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Unit 4

4.1 Unit 4: Later Europe and Americas, 1750-1980 CE

3 min readโ€ขoctober 29, 2020

Cait Levin

Charly Castillo


Unit 4 Overview

We've finally made it to unit 4, the longest section of the entire AP Art History course. Even though it may seem intimidating at first, unit 4 is an art history student's dream because it has a little bit of everything: from Greco-Roman inspired works ๐Ÿ›๏ธ, to modernist architecture ๐ŸŒ‡, to experimental paintings that test the limits of art ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ.
In this unit, we'll get to see how different historical events and social problems from 1750 to 1980 have influenced the art made in each period and how that has influenced the works that we see today. We'll also get to see artists in each movement break traditional rules by choosing to depict subjects that have never been painted before, create new techniques, use newly invented media, and expose issues that have historically not been acknowledged โœŠ๐Ÿฟ So, now that you're all excited to learn about unit 4, let's get into the contextualization!

Contextualization (AKA The Historical Background) ๐ŸŒ ๐ŸŒŽ

Because this unit has so many different movements in it, it would take a lot of time to go through each of its important historical events. So, we choose to go over some of the main ones below, which will come up the most during this unit.

The Enlightenment (1715 โ€“ 1789)๐Ÿ’ก

During the Enlightenment, philosophers and other intellectuals began having new perspectives on old ideas and began promoting skepticism, the study of science, and reason over superstition.

French Revolution (1789-1799) ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท

The French Revolution was led by people who were revolting against the unfair treatment of the Third Estate (everyday people) by the government, constant food shortages, and economic hardship after fighting in the American Revolution.

Publishing of the Communist Manifesto (1848)๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿญ

After the Communist Manifesto was published, people began to realize the issues of living in a capitalist society, which led to revolutions, protests and uprisings, and assassinations of socialists across Europe (see Memorial Sheet of Karl Liebknecht).

Revolutions of 1848 ๐Ÿ‘‘

The Revolutions of 1848 were spearheaded by three changes in Europe: the rising popularity of nationalist movements (ones that support the creation of nations based on ethnicity), the spread of liberalism, and inadequate ruling by monarchs.

Perry Expedition and the Forced Opening of Japan (1853-1868) โ›ต

The Perry Expedition went to Japan and forced the nation to open its borders, rather than remain sheltered and only allow trade with certain nations. This allowed for the spread of Japanese culture, including art, around the world.

World Wars I and II (1914-1945) ๐Ÿ’ฃ

Both World Wars I and II had drastic effects on economies, populations, and the environment around the world.

The Harlem Renaissance (1920s-1930s) ๐ŸŽถ

During the early decades of the 1900s, African Americans from the South began migrating to cities in the North, which led to an artistic and cultural movement now known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Influence of Pop Culture (1950s-Present)๐Ÿ’„

Pop culture impacted and still does influence artistic works made today. Beauty standards and the concept of "femininity," celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, and protests against the Vietnam War have all inspired works made in this unit.

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