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AMICO Assignment Set:
Find and Compare Exercises for Modern European Art, 1780-1900
Exercise: Realism and Politics

Student Instructions:

  1. Read all the instructions below before beginning the exercise.
  2. Using the AMICO Library, choose two paintings, watercolors, or drawings, made by two different French artists during the Second Empire.
  3. In a 250-word essay, compare the two artworks, considering one of more of the following questions:

    • How do these works reflect or ignore the taste and style of their period?
    • In what ways, stylistically, are these works alike or unalike?
    • What were the social, political, and economic conditions in France when the work was created?
    • Do the works represent the same idea of "realism" or contrasting ones?
    • Do the works express specific attitude towards their respective subjects?
    • In your opinion, was the artist mostly likely to have been a Republican, a Bonapartist, or a Royalist? Why?
  4. Save the images and related data in your essay.
  5. Your essay will be judged on the following criteria:

    • Did you correctly follow instructions for the exercise?
    • Did you make a good choice of images?
    • How does your essay reflect your knowledge of the period, its political history, and its art?

Sample Images:

Woman with a Parrot, Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  Moorish Bath, Jean Léon Gérôme
Copyright Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1998
Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet (French)   Jean Léon Gérôme (French)
Woman with a Parrot, 1866   Moorish Bath, 1870
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, USA, MMA_.29.100.57   Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, BMFA.24.217
View the complete AMICO record   View the complete AMICO record

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