EPL will offer mini-course on the unlikely rise of impressionism

The Evanston Public Library announces “Perspectives on French Impressionism,” a no-cost, no-credit, two-session class offered to the Evanston community in partnership with the Northwestern Emeriti Organization. The instructor will be Professor Emerita Hollis Clayson, an internationally recognized expert on cultural and artistic movements originating in Paris. Both classes will take place on the nights of January 18 and 25 on Zoom. A full class description and an opportunity to sign up are available online at https://evanston.libnet.info/event/5417087.

Like many of today’s important social and cultural movements, Impressionism – a style of painting and print, a social formation and an ideology of modernity – was originally despised and derided by the conservative arbiters of taste in 1870s Paris. Yet it is among the most revered art forms, as the long lines at (pre-pandemic) museum exhibitions around the world attest.

“In this class we’re going to ask why,” says Clayson, Professor Emerita of Art History and Bergen Evans Professor Emerita of the Humanities at Northwestern. “Let us together discern the irony of the current popularity of a style that is strange and in many ways anti-intellectual – for it is a non-stop glorification of the rubbish of perception.”

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