Art in the Global Eighteenth Century


The course aims to introduce students to the richness of the period known as the ‘long eighteenth century’ in its global dimensions. The students are expected, through a wide acquaintance with relative literature, to be able to identify eighteenth-century styles (rococo, neoclassical), to understand the various differences between countries, empires and geographies, to identify the novelties that the age of enlightenment brought in terms of artistic practice and theory (public criticism, exhibitions, the widespread commerce of prints etc.), and also apply various methodologies and theories (relating to gender and race; the global history of art; artistic circulations and transfers in a transatlantic world) to their subject. The practical components (organizing a virtual exhibition or guided tour) aim to encourage students to communicate their knowledge with the wider public, as well as to stress the importance of new technologies for art history.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Sabina de Cavi


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Available soon


Boime, A., Art in an Age of Revolution 1750-1800, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1987.
Carrera, Magali M., Imagining Identity in New Spain. Race, Lineage and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings, Univ. of Texas Press, 2003.
Craske, Matthew, Art in Europe 1700-1830, Oxford University Press, 1997.
Crow, Thomas E., Painters and public life in eighteenth-century Paris, Yale Univ. Press, 1985.
Delaforce, A., Art and Patronage in Eighteenth-Century Portugal, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002.
Findlen, P., W. W. Roworth and C. M. Sama, Italy´s Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour, California: Stanford University Press, 2009.
Quilley, G. and K. Dian Kriz eds., An economy of colour. Visual Culture and the Atlantic World 1660-1830, Manchester University Press, 2003.
Solkin, David H., Art in Britain 1660–1815, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2015.
William Hodges 1744-1797: The Art of Exploration, exh. cat., Yale University Press, 2004.

Teaching method

Classes will combine theoretical and practical aspects. Selected readings will be assigned on a weekly, for discussion in the classroom and, occasionally, for written assignments. Practical activities will take place in two forms: the organization on behalf of the students of a virtual exhibition on one aspect of the eighteenth century, using social media (such as tumblr or pinterest); and guided tours in a museum, also organized by the students. Students must have sufficient knowledge of English to follow the specific literature. They will be encouraged to participate in class, strengthening their language and communication skills.
NOTE: If necessary, this course may be taught entirely in English.

Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Class participation(30%), Final test (30%), Virtual exhibition or guided tour (40%)

Subject matter

1. The concept of the long eighteenth century.
2. The Grand Tour: Foreign artists, patrons and collectors in Italy.
3. Joanni V Magnífico: Art and patronage in Portugal during the first half of the 18th century.
4. France I: Art criticism, the Salon and the rise of the public exhibition.
5. France II: Rococo as ´private vice´, Neoclassicism as ´public virtue´.
6. From the Seven Years War to the American Revolution: Art in the service of the nation.
7. Imperial Academy of Arts: Art in eighteenth-century Russia.
8. Art in Spain and Latin America during the eighteenth century.
9. Art and the British Empire: Painting and Colonial Rule in India.
10. Art and exploration: From the travels of Captain Cook to scientific illustrations of natural history.
11. Engraving, commerce and the rise of national history painting.
12. Transatlantic revolutions, from Paris to Saint-Domingue: Art, race and politics.
13. Artistic theory and practice in Portugal, c. 1750-1823.


Programs where the course is taught: