Enfilade

Exhibition | A Civic Utopia: France 1760–1840

Posted in exhibitions by InternRW on July 14, 2016

The display is part of Somerset House’s larger celebration Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, marking the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s inspirational text, Utopia—with a varied and vibrant programme of special events, exhibitions, new commissions, and activities across the entire site, spanning the realms of art, literature, society, fashion, design, architecture, theatre, and film.

A Civic Utopia: France 1760–1840
The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 8 October 2016 — 8 January 2017

Curated by Nicholas Olsberg

Jean Charles Delafosse, Project for a Prison (exterior view, rear), 18th century (London: Courtauld Institute of Art)

Jean Charles Delafosse, Project for a Prison (exterior view, rear), 18th century (London: Courtauld Institute of Art)

A Civic Utopia: France 1760–1840  examines the place of architecture in establishing the notion of public life. Bringing together a number of drawings of public buildings and spaces from the late Ancien Régime through to the early years of King Louis-Philippe in France, the display explores the idea of a ‘scientific’ city, in which rational and symbolic expressions of civic life established a pattern for the improvement of society. If Utopia is defined as the imagining of a comprehensive ideal system or pattern of civil organisation, then we can see this French vision as utopian, in which public places and buildings function to encourage the moral character of society.

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