New Book | Painting and Narrative in France

Posted in books by Editor on November 13, 2016

From Routledge:

Peter Cooke and Nina Lübbren, eds., Painting and Narrative in France, from Poussin to Gauguin (New York: Routledge, 2016), 218 pages, ISBN: 978-1472440105, $150.

4146cn7l8ll-_sx333_bo1204203200_Before Modernism, narrative painting was one of the most acclaimed and challenging modes of picture-making in Western art; yet, by the early twentieth century storytelling had all but disappeared from ambitious art. France was a key player in both the dramatic rise and the controversial demise of narrative art. This is the first book to analyse French painting in relation to narrative, from Poussin in the early seventeenth to Gauguin in the late nineteenth century. Thirteen original essays shed light on key moments and aspects of narrative and French painting through the study of artists such as Nicolas Poussin, Charles Le Brun, Jacques-Louis David, Paul Delaroche, Gustave Moreau, and Paul Gauguin. Using a range of theoretical perspectives, the authors study key issues such as temporality, theatricality, word-and-image relations, the narrative function of inanimate objects, the role played by viewers, and the ways in which visual narrative has been bound up with history painting. The book offers a fresh look at familiar material, as well as studying some little-known works of art, and reveals the centrality and complexity of narrative in French painting over three centuries.

Peter Cooke is Senior Lecturer in French Studies at the University of Manchester. His most recent book is Gustave Moreau: History Painting, Spirituality and Symbolism.
Nina Lübbren is Art Historian and Principal Lecturer in Film Studies, and Deputy Head of Department of English, Communication, Film and Media, Anglia Ruskin University.

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List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Narrativity and (French) Painting, Peter Cooke and Nina Lübbren

I. Ancien Régime
1  Units of Vision and Narrative Structures: Upon Reading Poussin’s Manna, Claudine Mitchell
2  Figures of Narration in the Context of a Painted Cycle: The North Bays of the Grande Galerie at Versailles, Marianne Cojannot-Le Blanc
3  The Crisis of Narration in Eighteenth-Century French History Painting, Susanna Caviglia
4  Obscure, Capricious, and Bizarre: Neoclassical Painting and the Choice of Subject, Mark Ledbury

II. Restoration and July Monarchy
5  Delacroix and ‘The Work of the Reader’, Beth S. Wright
6  Narrative and History in Léopold Robert’s Arrival of the Harvesters in the Pontine Marshes, Richard Wrigley
7  Narrative Strategies in Paul Delaroche’s Assassination of the Duc de Guise, Patricia Smyth

III. Second Empire and Third Republic
8  Eloquent Objects: Gérôme, Laurens, and the Art of Inanimate Narration, Nina Lubbren
9  Tyrannical Inopportunity: Gustave Moreau’s Anti-narrative Strategies, Scott C. Allan
10 Theatricality versus Anti-Theatricality: Narrative Techniques in French History Painting (1850−1900), Pierre Sérié
11 The Conflicted Status of Narrative in the Art of Paul Gauguin, Belinda Thomson

IV. Key Issues of Pictorial Narrative
12 Narrativity, Temporality and Allegorisation, from Poussin to Moreau, Peter Cooke
13 Towards a Study of Narration in Painting: The Early Modern Period, Étienne Jollet



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