ART, SEX AND DEATH: FROM THE SUN KING TO THE FIRST EMPIRE
In this module, we will begin with the opulence and decadence of the court of Louis XIV at Versailles, move towards the violent post-revolutionary world of the Terror, and end with the ambitious First Empire of Napoleon. We will examine the intersection of the Rococo and the society that produced it, which was both literary and debauched. We will look at why Marie Antoinette was so despised and the reasons for the French Revolution. We will focus on painters such as Jacques-Louis David, a Neo-Classicist whose image-making helped to shape Republican ideals and later to build an empire. He and others understood the power of images to motivate the masses—this led to both patriotic parades and the creation of the Louvre. Sex and death were constant themes of the art of the period we will be examining, which spans roughly from the middle of the seventeenth century to the first quarter of the nineteenth.