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Life drawing and the crisis of historia in French eighteenth-century painting

Publication ,  Journal Article
Caviglia, S
Published in: Art History
February 1, 2016

By the 1730s a new generation of French painters had developed a renewed understanding of history painting. This reconceptualization undermined the foundations of Albertian historia and the underpinnings it had for so long provided for the practice and theory of French grand genre. Representing fi gures defi ned by dramatic actions and narrative relationships between them was replaced by a mode of presenting fi gures in quieter states of bodily and psychological introspection. This naturally recalls Michael Frieds notion of absorption, used to defi ne a pictorial aesthetic that emerged in the mid-eighteenth century. This essay maps the earlier appearance of such absorptive states, where the valorization of inner mental activities coincided with a growing singularization of the fi gures within a composition. This phenomenon, it is argued, was the result of an evolution in the academic practice of life drawing. This led to an even-greater attention to the fi guration of the human body in painting as the manifestation of an interior state, becoming the central organizing principle of history painting.

Duke Scholars

Published In

Art History

DOI

EISSN

1467-8365

ISSN

0141-6790

Publication Date

February 1, 2016

Volume

39

Issue

1

Start / End Page

40 / 69

Related Subject Headings

  • Art Practice, History & Theory
  • 3601 Art history, theory and criticism
  • 2103 Historical Studies
  • 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts
  • 1901 Art Theory and Criticism
 

Citation

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Caviglia, S. (2016). Life drawing and the crisis of historia in French eighteenth-century painting. Art History, 39(1), 40–69. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8365.12206
Caviglia, S. “Life drawing and the crisis of historia in French eighteenth-century painting.” Art History 39, no. 1 (February 1, 2016): 40–69. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8365.12206.
Caviglia S. Life drawing and the crisis of historia in French eighteenth-century painting. Art History. 2016 Feb 1;39(1):40–69.
Caviglia, S. “Life drawing and the crisis of historia in French eighteenth-century painting.” Art History, vol. 39, no. 1, Feb. 2016, pp. 40–69. Scopus, doi:10.1111/1467-8365.12206.
Caviglia S. Life drawing and the crisis of historia in French eighteenth-century painting. Art History. 2016 Feb 1;39(1):40–69.
Journal cover image

Published In

Art History

DOI

EISSN

1467-8365

ISSN

0141-6790

Publication Date

February 1, 2016

Volume

39

Issue

1

Start / End Page

40 / 69

Related Subject Headings

  • Art Practice, History & Theory
  • 3601 Art history, theory and criticism
  • 2103 Historical Studies
  • 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts
  • 1901 Art Theory and Criticism