Chardin at the Edge of Belief: Overlooked Issues of Religion and Dissent in Eighteenth-Century French Painting
John Barrell taught a generation to think about British art of the eighteenth century within the interplay of deep assumptions about civic virtue, its carriers and its responsibilities. The Political Theory of Painting told a complex story and one that was new to most of its readers, even those well-versed in the intellectual, political and art history of the period.1 It also represented a challenge to art historians, in that the ideological staging ground that Barrell situated in the century’s early decades preceded its realization in paint on canvas. Ritual protestations about the primacy of ‘the object’ proved no defense against the implicit demands of history that scholarship first meet the standard of textual interpretation that Barrell had established as necessary for an adequate grasp of eighteenth-century British art.
KeywordsCivic Virtue History Painter Public Exhibition Established Church Adequate Grasp
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