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

BookHistory, 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

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2020:02

2020

February 10th, 2020

£65.00

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French painting of Louis XV’s reign (1715–74), 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 rights 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. Francois Boucher, Charles-Joseph Natoire, and Carle Vanloo) in order to highlight the cultural forces at work within their now iconic images.

Author Information

Susanna Caviglia is Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Art History at Duke University. Her work focuses on early modern European art and culture with an emphasis on France and Italy. Her interests include the body in art, theory and practice of drawing, and cross-cultural relationships within the Mediterranean world. She is the author of 'Charles-Joseph Natoire (1700-1777)' (Arthena, 2012).