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History, painting, and the seriousness of pleasure in the age of Louis XV

History, painting, and the seriousness of pleasure in the age of Louis XV / Susanna Caviglia.
Oxford : Published by Liverpool University Press : On behalf of Voltaire Foundation, University of Oxford, [2020]
Copyright Notice Date
Physical Description
xxii, 281 pages, 22 unnumbered pages of plates (color) : illustrations (black and white) ; 24 cm.
French painting of Louis XV's reign (1723-1774), generally categorized by the term rococo, has typically been understood as an artistic style aimed at furnishing courtly society with delightful images of its own frivolous pursuits. Instead, this book shows the significance and seriousness underpinning the notion of pleasure embedded in eighteenth-century history painting. During this time, pleasure became a moral ideal grounded not only in domestic life but also defining a range of social, political, and cultural transactions oriented toward transforming and improving society at large. History, painting, and the seriousness of pleasure in the age of Louis XV reconsiders the role of history painting in creating a new visual language that presented peace and happiness as an individual's natural right in the aftermath of Louis XIV's bellicose reign (1643-1715). In this new study, Susanna Caviglia reinvestigates the artistic practices of an entire generation of painters born around 1700 (e.g., François Boucher, Charles-Joseph Natoire, and Carle Vanloo) in order to highlight the cultural forces at work within their now iconic images. -- Publisher.
Added to Catalog
August 13, 2021
Oxford University studies in the Enlightenment ; 2020:02.
Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2020:02
Includes bibliographical references (pages 253-268) and index.
List of illustrations
Introduction. Historical perspective: the peaceable kingdom of Louis XV ; The painters ; Toward a new artistic idiom
I. Historia in stasis. Chapter 1. The action de repos. Prolegomena to the theory and practice ; Meditation, contemplation ; The dynamic body suspended ; Narrative disrupted ; Moments in the present and the future
Chapter 2. Corporeality and repose. Fontenelle's ideal ; Corporeal conversations ; Figures of seduction ; The expression of repose ; From narrative representation to figural presentation
II. The figure in artistic practice. Chapter 3. Figure/study/artwork ; Copying the figure ; The whole and the part ; The emergence of corporeal repose ; The new body language
Chapter 4. The story beyond the figure. From study to subject ; Autonomous figures in painting ; Repertoires of models ; Life study and historical subject
III. The fabrication of a new grand genre. Chapter 5. Before the painting ; The figure: from the idea to the painting ; The emergence of new creative practices ; The single body and the multiplication of bodies ; The figure: from reuse to quotation
Chapter 6. Epilogue: on novelty in painting. Brand new beauties ; The painting of the present

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