Exhibition | Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 6, 2023

Claude Gillot, Scene of the Two Carriages / Les Deux carrosses, ca. 1710–12, oil on canvas, 127 × 160 cm
(Paris: Musée du Louvre, RF2405)

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Now on view at The Morgan:

Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 24 February — 28 May 2023

Curated by Jennifer Tonkovich

Around 1700, as an increasingly pious Louis XIV withdrew to Versailles, Paris flourished. The dynamic artistic scene included specialists such as Claude Gillot (1673–1722) who forged a career largely outside of the Royal Academy, designing everything from opera costumes to tapestries.

Known primarily as a draftsman, Gillot specialized in scenes of satire. He found his subjects among the irreverent commedia dell’arte performances at fairground theaters, in the writings of satirists who waged the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns, and in the antics of vice-ridden satyrs whose bacchanals exposed human folly. Gillot’s amusing critiques and rational perspective heralded the advent of the Age of Reason while his innovative approach attracted the most talented artists of the next generation, Antoine Watteau and Nicolas Lancret, to his studio.

With over seventy drawings, prints, and paintings, including an exceptional contingent from the Louvre, Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason explores the artist’s inventive and highly original draftsmanship and places his work in the context of the artistic and intellectual activity in Paris at the dawn of a new century.

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition, published by Paul Holberton, will provide the first comprehensive account of Gillot’s career.

Jennifer Tonkovich, Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason (London: Paul Holberton, 2023), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-1913645373, $60.


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