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Painters and writers in modern France



Painters and writers in modern France

First or second semester

6 credits


100% coursework


FREN2002 or equivalent



Hours per week:

2 hrs/week

Contact hours:

24 hours

Total learning hours:

120 hours

French writers have always exhibited a passionate interest in fine arts while cultivating rich intellectual exchanges and friendship with artists. The convergence of artistic creativity and intellectual vibrancy produced some of the most influential aesthetic theories, and renowned paintings and novels. This course explores a selection of works by prominent painters through the eyes of French writers who admired them. Why did they develop a fascination for these artists? What did they write about them and their artworks? How did artists influence their literature? The investigation of the interplay between art and literature will enable students to deepen their understanding of French cultural history and aesthetics while equipping them with the French language skills pertaining to these fields. All the materials used in this course will be in French.


Familiarize students with key art movements, artists and artworks of the 19th and early 20th century France; explore excerpts of novels and essays of major French writers to understand their views about specific painters and paintings as well as the relationships between visual art and literature; develop students’ appreciation of the cultural heritage of France through art and literature; expand French language proficiency in the various skills.

Learning outcomes

1) Demonstrate basic knowledge of key art movements and aesthetic theories in relation to their historical, social and cultural context. 2) Understand the relationships between art and literature in France during the 19th and early 20th century. 3) Demonstrate analytical, appreciative, and expressive skills in French to engage with artworks related to course content. 4) Discuss texts about art, artists and artistic works in a subjective or objective way to express critical opinions and judgments in French. 5) Use the French language at a level of upper-intermediate proficiency consistent with level B1+/B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

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