First published 2011 in the USA and Canada by Routledge 711 Third Ave, New York, NY 10017 Simultaneously published in the UK by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2011 Michelle Facos The right of Michelle Facos to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Contents List of Figures . x Acknowledgments . xxvi Introduction . 1 Chapter 1: A Time of Transition 5 Social Critique . 6 Moral Reform . 8 Monarch as Model . 11 Era of Change . 13 Age of Discovery . 14 Grand Tour . 16 Antiquity Becomes Fashionable . 19 Neoclassical Style . 23 Calm Grandeur in Dante . 25 Conclusion . 26 Chapter 2: Classical Influences and Radical Transformations 28 Neoclassicism in Britain . 28 Neoclassicism Becomes Popular . 33 The Elgin Marbles . 35 Homer Illustrations . 35 Political Instability in France . 37 D’Angiviller’s Reform Program . 38 Roman Virtue . 38 Neoclassical Eroticism . 44 Neoclassical Sculpture . 46 Neoclassicism in Denmark and the German States . 48 Conclusion . 51 Chapter 3: Re-presenting Contemporary History 52 Legitimizing Contemporary History . 52 Painting of Contemporary History in France . 55 Political Instability . 55 New Hero for a New Republic . 56 Equestrian Portraits: Rulers on Horseback . 58 Neoclassicism Made Ridiculous . 62 Legitimizing Bonaparte . 63 Transgressive History Painting . 66 Representing Republican Values . 69 Establishing Museums . 74 Conclusion . 76 Contents v.
List of Figures The below images have been reproduced with kind permission. Whilst every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and obtain permission, this has not been possible in all cases. Any omissions brought to our attention will be remedied in future editions.
Acknowledgments M y passion for history was ignited by the inspiring history-teacher brothers Doug and Lyall Stewart. It was sustained in college by Jerry Townsend and Michael Haltzel, and given direction by Kirk Varnedoe, whose nineteenth- century art history course at Columbia University established the trajectory of my career. At New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts I was privileged also to have studied with H.W. Janson, Robert Rosenblum, and Gert Schiff, formidable scholars of nineteenth-century art who shaped my ideas in important ways, even if methodologically I found greater inspiration in the scholarship of Albert Boime, T.J. Clark, Robert Herbert, and Eric Hobsbawm. Over the years, my ideas about art and history have benefitted immensely from exchanges with colleagues including Patricia Ashton, Patricia G. Berman, Emily D. Bilksi, Hans-Olof Boström, Katarina Brandes, Anna Brzyski, Karen Churchill, Björn Fredlund, Nina Gourianova, Beth Harris, Jürgen Jüpner, Michelle Kaiserlian, Kenneth Ledford, Steven Mansbach, Thor J. Mednick, Kasper Monrad, Marsha Morton, Joan Pachner, Carmen Popescu, Svetlana Rakic, Janet Rauscher, Christopher Reed, Alan Rocke, John Rowland, Kathleen Sagmeister- Fox, Alexis Smith, Dror Wahrman, and Michael Zimmermann. The questions of my students at Case Western Reserve University and Indiana University, Bloomington were the direct inspiration for this book. I am deeply appreciative of the comments on chapter drafts made by numerous anonymous readers, as well as by Charlotte Ashby, Lucy Bowditch, Elizabeth Childs, Claude H. Cookman, Davor Dzalto, David Ehrenpris, Marc S. Gerstein, Anne Helmreich, Lisa Kurzner, Elizabeth Mansfield, Emanuel J. Mickel, Bogdan Rakic, Johathan Ribner, Jennifer Shaw, and Terri Switzer. The text has improved immensely due to their careful readings, insights, and suggestions, although the book’s shortcomings are entirely mine. Louise Arizzoli, Kathryn Bastin, Andrea Meyertholen, and Barbara Weindling generously advised on translations from French and German. Essential research assistance was provided by numerous individuals and institutions. I owe a particular debt of gratitude to Mary Buechley, Karin Byggmark, Roger Crum, Kaj Hällquist, Kalle Nässlund, Bart Pushaw, Tony White, and the capable staffs of the university libraries in Hamburg, Göttingen, Växjö, and Bloomington, IN. I spent many happy hours researching in numerous archives and libraries, including the Royal Library and the Nationalmuseum library in Stockholm, the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen, the State Library in Berlin and the Bavarian State Library in Munich, the library of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the British Library in London, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In moments of need, helpful information was also provided by colleagues near and far: George Alter, Susan Brodie, Christiane Gruber, Carrie Haslett, Giles Knox, Svetozar Koljevic, Lauren Lessing, Andrei Molotiu, Elyce Rotella, Jon Small, Margo Stavros, Patricia Trutty-Coohill, Julie van Voorhis, David Wilkins, and Elizabeth Zammiello. My multi- talented husband, Per Nordahl, helped with research, photography, creation of data boxes, and technical aspects of the website, and my daughter, Hanna Francis, aided xxvi Acknowledgments.
Introduction T here is no single story of nineteenth-century art, although a canon (dominant narrative) developed in the twentieth century that gives the impression that there is. This canon emphasizes French art to the near exclusion of art produced elsewhere in Europe. Artists from Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe and Scandinavia are generally omitted from histories of nineteenth-century art in any meaningful way because they are not considered significant contributors to the canonical development of art. This (modernist) canon holds that abstraction is superior to other forms of visual expression. Artworks that appear to lead toward that become part of the canon and those that do not are excluded. The modernist canon originated in the early twentieth century with German art historians who had a very specific ideological purpose. Their purpose was partly anti- establishment; the German government officially endorsed precisely detailed realism, clear narratives, and obedience to the laws of perspective because they considered this style Germanic. Painting in a highly subjective way (as the Impressionists did) was coded French, and undesirable, due in part to Franco-Germanic rivalry in the nineteenth century. But the preference of these German art historians for anti- establishment trends also grew from a desire to promote internationalism over nationalism, and freedom over regulation. The skewed historical perspective that resulted was rarely questioned and became accepted as true. Thousands of artworks considered beautiful, influential, and important at the time of their creation (and even by subsequent generations) vanished from history. Later art historians who believed in art’s inevitable evolution from naturalism to abstraction perpetuated the modernist canon. It supported their preference for artworks that were non-referential and asserted an art object’s material properties (size, shape, color, relationship to space).
ch a p t e r 1 A Time of Transition T hese portraits of the Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot (Figure 1.1) and the sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (Figure 1.2) illustrate the important role played by both rational (intellectual) and irrational (intuitive) forces in the story of nineteenth-century art. Both men tried to understand their world—Diderot, by collecting the sum of human knowledge into the world’s first encyclopedia, to which Thomas Jefferson and others contributed (28 volumes, 1751–72), and by carefully describing, analyzing, and categorizing the visible world. Messerschmidt (1736–83) recorded outward evidence of inner psycho-emotional conditions in 64 sculptured self-portraits, assuming that invisible forces had visible manifestations. Messerschmidt made such faces in order to rid himself of “demons” that invaded his psyche regularly after an illness in 1774. Having devised a successful system of self-healing based on an empirical method, Messerschmidt created these sculptures as models to help others suffering from the same problem. While Messerschmidt’s Intentional Fool may seem the zany antithesis of the thoughtful Diderot, considering the two together suggests that the search for truth and understanding can take a variety of paths. Figure 1.1 Figure 1.2 Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, Denis Diderot, 1777. Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, Intentional Fool, Bronze, 52 × 35 × 25 cm (20½ × 13¾ × 9¾ c. 1780. Alabaster, life-size. Belvedere, Vienna.
Despite their differences, Diderot and Messerschmidt exemplify the radical school of Enlightenment thought which informed the innovative modernist spirit in nineteenth-century art. For them, the world could be understood only through empirical observation and unbiased analysis; preconceptions hindered the discovery of truth. Radicals championed equality as the highest human value. They felt this could be achieved only by minimizing class, economic, national, and religious differences. Radical Enlightenment ideas, also referred to as la philosophie moderne, advocated freedom, equality, and solidarity (liberté, égalité, fraternité). They gained support as liberal Enlightenment ideas failed to achieve the reforms necessary to maintain social stability in France and the American colonies (Israel 2010: 17). Liberal Enlightenment thinkers considered existing European institutions (Christianity, monarchy, feudal system) and existing human differences (economic, intellectual, physical) part of a divine plan. They believed that reform and improvement should be gradual in order to preserve existing social and political structures, a position we would now label conservative. The Scottish economist Adam Smith, the English philosopher John Locke, and the French philosophers Voltaire and Jean- Jacques Rousseau championed liberal values, which were exemplified by England’s parliamentary democracy (since 1688). Liberal ideas, with their respect for authority and tradition, exerted greater influence on Rococo and Neoclassical art, while radical ideas shaped Romanticism. The eighteenth century was a complicated era with shifting alliances across economic, social, and political borders. The feudal system, with a hierarchy based on birth and land ownership, governed social and political relations. It divided society into three groups: nobility, clergy, and commoners (first, second, and third estates). Each nation-state had an official church and often prohibited other faiths. In France, for instance, Protestantism was illegal between 1685 and 1787. Schools were run by the church and charged fees; few members of the third estate were educated. In addition, members of the first and third estates often had differing or conflicting interests. The king and the aristocracy often vied for control and the third estate was extremely heterogeneous. The third estate, further divided into the (affluent) bourgeoisie and peasants, included financiers, merchants, industrialists, writers, artisans, servants, and farmers. Because social status could be improved only by marriage or favoritism, maneuvering to attract the patronage of powerful individuals was perhaps the Engraving century’s most compelling source of motivation.