Revolutions! Art and Society in France, 1770-1848 (AHV2012)

30 credits

From the arms of David’s Horatii Brothers, raised up to swear upon their swords eternal allegiance to the fatherland, to the raised arm of Daumier’s disenfranchised worker marching in the streets of Paris in anger against his own government, revolutionary action dominated both the art and the politics of France between 1770 and 1850.  Spanning the Bourbon monarchy, the Revolution of 1789, the Napoleonic Empire, the Restoration, the Revolution of 1830, and the Revolution of 1848, this violent period of political and cultural upheaval witnessed extraordinary transformations in art’s purpose and audience, from the abolishing and re-establishing of the Academy to the death of history painting to the growing influence of popular art on academic painting. This course, whose major primary sources will be images, seeks not to trace stylistic changes in the abstract, but rather to look at the relationship between artistic and social change.  We will consider not only political and institutional pressures upon artists but also the ways art offered shifting constructions of gender, sexuality, race, slavery, nation, and empire during this time.