Enfilade

Conference Report | HECAA Session at UAAC

Posted in conferences (summary) by Editor on October 26, 2013

Christina Smylitopoulos (University of Guelph) reports that the first Canadian HECAA panel at UAAC last weekend in Banff went splendidly. Five speakers presented exceptional papers, and the discussions were rich and exciting—all framed by sublime mountains!

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Paul Holmquist, “Tying the Seductive Powers of Art to the Innate Rights of Man: The Architect as Legislator in the Ideal City of Chaux”

This paper examines the correlation between the Architect of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux’s ideal city of Chaux as set out in his L’Architecture…(1804) and the enigmatic figure of the Legislator in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s On the Social Contract (1762). I argue that Ledoux’s Architect acts analogously to the Legislator in aspiring to shape the moeurs or customary views, practices and ways of life of a people by adapting them to natural law in new institutions and architectural programs. The Architect, like the Legislator, must also rely upon persuasion rather than coercion for the efficacy of his new institutions, and make the good of the ‘legislation’ publicly appear in the expressive program of architecture parlante. This analysis will show that as such Ledoux’s architectural theory and vision for Chaux addressed key philosophical questions posed by Rousseau concerning the foundation of society in terms of nature, reason, sentiment, and the imagination.

Alena Robin, “Being a Painter in Mexico City in 1735: Voices from the Archives”

In February 1735, Felipe Chacón, master painter and guilder in Mexico City, addressed the Royal Mint to recover his dues for the work he had been doing in different parts of the building. The document preserved in the National Archives in Mexico City is rich in descriptions of the now lost building. What could have been a simple monetary transaction did not, however, end there. The officers of the Mint contracted José de Ibarra and Nicolás Enríquez, also master painters, to evaluate Felipe Chacón’s work. Not satisfied with the first evaluation, the officers requested a second one. José de Ibarra and Nicolás Enríquez are painters that hold a significant place in the historiography of New Spanish painting. The name of Felipe Chacón is however unknown to this pictorial tradition. It is worth examining these documents to pause on what could mean being a painter in Mexico City in the eighteenth century.

Elizabeth Ranieri, “Trionfo della Fede sull’Eresia ad Opera dei Domenicani (1709) by Francesco Solimena: The Baroque Fresco as Medium for Epideictic Discourse”

Francesco Solimena’s sacristy fresco Trionfo della Fede sull’Eresia ad Opera dei Domenicani (1709) in the Neapolitan Church of San Domenico Maggiore follows the classical model of epideictic discourse by praising the virtues and the achievements of its Dominican patrons and audience. Solimena’s fresco is about the efforts of the Dominican order to educate the common people in order to eliminate heretical thought and behavior. The work was commissioned by the Dominican order for a Dominican audience; the patron-viewers of the fresco all have the same sex, educational level, religious affiliation, interests, and values. The virtues that are depicted in the fresco are Faith, Obedience, Poverty, Chastity, and Wisdom, all of which are valued by the Dominican order. The primary purpose of the fresco is to celebrate the virtues and achievements of the Dominicans, particularly the order’s historical and figurative triumph over heresy through the use of “faith” and “works.”

Diana Cheng, “Lord Chesterfield’s Boudoir: A Room without the Sulks”

The boudoir, as the early eighteenth-century writer Laurent Bordelon opined, was an apt description of the room where a married woman indulged in her dark, unreasonable moods. While the original intent of the nomenclature was to denigrate the undutiful wife, the boudoir was, on the contrary, a place without the sulks from the perspective of the inhabitant. Philip Dormer Stanhope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773), for one, considered his gilded arabesque boudoir at Chesterfield House the gayest room in England. The paper is a case study of this English aristocrat’s boudoir, highlighting its functional and decorative similarities and differences from a lady’s boudoir. It argues that the meaning and usage of the eighteenth-century boudoir, while seemingly varied depending on gender and class, was rooted in the desire of its inhabitant to re-stake the boundaries of social inter-dependencies and duties.

Ji Eun You, “Bringing the Revolution Home: Printed Fabric during the French Revolution, 1789–1795”

Between 1789 and 1795, the manufactories at Jouy-en-Josas and Nantes produced a small group of cotton fabrics printed with narrative and allegorical scenes of the French Revolution for interior furnishing. This paper explores the interpretive possibilities of these designs, with attention to the highly variable viewing experience that was contingent upon tactile interaction with the material through cutting, draping, and display. Simultaneously embracing and evading contemporary politics, the multiple viewings offered by the printed fabrics represent the period when radical political discourse compelled luxury decorative arts to renegotiate their places in French visual culture. My visual analysis of printed fabrics is joined to an investigation into the discursive and material context for luxury interior furnishings during the French Revolution. In doing so, I propose a way of rethinking the aesthetic experience of the French Revolution through decorative arts.

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