About the Class
This class will place Édouard Manet’s influential paintings, such as Olympia, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, and A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, within the context of modern Paris, the French Empire, and the city’s increasingly global reputation in the late 19th century. We will examine both the formal and the cultural impact of Manet’s art and analyze prominent Parisian sites associated with the rise of modernity—boulevards, parks, shopping arcades, department stores (like the Bon Marché), sewers, catacombs, and World’s Fair grounds—through the study of Manet’s works and those of his colleagues. Students will come away understanding why Paris is so often called the birthplace of modernist painting.
Each week, the main lecture is followed by a 30-minute discussion session that allows students the opportunity to ask questions and exchange ideas with the instructor and classmates.
Dombrowski is Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Associate Professor of 19th-Century European Art at the University of Pennsylvania. His 2013 book Cézanne, Murder, and Modern Life won the Phillips Book Prize. He is currently at work on a new book that explores the relationship between the impressionist instant and period technologies of timekeeping.