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French Revolution: Art and Culture
Transcript of French Revolution: Art and Culture
Art and Culture The French Revolution: Art and Culture By: Dizon
Tagle Context The French Revolution was essentially a political revolution
New symbolic forms of political practice:
Instrument for refashioning society
Community relied on reason and nature without reference to past
Mass Propaganda: political mobilization of lower class; everyday life invented to regenerate nation
New languages and symbols
New Republican political class (interaction between rhetorical assumptions and collective political practices)
Constant change and development
Coherence and unity Context Ideal of "liberty, equality and fraternity;" love for land
Pushed for standardization and equality
Society for equal citizens
France divided into departments of equal size and population
The French Revolution was recognized as a turning point in the history of both the destruction and preservation of art Transformation of Cultural Institutions:
1) Schools New schools had same curriculum and books
Church’s property was confiscated and this disturbed the school and educational system
Government was forced to recreate a system of schools based on free instruction by teachers (paid by state)
Education suffered because of lack of funds Transformation of Cultural Institutions:
2) Academies Scientific and artistic academies were abolished and taken over by government committees
New metric system was standardized
Popular and Republican Society of Arts replaced Royal Academy of Arts open to artists of all classes Transformation of Cultural Institutions:
3) Libraries Royal library became the National library
Housed the collections of abolished monasteries and academies
Government disposed millions of books with topics of religion, feudalism and royalism 4) Monuments The Louvre museum contained objects and paintings confiscated from homes of émigrés and churches
Erase the memory of old regime by destroying the tombs of the kings Transformation of Cultural Institutions:
5) Government/Politics First Phase (1789-1791): Destruction of royal absolutism
Second Phase (1792-1795): Destroyed the monarchy and created the French Republic
The French national flag changed from the Fleur-de-lis to the Tricolore as a symbol for the abolishment of the old regime Transformation of Cultural Institutions:
6)Re-organization of French society Abolishment of privileges of the nobles and clergy, Legal jurisdiction of noblemen, feudal dues, game laws, and the privileges of provinces and towns.
France was now composed of equal citizens
August 26, 1789, the National Assembly issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (Proclaimed the rights to liberty and property, equality before the law, freedom from oppression, and religious toleration to be natural rights) Transformation of Cultural Institutions:
7) Other facts Culture The French Revolution:
Art and Culture Art Iconoclasm and Vandalism France "Treasure House of Western Art" painting, sculptures and architecture had been used as instruments of social control
Defense of philosophes and royal art ministers: paintings and sculptures were always used by governors of men in order to inspire their subjects towards the religious or political sentiments they desire them to hold
Dilemma of revolutionists: fine arts would not suffer under revolutionary regime, however...
Revolutionists were positive that ancient regime values were false and had to be eradicated Preservation of the Arts Newspaper, L'Année littéraire
Other definite efforts to preserve the French art heritage:
Monuments Commission by the Constituent Assembly
due to the sale of church buildings to private individuals
"artistic loss to the nation"
tasked to create an inventory and collect art worthy of preservation
"Instructions concerning the conservation of manuscripts, charters... monuments of antiquity, and other objects relating to the fine arts found in churches."
certain degree of success in collecting
monuments were displayed Preservation of the Arts Monuments Commission earned high praise by the Constituent Assembly
displayed ideals worthy of their time
"[...] The revolutions of an enlightened people conserve the fine arts, and embellish them, while the fruitful concern of the legislator causes the arts to be reborn as an ornament of the empire." - Barere
The more radical observed that:
Statues = not a work of people but of ministers and courtesans
To build a monument is too costly "Powerful Language of Symbols" “order the destruction of all monuments created during the feudal regime.” Destruction of the Arts: "Blind Rage" Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) emotional attachment of Iconoclasts = "blind rage"
attacks directed against liberal institutions rather than against art
Friedrich Schiller: attributed iconoclasm to the lowest sort of people caught up in riotous situations
the term ‘Vandalism’ was coined Destruction of the Arts "Blind Rage" importance of symbolic objects and their manipulation during the Revolution
In contrast to the Reformation, Revolutionists objected more to the symbolic content than to the images themselves
works could be preserved provided that their symbolizing relationship was broken and reinterpreted
this “symbolic content” that was objected to constituted to a wide spectrum of objects; not just arms, portraits, effigies of the monarch, the members of the nobility and the Church, but ANY WORK Towers were deemed enemies of equality
a whole town could be denied of the right to exist (terror and war)
Lyon was deprived of its name Destruction of the Arts "Blind Rage" The emblems of feudalism, of superstition, toys and spoils of prejudice and arrogance were EVERYWHERE (with the ambition to renovate)
Manifestations of Iconoclasm: The Bastille
Symbol of military threat and royal arbitrariness
Produced profane relics representing the fortress and commemorating its fall Iconoclasm Iconoclasm Examples (The Porte St-Denis in Paris)
Values attached to objects (historical testimonies and works of art = motif for preservation)
Objects exempted from destruction (implied a general validity)
Public museums (privileged places and movable art) Stigmatization of Iconoclasm Destroyers/Iconoclasts:
accused of misusing objects they understood and acting in a way unworthy of the regenerated nation to which they belong
accused of destroying public wealth, defaming the image of Revolutionary France and of working for its enemies Stigmatization of Iconoclasm “Vandalism” was associated with the Terror and became an instrument of its condemnation, even if the secularized and nationalized estates continued to fall prey to their owners The Assembly also reorganized the church by issuing the Civil Constitution of the Clergy;
Made the church a state department, made the clergy swear an oath of loyalty to the nation, and ordered that bishops be elected by laymen);
The property of the church was seized
In 1791, the Assembly issued a new constitution, which made France a constitutional monarchy declaring all citizens equal before the law, abolishing titles of nobility, and made marriage a civil contract Transformation of Cultural Institutions:
6)Re-organization of French society Dress styles of sans-culottes
Attempted to de-Christianize France
Churches were turned into “temples of reasons”
Cult of the Supreme-Being è New universal religion
·Calendar was reformed è First day of the year started from September22,1792
Weeks had 10 days
New culture was rejected by the people played a major role at every stage of the revolution
Goal: to foster, incite conviction/fear, and make irreversible changes
Klaus Herding: total elimination was the only solution: in order to fulfill the demands of the eradication of the ‘symbolic content’ objection
Richard Wrigley: rightful insistence of transformation and reuse
distinguishing between the sign and the signified Sources: “Hunt, Lynn Avery. Politics, Culture,and Class in the French Revolution. University of California Press, 1984.
Levack, , Muir, Veldman, and Maas. The West: Encounters & Transformations. 2nd ed. Pearson, 2006.
"Francisco De Goya Y Lucientes Biography." Francisco De Goya Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.franciscodegoya.net/biography.html>.
"Friedrich Schiller." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Feb.2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Schiller>.
Gamboni, Dario. Ai Weiwei: Portrait of the Artist as an Iconoclast. N.p.: n.p., n.d. PDF.
Gamboni, Dario. The Destruction of Art: Iconoclasm and Vandalism since the French Revolution. New Haven: Yale UP, 1997. Print.
"Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." The Legacy of Jacques-Louis David (1748Â1825). N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/jldv/hd_jldv.htm>.
Hunt, Lynn. Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution. Berkeley: University of California, 1984. Print.
"Incoherents." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incoherents>.
Woods, Alan. "The Life and times of Goya." Art and Revolution. N.p., 14 July 2003. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://www.marxist.com/ArtAndLiterature- old/goya_1.html>. Fin