Art & Social Commentary

Art & Social Commentary, Part 1: Objectives, Learning Outcomes, Activities


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In this section you will learn how artists use form and subject matter to develop social commentary in artworks.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify artworks in their social and political contexts.
  2. Discuss how artists use form and subject matter to develop narrative and meaning in artworks.
  3. Identify titles, creators, and dates of various art objects.


These are the activities to be completed for this section:

  1. Read: “Eugène Delacroix, an introduction
  2. Read: “Daumier, Rue Transnonain” 
  3. Watch the video: “Art historical analysis with Goya’s Third of May, 1808
  4. Watch the video: “Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners
  5. Watch the video: “John Constable, The Hay Wain
  6. Watch the video: “Hannah Höch, Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany

  7. Complete the Forum Assignment.




Reading: Eugène Delacroix, an introduction

Eugène Delacroix, an introduction

Reading: Daumier, Rue Transnonain

Daumier, Rue Transnonain

Video: Art historical analysis with Goya’s Third of May, 1808

Art historical analysis with Goya’s Third of May, 1808

Video: Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners

Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners

Video: John Constable, The Hay Wain


Concluding Remarks

Art and artists exist in the context of society, often creating artworks that contribute to public discourse. Learning about the ways that artists use technical elements such as form and subject matter to develop social commentary develops understanding of visual language



  • Participate in the discussion forum, responding to the question included in the Objectives, Learning Outcomes, and Activities for the week. • Post a minimum of twice per discussion: • Post at least once expressing your opinion or an idea in response to the topic. • Post at least once in response to another student’s idea or opinion. The purpose of this post may be to expand on that student’s post or ask them to consider another aspect of the topic. A response such as “I agree” will not count. The goal is to engage in a respectful and interesting discussion that enhances your learning of the subject matter. • Write 75-150 words for each post. • Write thoughtful, responsive and engaging posts that expand on what others have written and encourage discussion through open-ended questions or comments. • Grading will be based on adherence to assignment guidelines and engagement with the forum responses.


Discussion Forum: Section #10


Using what you learned from the readings and course resources for this section together with your own knowledge and experience, how can artworks be part of social commentary in ways that other forms cannot?

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