friend of Erasmus who wrote Utopia, which showed off a perfect world and society who showed all society’s goods and property in common and all gained by proportion on how you worked
Matthew Williamson
III: New Movements of Art
-There were many influences that affected art post-world war one including: 1) the confusion about the war's terrible destruction 2) depression at the suffering and stagnating economy 3) Freudian influences on art and literature
-The mass destruction of the war caused many Europeans to doubt ideals of progress established pre-war, as they spawned such devastation, leading to a lack of confidence and identity crisis in Europe. Moreover, a further manifestation of this theme of uncertainty was present in exploring the unconscious. Though previously, little had been thought of the search for it, it became popular in this period (the 1920s).
-Furthermore, deepening problems of the depression provided people little faith in governments and with little idea of where to turn to, the search for the unconscious, of the answers within, grew more popular.
-This period was very influential and amazing, various works of art emerged from this shift.
A. Dadaism
-Dadaism peaked from 1916 to 1922 and concentrated on anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art and anti-art cultural work. Dada is considered the groundwork to abstract art a prelude to postmodernism, and the foundation of surrealism.
-For many participants, the movement was a protest against the bourgeois values, nationalist, and colonialist interests which Dadaists believed were the root cause of the war. It was against the cultural and intellectual conformity displayed through art and society that corresponded to the war.
-Many Dadaists rejected the reason and excessive logic of bourgeois capitalist society to embrace chaos and irrationality. It was called "anti-art" as it ignored traditional aesthetics and intended to offend viewers through destruction of a traditional culture.
-Some inventions of Dadaism included the collage (aspects of life portrayed rather than represented objects viewed as still-life), the photomontage (developed by George Grosz and John Heartfield to express views of modern life through images presented by the media), the assemblage (three-dimensional variations of the collage to produce meaningful or meaningless (relative to the war) pieces of work), and the readymades (manufactured objects viewed as art, ie: Marcel Duchamp's signed urinal).
-These were championed in order to reject traditional modes of artistic creation such as painting and sculpture as well as to present a medium for group collaboration, spontaneity, and chance. Also, conceptual art is rooted here: Duchamp first asserted the concept that the intellectual expression of the artist is of higher value than the object created.
-This movement was unstable and melded into surrealism (through the shared preoccupation with the bizarre, irrational, and fantastic) by 1924 and artists began approaching other movements.
B. Surrealism
-Surrealism was fathered by Andre Breton, a French poet and writer who published the surrealist guidelines, called Manifesto, in Paris of 1924.
-Breton was influenced by Freud's psychoanalytical methods and an anti-socialist attitude.
-It is an emphasis on the unconscious, importance of dreams, and psychological aspect of the arts and employs the psychic unconscious in a systematic and solemn manner.
-Important champions of the art include Salvador Dali, the Italian Giorgio de Chirico (strange and eerie town views), Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy, Rene Magritte, and Russian Marc Chagall.
-This art did not have to be visually pleasing and aimed to give a different perspective on ideas. For example, Dali transcribed dreams in his The Persistence of Memory and Pierre Loeb made a month-long still life of an apple.
-Surrealism advocated that ordinary and depictive expressions were important if their arrangement was open to a full range of imagination. Marxist dialectic was looked to for these theories.
-Freud was a heavy influence on this movement: his work with free association, dream analysis, and the hidden unconscious was important in developing methods to liberate imagination.
-Some surrealists associated with communism and anarchism while aiming to preserve the social revolution and revolutionize human experience by freeing people of false rationality and restrictive customs and structures.
C. Cubism
-Cubism was initiated by Spaniard Pablo Picasso and Frenchman Georges Braques and limited to paintings and sculptures.
-Was influenced by African tribal art and geometrical forms and fragmentations.
-Picasso's above painting Les Demoiselles D'Avignon portrays five nude prostitutes that lack femininity and are rendered with angular and disjointed body shapes.
-Two of the women wear African mask-like faces, providing for a savage and mysterious aura. Picasso also abandons perspective in favor of a flat, two-dimensional plane.
-This was a radical departure from traditional European paintings and considered the antecedent of Cubism despite its departure from the spirit of Cubism. (It has a disruptive, expressionist element, contrary to being detached and realistic.)
-Cubism: objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in abstracted form in order to give a multitude of viewpoints of the object to represent the subject in greater context. The sense of depth is eliminated and the background and object planes merge to create a shallow, ambiguous space.
-Artists of the movement including Picasso, Gaugin, and Matisse were inspired by the simplicity of styles of foreign cultures.
-It is described as a radical attempt to stamp out ambiguity and enforce one complete interpretation of art.
-Analytical Cubism- reduces natural forms into basic geometric parts on the two-dimensional picture plane, color is nearly non-existent while forms like the cylinder, sphere, and cone are embellished.
-Synthetic Cubism- pushes objects together with few planar shifts and little shading, creating flatter space. Also, new subject matter of dada is introduced (Picasso uses text in artwork, mixed media used, different textures and surfaces, including collage elements are implemented.)
-Later artists of the movement are Robert Delauney, Marcel Duchamp, Juan Gris, and Lyonel Feininger, and they help pave the way for abstract art.
~Arielle Koppell

2007 Referring to specific individuals or works, discuss the ways in which TWO of the following expressed the concept of nationalism in the nineteenth century.




thesis_funnel.pngNumerous European countries underwent a rise in nationalistic sentiment in the 19th century in response to the Napoleonic era. While this nationalism was evident in various countries’ foreign policies, it was also greatly expressed in both art and literature. Russian literature was strongly influenced by the rapidly increasing nationalism and search for a unique identity, as was the development of the romantic movement in Germany, which encompassed both works of literature and art.
outline.jpgRussian Literature Expressing Nationalism and Exploring Russian Identity
  • Napoleon's 1812 invasion to fueled a nationwide explosion of art in the search of nationalism. Literature in particular was highly popular.
  • Russian literary works of that time involved defining Russian identity and culture
  • These novels / plays / poems often explored Peter the Great’s attempts to Westernize Russia and often assessed whether this developed or destroyed Russian culture. Following the French Revolution, many Russians concluded that the West was no longer a model worth imitating, and advocated Russian uniqueness instead.
  • In Peter Chaadayev’s First Philosophical Letter, he argued that Russia’s location between the West and East created a nation that contributed nothing to the world à this led to an increase in the search for Russian nationalism, often expressed in the form of art and literature
  • Nationalism was also greatly influenced by the role of peasants in Russian society and Russian expansionism.
  • Alexander Pushkin --> expressed Russian national identity in his famous works, his poem “The Bronze Horseman” questioned both Russian identity and the rule of Peter the Great. Inspired future writers to create and search for their own versions of Russian nationalism.
  • Michail Lermontov wrote about Russian expansionism in his novel A Hero of Our Time
  • Ivan Turgenev --> wrote A Hunter's Sketches causing sensation due to its portrayal of Russian serfs.
  • Leo Tolstoy --> wrote War and Peace, which explored the war raged against Napoleon, and Ana Karenina, which involved societal issues of the time
  • Dostoevsky's writings included, The Possessed (1871 - 1872) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880), and both of which described the revolutionary movements in Russia and their impact.

The Romantic Nationalist Movement in Germany, wherein numerous works of art and literature were created
  • German romantics created their art while keeping in mind their desire for their nation’s unification
  • Usually expressed their anti-French / anti-Napoleon imperialism and overall resentment of the French Revolution
  • Johann Herder
- detested the French cultural predominance in Germany
- revived German folk culture by urging the preservation of distinctive German songs and sayings
- opposed the concept and use of a “common” language, and “universal” institutions such as those imposed upon Europe by Napoleon
  • George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
- believed that ideas develop in an evolutionary fashion that involves conflict
- termed the anti-thesis
- his philosophies lead to the conclusion that all cultures are valuable because each contributes to the necessary clash of values and ideas that allows humankind to develop
- discussed his philosophies in works such as The Phenomology of the Mind, Lecures on the Philosophy of History, and various others
  • Caspar David Friedrich
- Romantic landscape painter
- he was an anti-French nationalist
- often used motifs in his artwork to celebrate German culture and customs
- his painting, Old Heroes' Graves, created a feeling of nationalism with his depiction of the German leader
  • Carl Spitzweg painted The Bookworm, which captured the conservatism in Europe following the Napoleonic wars and around the time of the revolutions of 1848

Stephanie Huynh

2007 Using the two Dutch paintings below and your historical knowledge of the period, discuss how the paintings reflect the economy and culture of the Netherlands in the seventeenth century.


Aelbert Cuyp, The Maas River at Dordrecht, c. 1650


Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, c. 1665

thesis_funnel.pngDuring the 17th Century, art had a big role in reflecting Dutch economy and culture. Paintings by Dutch artists showed economic systems with the use of ships and trading, while other paintings showed women and traditional dress and customs.



-The Netherlands were responsible for the economic decline of Spain because the Dutch proved to be competition for the Spanish
-The Netherlands had an economic advantage
-It’s geographical position was perfect because it was on the water and had a huge coast line with many natural ports
-The Netherlands had a huge merchant marine fleet
-The Dutch did a lot of trading with a large amount of ships and dominated Northern Europe
-The Netherlands was a threat to the British because of its successful and prosperous trading and commerce
-The Netherlands provided a connection for the raw material transfers from the Baltic region to the rest of Europe
-Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands, became the center of commerce in Northern Europe
-Amsterdam had actually replaced the Spanish city of Antwerp as the center of commerce
-Dutch dominance also came from technological advances, like the development of less expensive, yet efficient cargo ships
-The Bank of Amsterdam was founded in the early part of the 17th century
-The bank issued its own currency and increased the amount of available capital
-Amsterdam became the banking center of Europe
-In 1602, the Dutch East India Company was established
-The large capitalization behind the company allowed for the purchasing of more trading ships and warehouses
-The Dutch were very good businessmen
-For example, when the prices of certain spices decreased, they turned to selling other expensive things such as teas, coffees, and fabrics


-Women worked in homes doing domestic chores like cooking and cleaning and taking care of the children
-It was the norm for women to stay home and not work outside of the house
-There was a high standard of living in The Netherlands because of the amazing economy
-Economic wealth brought about a lot of money for families to buy expensive clothes and foods
-Most of The Dutch enjoyed the finer things if life because families were wealthy and successful with the husbands involved with commerce and trading in such a successful economy
-Wealth was more equally distributed in The Netherlands than in any other place in Europe
-Culturally, the 17th century was a golden age as well
-There were many Dutch artists at this time
-They reflected in their paintings that the majority of the population was Calvinist
-There was also the Baroque style of painting in The Netherlands which came in through Flanders, a Catholic city
-Dutch artists painted for private collectors
-It was common for Dutch artists to paint many pictures of landscapes
-A lot of artwork was very expensive
-A very gifted Dutch painter, Jan Vermeer, painted carefully composed scenes of everyday life of The Dutch
-This is why there are many paintings of women in their homes, because that’s where the women usually were
-The invention of the printing press in the mid fifteenth century allowed for heavy communication in the 17th century
-The Dutch stood out because of its tolerant attitude towards religious minorities, such as the Jews

Jiana Lisi