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Title:On shifting ground: the revolutionary career of Francois Gerard
Author(s):Langworthy, Jennifer
Director of Research:O'Brien, David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):O'Brien, David
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Rosenthal, Lisa; Vázquez, Oscar E.; Greenhill, Jennifer
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Francois Gerard
French Portraiture
French Revolutionary Art
Davidian Art
Abstract:This dissertation examines the career of François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (1770- 1837) from its beginnings in the mid-1780s through the end of the French Revolution and provides a more complete understanding of Gérard as a key artist of the Revolutionary decade. A goal of this study is to set aside long-standing assumptions concerning Gérard’s political convictions and doubts about his artistic originality in order to shed light on Gérard’s critical contributions to Revolutionary art, and in particular, to the Davidian school. I demonstrate that, in the 1790s, Gérard moved away from the subjects and styles forged in Jacques-Louis David’s (1748-1825) studio. Most significantly, he reinvented classicism as a vehicle for moderate political themes, he reintroduced apolitical, sexualized imagery into classicism, and he established an artistic practice in which the serious business of the history painter was thoroughly integrated with that of the high-society portraitist. To do this, Gérard developed new modes of classicism, experimented with the emergent subject matter of Romanticism, and and explored issues of gender and sexuality in uncommon ways. During the tumultuous decade of the Revolution, when political consensus was at best fleeting and the traditional institutions of the French art world faltered, Gérard’s political and artistic flexibility allowed him not only to escape many of the consequences suffered by politically committed artists, but also eventually to thrive as a leading painter of the society of the late Directory. His career provides an alternative case for understanding the interplay of art, politics, and patronage in late-eighteenth century France.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/42421
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Jennifer Langworthy
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12


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