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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF3013 Assessing the French Revolution 1789-99

20 creditsClass Size: 21

Module manager: Dr Valerie Mainz

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

ARTF2000 or any level two ARTF coded module

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

PRE-REQUISITES: Students wishing to take this module as an elective at level three must have completed at least 20 credits from ARTF 2000 or any other level two ARTF coded module.The module will consider the issue of the French Revolution as a founding moment in the modern French nation and in the light of the bicentennial celebrations of 1989. Seminars will deal with the creation of the Louvre as a public museum, the projects for a new National Assembly building, the competitions of year II in painting and architecture, the representation of gender in art and politics and the period post Terror will also be addressed. How dress, costume and everyday artefacts merge together and break down previously held hierarchies of class, culture and art and how alongside the production of martyr portraiture caricature can be used to consider the implications of the Terror. Assessment: 1 x 1 hour exam (50%) and 1 x 2-3,000 word essay (50%).


To examine how visual imagery sheds light on certain key events, personalities, actions and debates of the French Revolution.

Skills outcomes
- Verbal and written fluency in constructing a logical and coherent argument
- Use of audio visual aids
- Participation in group discussions
- Co-ordination and dissemination of a range of historical, contextual visual information
- Using bibliographies and databases.


The Fall of the Bastille, the Festivals of Federation and of the Supreme Being, the death of the King, the rise of General Bonaparte, the post-Thermidorean reaction were all marked out as significant in the present and for viewers of posterity. The module addresses how martyr portraiture, caricature and a wide range of more popular art forms emerged at this time, how such imagery continues to function and what its purposes were.

Relationships between narrative, symbol and allegory are discussed, the boundaries between direct reportage and partisan propaganda questioned. Definitions came in for much public scrutiny at this time. Distinctions in gender, age, ethnic origin and religious creed came to be represented in the public sphere and for the general good, but also from within contexts of often heated political debate and amid much turmoil, upheaval and unrest. Professions were broken down, but then reasserted in altered ways.

Many of the art institutions of the Ancient Regime were dismantled; former patrons went to the guillotine or were displaced. New structures arose, but most of the ambitious schemes planned at this time failed.

Why were so many of the grandiose architectural and sculptural projects never completed? The French Revolution is not easy to assess, but it provides much challenging and provocative material for the historian. What it achieved in terms of the visual arts and what it failed to achieve continue to provide rewarding areas of study and rich objects of concern.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

178 hours - reading, essay/class preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- attendance at seminars
- registers kept
- contribution to class discussions.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000-3,000 word essay50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 27/01/2010


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