Before Modernism, narrative painting was one of the most acclaimed and challenging modes of picture-making in Western art, yet by the early twentieth century storytelling had all but disappeared from ambitious art. France was a key player in both the dramatic rise and the controversial demise of narrative art. This is the first book to analyse French painting in relation to narrative, from Poussin in the early seventeenth to Gauguin in the late nineteenth century. Thirteen original essays shed light on key moments and aspects of narrative and French painting through the study of artists such as Nicolas Poussin, Charles Le Brun, Jacques-Louis David, Paul Delaroche, Gustave Moreau, and Paul Gauguin. Using a range of theoretical perspectives, the authors study key issues such as temporality, theatricality, word-and-image relations, the narrative function of inanimate objects, the role played by viewers, and the ways in which visual narrative has been bound up with history painting. The book offers a fresh look at familiar material, as well as studying some little-known works of art, and reveals the centrality and complexity of narrative in French painting over the course of three centuries.
, Nina Lubbren
Country of Publication:
Series: Studies in Art Historiography
23 May 2019
Contents List of Figures vii Notes on Contributors xii Acknowledgements xv Introduction: Narrativity and (French) Painting Peter Cooke and Nina Lubbren Section I Ancien Regime 1 Units of Vision and Narrative Structures: Upon Reading Poussin's Manna Claudine Mitchell 2 Figures of Narration in the Context of a Painted Cycle: The North Bays of the Grande Galerie at Versailles Marianne Cojannot-Le Blanc 3 The Crisis of Narration in Eighteenth-century French History Painting Susanna Caviglia 4 Obscure, Capricious and Bizarre: Neoclassical Painting and the Choice of Subject Mark Ledbury SECTION II Restoration and July Monarchy 5 Delacroix and 'The Work of the Reader' Beth S. Wright 6 Narrative and History in Leopold Robert's Arrival of the Harvesters in the Pontine Marshes Richard Wrigley 7 Narrative Strategies in Paul Delaroche's Assassination of the Duc de Guise Patricia Smyth SECTION III Second Empire and Third Republic 8 Eloquent Objects: Gerome, Laurens and the Art of Inanimate Narration Nina Lubbren 9 Tyrannical Inopportunity: Gustave Moreau's Anti-narrative Strategies Scott C. Allan 10 Theatricality Versus Anti-Theatricality: Narrative Techniques in French History Painting (1850 1900) Pierre Serie 11 The Conflicted Status of Narrative in the Art of Paul Gauguin Belinda Thomson SECTION IV Key Issues of Pictorial Narrative 12 Narrativity, Temporality and Allegorisation, from Poussin to Moreau Peter Cooke 13 Towards a Study of Narration in Painting: The Early Modern Period Etienne Jollet Index
Peter Cooke is Senior Lecturer in French Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. His most recent book is Gustave Moreau: History Painting, Spirituality and Symbolism. Nina Lubbren is Art Historian and Principal Lecturer in Film Studies, and Deputy Head of Department of English, Communication, Film and Media, Anglia Ruskin University, UK.
Reviews for Painting and Narrative in France, from Poussin to Gauguin
As long as art is made for storytelling creatures, it is by telling good stories about it that we will understand it best, and this fine book contributes to that humanistic practice. - Andrei Pop, University of Chicago