During the early modern period, objects of maritime material culture were removed from their places of origin and traded, collected and displayed worldwide. Focusing on shells and pearls exchanged within local and global networks, this monograph compares and connects Asian, in particular Chinese, and European practices of oceanic exploitation in the framework of a transcultural history of art with an understanding of maritime material culture as gendered. Perceiving the ocean as mother of all things, as womb and birthplace, Chinese and European artists and collectors exoticized and eroticized shells’ shapes and surfaces. Defining China and Europe as spaces entangled with South and Southeast Asian sites of knowledge production, source and supply between 1500 and 1700, the book understands oceanic goods and maritime networks as transcending and subverting territorial and topographical boundaries. It also links the study of globally connected port cities to local ecologies of oceanic exploitation and creative practices.
"The art historian after Erwin Panofsky and Ernst Gombrich is not only participating in an activity of great intellectual excitement; he is raising and exploring issues which lie very much at the centre of psychology, of the sciences and of history itself. Svetlana Alpers's study of 17th-century Dutch painting is a splendid example of this excitement and of the centrality of art history among current disciples. Professor Alpers puts forward a vividly argued thesis. There is, she says, a truly fundamental dichotomy between the art of the Italian Renaissance and that of the Dutch masters. . . . Italian art is the primary expression of a 'textual culture,' this is to say of a culture which seeks emblematic, allegorical or philosophical meanings in a serious painting. Alberti, Vasari and the many other theoreticians of the Italian Renaissance teach us to 'read' a painting, and to read it in depth so as to elicit and construe its several levels of signification. The world of Dutch art, by the contrast, arises from and enacts a truly 'visual culture.' It serves and energises a system of values in which meaning is not 'read' but 'seen,' in which new knowledge is visually recorded."—George Steiner, Sunday Times
"There is no doubt that thanks to Alpers's highly original book the study of the Dutch masters of the seventeenth century will be thoroughly reformed and rejuvenated. . . . She herself has the verve, the knowledge, and the sensitivity to make us see familiar sights in a new light."—E. H. Gombrich, New York Review of Books
"David Castillo takes us on a tour of some horrific materials that have rarely been considered together. He sheds a fantastical new light on the baroque."
---Anthony J. Cascardi, University of California Berkeley
"Baroque Horrors is a textual archeologist's dream, scavenged from obscure chronicles, manuals, minor histories, and lesser-known works of major artists. Castillo finds tales of mutilation, mutation, monstrosity, murder, and mayhem, and delivers them to us with an inimitable flair for the sensational that nonetheless rejects sensationalism because it remains so grounded in historical fact."
---William Egginton, Johns Hopkins University
"Baroque Horrors is a major contribution to baroque ideology, as well as an exploration of the grotesque, the horrible, the fantastic. Castillo organizes his monograph around the motif of curiosity, refuting the belief that Spain is a country incapable of organized scientific inquiry."
---David Foster, Arizona State University
Baroque Horrors turns the current cultural and political conversation from the familiar narrative patterns and self-justifying allegories of abjection to a dialogue on the history of our modern fears and their monstrous offspring. When life and death are severed from nature and history, "reality" and "authenticity" may be experienced as spectator sports and staged attractions, as in the "real lives" captured by reality TV and the "authentic cadavers" displayed around the world in the Body Worlds exhibitions. Rather than thinking of virtual reality and staged authenticity as recent developments of the postmodern age, Castillo looks back to the Spanish baroque period in search for the roots of the commodification of nature and the horror vacui that accompanies it. Aimed at specialists, students, and readers of early modern literature and culture in the Spanish and Anglophone traditions as well as anyone interested in horror fantasy, Baroque Horrors offers new ways to rethink broad questions of intellectual and political history and relate them to the modern age.
David Castillo is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.
Jacket art: Frederick Ruysch's anatomical diorama. Engraving reproduction "drawn from life" by Cornelius Huyberts. Image from the Zymoglyphic Museum.
Ofer Gal and Raz Chen-Morris University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress Q127.E85G35 2013 | Dewey Decimal 509.409033
In Baroque Science, Ofer Gal and Raz Chen-Morris present a radically new perspective on the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. Instead of celebrating the triumph of reason and rationality, they study the paradoxes and anxieties that stemmed from the New Science and the intellectual compromises that shaped it and enabled its spectacular success.
Gal and Chen-Morris show how the protagonists of the new mathematical natural philosophy grasped at the very far and very small by entrusting observation to the mediation of artificial instruments, and how they justified this mediation by naturalizing and denigrating the human senses. They show how the physical-mathematical ordering of heavens and earth demanded obscure and spurious mathematical procedures, replacing the divine harmonies of the late Renaissance with an assemblage of isolated, contingent laws and approximated constants. Finally, they show how the new savants, forced to contend that reason is hopelessly estranged from its surrounding world and that nature is irreducibly complex, turned to the passions to provide an alternative, naturalized foundation for their epistemology and ethics.
Enforcing order in the face of threatening chaos, blurring the boundaries of the natural and the artificial, and mobilizing the passions in the service of objective knowledge, the New Science, Gal and Chen-Morris reveal, is a Baroque phenomenon: deeply entrenched in and crucially formative of the culture of its time.
Sculptor, architect, painter, playwright, and scenographer, Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) was the last of the great universal artistic geniuses of early modern Italy, placed by both contemporaries and posterity in the same exalted company as Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo. And his artistic vision remains palpably present today, through the countless statues, fountains, and buildings that transformed Rome into the Baroque theater that continues to enthrall tourists today.
It is perhaps not surprising that this artist who defined the Baroque should have a personal life that itself was, well, baroque. As Franco Mormando’s dazzling biography reveals, Bernini was a man driven by many passions, possessed of an explosive temper and a hearty sex drive, and he lived a life as dramatic as any of his creations. Drawing on archival sources, letters, diaries, and—with a suitable skepticism—a hagiographic account written by Bernini’s son (who portrays his father as a paragon of virtue and piety), Mormando leads us through Bernini’s many feuds and love affairs, scandals and sins. He sets Bernini’s raucous life against a vivid backdrop of Baroque Rome, bustling and wealthy, and peopled by churchmen and bureaucrats, popes and politicians, schemes and secrets.
The result is a seductively readable biography, stuffed with stories and teeming with life—as wild and unforgettable as Bernini’s art. No one who has been bewitched by the Baroque should miss it.
Stretching back to antiquity, motion had been a key means of designing and describing the physical environment. But during the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, individuals across Europe increasingly designed, experienced, and described a new world of motion: one characterized by continuous, rather than segmented, movement. New spaces that included vistas along house interiors and uninterrupted library reading rooms offered open expanses for shaping sequences of social behaviour, scientists observed how the Earth rotated around the sun, and philosophers attributed emotions to neural vibrations in the human brain. Early Modern Spaces in Motion examines this increased emphasis on motion with eight essays encompassing a geographical span of Portugal to German-speaking lands and a disciplinary range from architectural history to English. It consequently merges longstanding strands of analysis considering people in motion and buildings in motion to explore the cultural historical attitudes underpinning the varied impacts of motion in early modern Europe.
Charles Le Brun’s drawing manual on human emotions has been used for centuries by artists and students as a model for depicting facial expressions. In David Schutter’s work, Le Brun’s manual is set to a different direction—a series of abstract drawings recalling vestiges of the human face animated by emotion. But Schutter’s drawings are neither copies nor portraiture. Rather, they are reflections on how Lebrun’s renderings were made.
Collected here, Schutter’s work recreates not the subject matter but the very values of Lebrun’s drawings—light, gesture, scale, and handling of materials. The cross-hatching in the original was used to make classical tone and volume, in Schutter’s hand the technique makes for unstable impressions of strained neck and deeply furrowed brow, or for drawing marks and scribbles unto themselves. As such, these drawings end up denying a neat closure—unlike their academic source material—and render unsettling states of mind that require repeated viewing. Accompanied by essays from art critic Barry Schwabsky and Neubauer Collegium curator Dieter Roelstraete, The Escape will appeal to students, critics, and admirers of seventeenth-century, modern, and contemporary art alike.
Figuring Faith and Female Power in the Art of Rubens argues that the Baroque painter, propagandist, and diplomat, Peter Paul Rubens, was not only aware of rapidly shifting religious and cultural attitudes toward women, but actively engaged in shaping them. Today, Rubens’s paintings continue to be used -- and abused -- to prescribe and proscribe certain forms of femininity. Repositioning some of the artist’s best-known works within seventeenth-century Catholic theology and female court culture, this book provides a feminist corrective to a body of art historical scholarship in which studies of gender and religion are often mutually exclusive. Moving chronologically through Rubens’s lengthy career, the author shows that, in relation to the powerful women in his life, Rubens figured the female form as a transhistorical carrier of meaning whose devotional and rhetorical efficacy was heightened rather than diminished by notions of female difference and particularity.
The first comprehensive catalogue of the Getty Museum’s significant collection of French Rococo ébénisterie furniture.
This catalogue focuses on French ébénisterie furniture in the Rococo style dating from 1735 to 1760. These splendid objects directly reflect the tastes of the Museum’s founder, J. Paul Getty, who started collecting in this area in 1938 and continued until his death in 1976.
The Museum’s collection is particularly rich in examples created by the most talented cabinet masters then active in Paris, including Bernard van Risenburgh II (after 1696–ca. 1766), Jacques Dubois (1694–1763), and Jean-François Oeben (1721–1763). Working for members of the French royal family and aristocracy, these craftsmen excelled at producing veneered and marquetried pieces of furniture (tables, cabinets, and chests of drawers) fashionable for their lavish surfaces, refined gilt-bronze mounts, and elaborate design. These objects were renowned throughout Europe at a time when Paris was considered the capital of good taste.
The entry on each work comprises both a curatorial section, with description and commentary, and a conservation report, with construction diagrams. An introduction by Anne-Lise Desmas traces the collection’s acquisition history, and two technical essays by Arlen Heginbotham present methodologies and findings on the analysis of gilt-bronze mounts and lacquer.
The Life and Work of Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757): The Queen of Pastel is the first extensive biographical narrative in English of Rosalba Carriera. It is also the first scholarly investigation of the external and internal factors that helped to create this female painter's unique career in eighteenth-century Europe. It documents the difficulties, complications, and consequences that arose then -- and can also arise today -- when a woman decides to become an independent artist. This book contributes a new, in-depth analysis of the interplay between society's expectations, generally accepted codices for gendered behaviour, and one single female painter's astute strategies for achieving success, as well as autonomy in her professional life as a famed artist. Some of the questions that the author raises are: How did Carriera manage to build up her career? How did she run her business and organize her own workshop? What kind of artist was Carriera? Finally, what do her self-portraits reveal in terms of self-enactment and possibly autobiographical turning points?
Romeyn de Hooghe was the most inventive and prolific etcher of the later Dutch Golden Age. The producer of wide-ranging book illustrations, newsprints, allegories, and satire, he is best known as the chief propaganda artist working for stadtholder and king William III. This study, the first book-length biography of de Hooghe, narrates how his reputation became badly tarnished when he was accused of pornography, fraud, larceny, and atheism. Traditionally regarded as a godless rogue, and more recently as an exponent of the Radical Enlightenment, de Hooghe emerges in this study as a successful entrepreneur, a social climber, and an Orangist spin doctor. A study in seventeenth-century political culture and patronage, focusing on spin and slander, this book explores how artists, politicians, and hacks employed literature and the visual arts in political discourse, and tried to capture their readership with satire, mockery, fun, and laughter.
This volume considers how ideas were made visible through the making of art and visual experience occasioned by reception during the long eighteenth century. The event that gave rise to the collection was the 15th David Nochol Smith Seminar in Eighteenth-Century Studies, which launched a new Australian and New Zealand Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. Two strands of interest are explored by the individual authors. The first four essays work with ideas about material objects and identity formation, suggesting how the artist's physical environment contributes to the sense of self, as a practicing artist or artisan, as an individual patron or collector, or as a woman or religious outsider. The last four essays address the intellectual work that can be expressed through or performed by objects. Through a consideration of the material formation of concepts, this book explores questions that are implicated by the need to see ideas in painted, sculpted, illustrated, and designed forms. In doing so, it introduces new visual materials and novel conceptual models into traditional accounts of the intellectual history of the Enlightenment.
Millions of paintings were produced in the Dutch Republic. The works that we currently know and see in museums constitute only the tip of the iceberg-the top-quality part. But what else was painted? This book explores the low-quality end of the seventeenth-century art market and outlines the significance of that production in the genre of history paintings, which in traditional art historical studies is usually linked to high prices, famous painters and elite buyers. Angela Jager analyses the producers, suppliers and consumers active in this segment to gain insight in this enormous market for cheap history paintings. What did the supply consist of in terms of quantity, quality, price and subject? Who produced all these works and which production methods did these painters employ? Who distributed these paintings, to whom, and which strategies were used to market them? Who bought these paintings, and why?
Today most of us enjoy the work of famed Renaissance artist Michelangelo by perusing art books or strolling along the galleries of a museum—and the luckier of us have had a chance to see his extraordinary frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But as Bernadine Barnes shows in this book, even a visit to a well-preserved historical sight doesn’t quite afford the experience the artist intended us to have. Bringing together the latest historical research, she offers us an accurate account of how Michelangelo’s art would have been seen in its own time.
As Barnes shows, Michelangelo’s works were made to be viewed in churches, homes, and political settings, by people who brought their own specific needs and expectations to them. Rarely were his paintings and sculptures viewed in quiet isolation—as we might today in the stark halls of a museum. Instead, they were an integral part of ritual and ceremonies, and viewers would have experienced them under specific lighting conditions and from particular vantages; they would have moved through spaces in particular ways and been compelled to relate various works with others nearby. Reconstructing some of the settings in which Michelangelo’s works appeared, Barnes reassembles these experiences for the modern viewer. Moving throughout his career, she considers how his audience changed, and how this led him to produce works for different purposes, sometimes for conventional religious settings, but sometimes for more open-minded patrons. She also shows how the development of print and art criticism changed the nature of the viewing public, further altering the dynamics between artist and audience.
Historically attuned, this book encourages today’s viewers to take a fresh look at this iconic artist, seeing his work as they were truly meant to be seen.
Thomas Wijck’s painted alchemical laboratories were celebrated in his day as "artful" and "ingenious." They fell into obscurity along withtheir subject, as alchemy came to be viewed as an occult art or a fool’s errand. But these unusual pictures challenge our understanding of early modern alchemy-and of the deeper relationship between chemical workshops and the artists who represented them. The work of artists, like the work of alchemists, contained intellectual-creative and manual-material aspects. Both alchemists and artists claimed a special status owing to their creative powers. Wijck’s formation of an artistic and professional identity around alchemical themes reveals his desire to explore this curious territory, and ultimately to demonstrate art’s superior claims to knowledge and mastery over nature. This book explores one artist’s transformation of alchemy and its materials into a reputation for virtuosity-and what his work can teach us about the experimental early modern world.
Poussin’s Women: Sex and Gender in the Artist’s Works examines the paintings and drawings of the well-known seventeenth-century French painter Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) from a gender studies perspective, focusing on a critical analysis of his representations of women. The book’s thematic chapters investigate Poussin’s women in their roles as predators, as lustful or the objects of lust, as lovers, killers, victims, heroines, or models of virtue. Poussin’s paintings reflect issues of gender within his social situation as he consciously or unconsciously articulated its conflicts and assumptions. A gender studies approach brings to light new critical insights that illuminate how the artist represented women, both positively and negatively, within the framework in his seventeenth-century culture. This book covers the artist’s works from Classical mythology, Roman history, Tasso, and the Bible. It serves as a good overview of Poussin as an artist, discussing the latest research and including new interpretations of his major works.
Redefining Eclecticism in Early Modern Bolognese Painting. Ideology, Practice, and Criticism focuses on the unique nature of early modern Bolognese painting that found its expression in stylistic diversity. The flourishing of different stylistic approaches in the Mannerist paintings of the previous generation evolved, at the turn the seventeenth century, in the work of the Bolognese painters into an approach best described as eclecticism, characterized by the combination of two or more styles in a single work of art. Eclectism was a major innovation and major contribution to the history of art. But it then also became a critical term that suffered much negative press. The book therefore also traces the role of ecclecticism as a concept in the evolution of criticism and scholarship about the Bolognese school of painting over 250 years, showing how the dramatically vacillating attitudes towards this concept shaped the historical view of the Bolognese painters, ultimately having a tremendous dampening impact on our understanding of seventeenth-century art.
These ground-breaking essays, all based on original archival research, consider the evolving interest in Bolognese art in seventeenth-century Italy, particularly focusing on the period after the death of Guido Reni in 1642. Edited by Bolognese specialists Raffaella Morselli and Babette Bohn, the studies collected here focus on the taste for Bolognese art within Bologna itself and in other parts of the Italian peninsula, including Mantua, Ferrara, Rome, and Florence. Essays examine the roles of gender, class, and the social status of the artist in early modern Bologna; approaches to exhibiting artworks in noble Bolognese collections; the reputations of local women artists; the popularity of Bolognese quadratura painting; and the relative success of both contemporary and earlier Bolognese artists with Italian collectors.
Leo Steinberg was one of the most original art historians of the twentieth century, known for taking interpretive risks that challenged the profession by overturning reigning orthodoxies. In essays and lectures ranging from old masters to contemporary art, he combined scholarly erudition with an eloquent prose that illuminated his subject and a credo that privileged the visual evidence of the image over the literature written about it. His writings, sometimes provocative and controversial, remain vital and influential reading. Steinberg’s perceptions evolved from long, hard looking at his objects of study. Almost everything he wrote included passages of formal analysis, but always put into the service of interpretation.
This volume begins and ends with thematic essays on two fundamental precepts of Steinberg’s art history: how dependence on textual authority mutes the visual truths of images and why artists routinely copy or adapt earlier artworks. In between are fourteen chapters on masterpieces of renaissance and baroque art, with bold and enlightening interpretations of works by Mantegna, Filippo Lippi, Pontormo, El Greco, Caravaggio, Steen and, finally, Velázquez. Four chapters are devoted to some of Velázquez’s best-known paintings, ending with the famously enigmatic Las Meninas.
Renaissance and Baroque Art is the third volume in a series that presents Steinberg’s writings, selected and edited by his longtime associate Sheila Schwartz.
In drawing or painting from live models and real landscapes, more was at stake for artists in early modern Italy than achieving greater naturalism. To work with the model in front of your eyes, and to retain their identity in the finished work of art, had an impact on concepts of artistry and authorship, the authority of the image as a source of knowledge, the boundaries between repetition and invention, and even the relation of images to words. This book focuses on artists who worked in Italy, both native Italians and migrants from northern Europe. The practice of depicting from life became a self-conscious departure from the norms of Italian arts. In the context of court culture in Rome and Florence, works by artists ranging from Caravaggio to Claude Lorrain, Pieter van Laer to Jacques Callot, reveal new aspects of their artistic practice and its critical implications.
This book examines the reception in Latin America of prints designed by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, showing how colonial artists used such designs to create all manner of artworks and, in the process, forged new frameworks for artistic creativity.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) never crossed the Atlantic himself, but his impact in colonial Latin America was profound. Prints made after the Flemish artist’s designs were routinely sent from Europe to the Spanish Americas, where artists used them to make all manner of objects.
Rubens in Repeat is the first comprehensive study of this transatlantic phenomenon, despite broad recognition that it was one of the most important forces to shape the artistic landscapes of the region. Copying, particularly in colonial contexts, has traditionally held negative implications that have discouraged its serious exploration. Yet analyzing the interpretation of printed sources and recontextualizing the resulting works within period discourse and their original spaces of display allow a new critical reassessment of this broad category of art produced in colonial Latin America—art that has all too easily been dismissed as derivative and thus unworthy of sustained interest and investigation. This book takes a new approach to the paradigms of artistic authorship that emerged alongside these complex creative responses, focusing on the viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It argues that the use of European prints was an essential component of the very framework in which colonial artists forged ideas about what it meant to be a creator.
Shapely Bodies: The Image of Porcelain in Eighteenth-Century France constructs the first cultural history of porcelain making in France. It takes its title from two types of “bodies” treated in this study: the craft of porcelain making shaped clods of earth into a clay body to produce high-end commodities and the French elite shaped human bodies into social subjects with the help of makeup, stylish patterns, and accessories. These practices crossed paths in the work of artisans, whose luxury objects reflected and also influenced the curves of fashion in the eighteenth century.
French artisans began trials to reproduce fine Chinese porcelain in the 1660s. The challenge proved impossible until they found an essential ingredient, kaolin, in French soil in the 1760s. Shapely Bodies differs from other studies of French porcelain in that it does not begin in the 1760s at the Sèvres manufactory when it became technically possible to produce fine porcelain in France, but instead ends there. Without the secret of Chinese porcelain, artisans in France turned to radical forms of experimentation. Over the first half of the eighteenth century, they invented artificial alternatives to Chinese porcelain, decorated them with French style, and, with equal determination, shaped an identity for their new trade that distanced it from traditional guild-crafts and aligned it with scientific invention. The back story of porcelain making before kaolin provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of artisanal innovation and cultural mythmaking.
To write artificial porcelain into a history of “real” porcelain dominated by China, Japan, and Meissen in Saxony, French porcelainiers learned to describe their new commodity in language that tapped into national pride and the mythic power of French savoir faire. Artificial porcelain cut such a fashionable image that by the mid-eighteenth century, Louis XV appropriated it for the glory of the crown. When the monarchy ended, revolutionaries reclaimed French porcelain, the fruit of a century of artisanal labor, for the Republic. Tracking how the porcelain arts were depicted in documents and visual arts during one hundred years of experimentation, Shapely Bodies reveals the politics behind the making of French porcelain’s image.
Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
*Still-Life as Portrait in Early Modern Italy* centers on the still-life compositions created by Evaristo Baschenis and Bartolomeo Bettera, two 17th-century painters living and working in the Italian city of Bergamo. This highly original study explores how these paintings form a dynamic network in which artworks, musical instruments, books, and scientific apparatuses constitute links to a dazzling range of figures and sources of knowledge. Putting into circulation a wealth of cultural information and ideas and mapping a complex web of social and intellectual relations, these works paint a portrait of both their creators and their patrons, while enacting a lively debate among humanist thinkers, aristocrats, politicians, and artists. The unique contribution of this groundbreaking study is that it identifies for the first time these intellectually rich concepts that arise from these fascinating still-life paintings, a genre considered as "low". Engaging with literary blockbusters and banned books, theatrical artifice and music, and staging a war among the arts, Baschenis and Bettera capture the latest social intrigues, political rivalries, intellectual challenges, and scientific innovations of their time. In doing so, they structure an unstable economy of social, aesthetic, and political values that questions the notion of absolute truth, while probing the distinctions between life and artifice, meaningless marks and meaningful signs.
Storytelling in Sixteenth-Century France is an innovative, interdisciplinary examination of parallels between the early modern era and the world in which we live today. Readers are invited to look to the past to see how then, as now, people turned to storytelling to integrate and adapt to rapid social change, to reinforce or restructure community, to sell new ideas, and to refashion the past. This collection explores different modalities of storytelling in sixteenth-century France and emphasizes shared techniques and themes rather than attempting to define narrow kinds of narrative categories. Through studies of storytelling in tapestries, stone, and music as well as distinct genres of historical, professional, and literary writing (addressing both erudite and more common readers), the contributors to this collection evoke a society in transition, wherein traditional techniques and materials were manipulated to express new realities.
Published by the University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
This richly illustrated volume, the first devoted to maritime art and galley slavery in early modern France, shows how royal propagandists used the image and labor of enslaved Muslims to glorify Louis XIV.
Mediterranean maritime art and the forced labor on which it depended were fundamental to the politics and propaganda of France’s King Louis XIV (r. 1643–1715). Yet most studies of French art in this period focus on Paris and Versailles, overlooking the presence or portrayal of galley slaves on the kingdom’s coasts. By examining a wide range of artistic productions—ship design, artillery sculpture, medals, paintings, and prints—Meredith Martin and Gillian Weiss uncover a vital aspect of royal representation and unsettle a standard picture of art and power in early modern France.
With an abundant selection of startling images, many never before published, The Sun King at Sea emphasizes the role of esclaves turcs (enslaved Turks)—rowers who were captured or purchased from Islamic lands—in building and decorating ships and other art objects that circulated on land and by sea to glorify the Crown. Challenging the notion that human bondage vanished from continental France, this cross-disciplinary volume invites a reassessment of servitude as a visible condition, mode of representation, and symbol of sovereignty during Louis XIV’s reign.
Marking the three hundredth anniversary of Jean Antoine Watteau’s death, this publication takes a close, revealing look at his recently rediscovered paintingLa Surprise.
The painting La Surprise by Jean Antoine Watteau (1684–1721) belongs to a new genre of painting invented by the artist himself—the fêtegalante. These works, which show graceful open-air gatherings filled with scenes of courtship, music and dance, strolling lovers, and actors, do not so much tell a story as set a mood: one of playful, wistful, nostalgic reverie. Esteemed by collectors in Watteau’s day as a work that showed the artist at the height of his skill and success, La Surprise vanished from public view in 1848, not to reemerge for more than a century and a half. Acquired by the Getty Museum in 2017, it has never before been the subject of a dedicated publication. Marking the three hundredth anniversary of Watteau’s death, this book considers La Surprise within the context of the artist’s oeuvre and discusses the surprising history of collecting Watteau in Los Angeles.
This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from November 23, 2021, to February 20, 2022.