Arts of 18th Century Europe: Rococo to Romanticism

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
From Rococo to Romanticism, explore a remarkable period in the history of European art. Expert lecturers will bring to life themes such as taste, patronage, and the art market, while you discover how artists and designers responded to an age of enlightenment and revolution. Drawing deeply from the V&A’s remarkable collections, this twelve-week online art history course will plunge through the genteel surface of “the century of reason” and expose the volatile contradictions beneath…

You can learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with more than 40 hours of study over 12 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for up to 12 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time. 

course photo
Portrait of Year Course Director  Dr Kathy McLauchlan

Year Course Director
Dr Kathy McLauchlan

Dr Kathy McLauchlan, art historian specialising in French painting and lecturer with the Arts Society, Morley College and Oxford University. A lecturer specialising in 19th-century art history, she is currently a course director at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where she organises courses and study days on the history of art and design.

Excellent course leader and presenters, fascinating and insightful content, so much more than can be read in a book! Previous V&A Academy Online Course Attendee

Course overview

Drawing deeply from the V&A’s collections, this twelve-week online course will plunge through the genteel surface of “the century of reason” and expose the volatile contradictions beneath. 

The eighteenth century was a time of comparative peace and prosperity for western Europe, at least until the outbreak of the French Revolutionary wars in the 1790s. Britain led the field in developing techniques of mass production, but throughout Europe, increasing wealth and better opportunities for travel, widened the market for both fine and decorative arts. 

This was also the period of the Enlightenment, an intellectual movement championing reason, scientific enquiry and respect for humanity which had a significant impact on European culture. But the spirit of rational enlightenment would be shattered by the French Revolution of 1789. 

The art world during this period was remarkable in its stylistic diversity. By the early nineteenth century, two leading cultural movements, Neo-classicism and Romanticism, co-existed to dynamic effect in the fields of art, design and architecture. 

Guest Lecturers include: Justine Hopkins; Angela Cox and Jacqueline Cockburn.

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V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

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Online course: Arts of 18th Century Europe: Rococo to Romanticism

26 September 2024 - 12 December 2024


Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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Header image: Gainsborough, The Painter’s Two Daughters c1758