European Aesthetic Tendencies
Cod: 51143
Department: DH
Scientific area: European Studies
Total working hours: 156
Total contact time: 15

Being Aesthetics related to filosophy, to literary and artistic criticism and theory, the objective of this course unit is to introduce the major aesthtetic movements that translate mental frameworks and representations of man and the world in the work of art. This introduction centers itself in the selection of the most significant moments between Romanticism and Post-modernism, underlying the successive ruptures, opposite streams, and recovering former aesthetic generations when necessary.
In epistemological terms, this course unit locates itself outside of the filosophical scope of Aesthetics, and inherits instead the "aesthetic" reflexion of the seventeenth century, the "birth nest" of the term itself. The aesthetic tendencies which are the subject-matter of this course unit are, thus, a recent, modern issue. The tendencies, schools, attitudes, poetological trends, which throughout the twentieth century are more and more sprayed, are not themselves and their sepcific traces the subject-matter of this course unit, but instead their common features or what contributes for the description and understanding of the conceptual complexity or even the intrinsic contradictions of the four core tendencies. Because this is a generic and introductory course unit, there is an added effort to underline, in each of the four core tendencies, what they inherit from the tradition they aparently question, and in this way to indicate the former aesthetic tendencies and schools which obviously have a fundamental role in the genesis of the ones studied in this course unit.

  1. Aesthetics / aesthetic case-studies
  2. Romanticism
  3. Realism
  4. Modernism / Post-modernism

After studying this course unit, the student should be able to:
• identify the aesthetic tendencies that cross the European space, between Romanticism and Post-modernism, their general definition and characteristics;
• relate the aesthetic tendencies with the social and cultural context, as well as the historical and political one, in which they are generated;
• locate the continuity and rupture which are grounded in each aesthetic tendency.

This course unit introduces four European core aesthetic tendencies, which are to be studied crosswise to the different arts and contextualized in the European territory. The four core tendencies are the following:
1. Romanticism: the form of the fragment; the paradox perception / irony; memory and ruin.
2. Realism: the form of the novel; the lanscape perception / figure; science and history.
3. Modernismo: crisis and search of form; the threshold perception / language; caos, pathos and spirituality;
4. Post-modernism: the spaying of forms; the game perception / simulacrum; deconstruction and intertextuality.

The specific conceptual resources and artistic examples on each of the four selected aesthetic  will be given throughout the semester, in the virtual classroom. The following literature, among other resources, can assure the study of the subject-mater described in the course programme:
SCHILLER, Friedrich, Textos sobre o belo, o sublime e o trágico, trad. de Teresa Cadete, INCM, Lisboa, 1997.
ECO, Umberto, História da Beleza, Difel, Miraflores, 2005.
ECO, Umberto, História do Feio, Difel, Miraflores, 2007.
Richard TARUSKIN, The Oxford Histpry of Western Music, vols. 3,4, e 5, Oxford University Press, 2010.
GOMBRICH, E. H., The Story of Art. London: Phaidon, 1989 (1950)
Florence de Mèredieu, Histoire matérielle et immatérielle de l'art moderne et contemporain, Larousse, 2008 (1994).
BRADBURY, Malcolm, James McFarlane (ed.s), Modernism, London: Penguin Books, 1991.
BARRENTO, João, A Espiral Vertiginosa. Ensaios sobre a cultura contemporânea, Lisboa: Cotovia, 2001.
W. Tatarkiewicz, Historia de seis ideas, Madrid: Tecnos, 2015 (ISBN 978-84-6505-2).
HABERMAS, Jürgen, "A Modernidade: um projecto inacabado?", Crítica, 2, Lisboa: Teorema, 1987, pp.5-23.
LYOTARD, Jean-François, "Resposta à pergunta: o que é o pós-moderno", in O Pós-Moderno explicado às crianças, Lisboa: D. Quixote, 1993, pp.11-27.


Continuous assessment is privileged: 2 or 3 digital written documents (e-folios) during the semester (40%) and a presence-based final exam (p-folio) in the end of the semester (60%). In due time, students can alternatively choose to perform one final presence-based exam (100%).