Faculteit der Cultuur- en Maatschappijwetenschappen
Art and Modernity
The concepts of style and modernity are intimately linked. In the course of the 19th century, literature, visual arts and architecture are increasingly characterized by a multitude of styles and currents. Their amount will only increase in the 20th century. Nineteenth-century realism functions as a crucial pivotal point within this evolution, even though it is often described as a ‘styleless style’. Realist painters investigate, through their art, what it might mean to be modern and how to depict this modern life, without idealizing or moralizing it. Surprisingly enough, this uncensored depiction of modern life brought along an increasing emphasis on the stylistic means of art, before finally arriving at the aestheticism of the fin- de-siècle. However, the importance of the concept of ‘style’ is not limited to art works or literary texts. It is an equally relevant category when analysing the fashioning of modern life or other cultural domains in which the idea of style plays at first sight only a minor role. This module investigates the transformations of the concept of style in visual arts, literature, film and architecture and the possible role of style in the analysis of politics and science.