New Book | Crowning Glories

Posted in books by Editor on September 20, 2019

From the University of Toronto Press:

Harriet Stone, Crowning Glories: Netherlandish Realism and the French Imagination during the Reign of Louis XIV (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019), 312 pages, ISBN 978-1487504427, $70.

Crowning Glories integrates Louis XIV’s propaganda campaigns, the transmission of Northern art into France, and the rise of empiricism in the eighteenth century—three historical touchstones—to examine what it would have meant for France’s elite to experience the arts in France simultaneously with Netherlandish realist painting. In an expansive study of cultural life under the Sun King, Harriet Stone considers the monarchy’s elaborate palace decors, the court’s official records, and the classical theatre alongside Northern images of daily life in private homes, urban markets, and country fields.

Stone argues that Netherlandish art assumes an unobtrusive yet, for the history of ideas, surprisingly dramatic role within the flourishing of the arts, both visual and textual, in France during Louis XIV’s reign. Netherlandish realist art represented thinking about knowledge that challenged the monarchy’s hold on the French imagination, and its efforts to impose the king’s portrait as an ideal and proof of his authority. As objects appreciated for their aesthetic and market value, Northern realist paintings assumed an uncontroversial place in French royal and elite collections. Flemish and Dutch still lifes, genre paintings, and cityscapes, however, were not merely accoutrements of power, acquisitions made by those with influence and money. Crowning Glories reveals how the empirical orientation of Netherlandish realism exposed French court society to a radically different mode of thought, one that would gain full expression in the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert.

Harriet Stone is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis.


List of Images

Introduction: Hiding in Plain Sight

Part I: Divergent Patterns
1  Two Models in Context: Northern Realist Art in France
2  France at the Intersection: Configuring the French Response to Northern Realism

Part II: Transformations
3  Fractured Spaces: Staging the King’s Portrait
4  In Death as in Life

Part III: Patterns of Change
5  The Great Reveal
6  Legacies

Coda: Trompe l’oeil Illusions and the Thoughts They Inspire

Works Cited

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