Exhibition: Making the News in Eighteenth-Century France

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 18, 2011

From Carleton University:

Making the News in 18th-Century France
Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, 13 February – 15 April 2012

Curated by Stéphane Roy

In 18th-century France, the dramatic rise in the production and rapid dissemination of prints played a key role in the creation of modern political culture. Prints helped people grasp the nature of newsworthy events both near and far, covering a wide range of historical moments, from the taking of Québec City in 1759 or the storming of the Bastille in 1789, to seemingly anecdotal acts of virtue performed by members of the monarchy or everyday individuals. Despite (or because) of the variable time lag involved in their making, printed images shaped public opinion as much – if not more – than the printed word, giving visual and tangible meaning to abstract yet politically-charged ideas and concepts such as “tyranny” or “patriotism.” Making the News presents approximately 40 prints made in France from 1770 to 1820, looking at their representation of actual events and the ways in which they fashioned how the French perceived their own place in History. Woven into a narrative linking history and art history, literature and journalism, politics and image-making, these objects will shed new light on art and ideas in the era of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Bound to the possibilities of centuries-old printmaking techniques, the 18th-century public’s relation to visual information echoes, in many ways, our own experience in the digital age, concerned with access to and transformation of content. Making the News ultimately prompts us to examine our current practice of looking, understanding and consuming the news.

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