Spring 2012 - Graduate Course Description
MacDonald, Heather
Discipline and Number
HUAS 6312 Section 001
R Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Love & Marriage 18 c Portraiture

Description of Course:

Taught by Dr. Amy Freund [Texas Christian University] and Dr. Heather MacDonald [Dallas Museum of Art]

Class meets at the Dallas Museum of Art; students will have to become DMA members to participate in the course.

This seminar, centered around the upcoming exhibition “Husbands and Wives: Paired Portraits in Europe and America in the 1760s,” will explore the broad historical and cultural context for the three pairs of portraits – by John Singleton Copley, Alexandre Roslin, and Joseph Wright of Derby – which form the nucleus of the exhibition.

These portraits were painted at a moment when marriage was being reconceptualized as an emotional rather than merely social or economic bond. The debates surrounding these changes were played out not only in the visual arts but also in novels, philosophical essays, and political tracts. Seminar participants will explore the changing definitions of love, marriage, and family in Europe and America, considering primary sources such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Julie (1761) and Emile (1762) and British novels of sensibility as well as the rich secondary literature on the history of marriage and the family. This evidence will be applied to the study of the specific portrait tradition under consideration as well as to a broader analysis of the history of portraiture in the eighteenth century.

In order to enrich students’ understanding of this artistic and historic moment, four internationally recognized scholars have been invited to present their research to the seminar. Participants will have thus have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the best new research in the field as well as to develop their own research and writing skills and to familiarize themselves with museum exhibition development and design.

No special background in eighteenth-century art is required, although a general familiarity with European and American art 1600-1900 would be helpful. For more information, please contact Dr. Freund at [email protected]

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Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:


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