Paul Revere, after Henry Pelham. The Bloody Massacre . 1770. 8-15/16" × 10-3/16”.
Map: America in 1763.
John Trumbull. The Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776 . 1786-97. 21-1/8" × 31-1/8”.
What do the American and French Revolutions have in common? How do they differ? The idea of human freedom was fundamental to the Enlightenment, finding two of its greatest expressions in the Declaration of Independence, ratified by the 13 colonies on July 4, 1776, and, in France, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, passed by the National Assembly in August 1789. Jefferson’s argument that the American colonies should be self-governing was preceded by British taxation of the colonies. In France, the national debt, and taxes associated with paying it, produced events leading to revolution. What do you think accounts for the fact that in America, revolution was followed with relative stability, while in France, chaos and terror followed?
To Versailles, to Versailles, 5 October 1789. 1789.
Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson. Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Bellay, Deputy from Santo Domingo . 1797. 63" × 45”.
Jacques-Louis David. The Death of Marat . 1793. 65" × 50-1/2”.
While the rights of “man” had been boldly asserted in both the American and French revolutions, the rights of women had been ignored. In France, Olympe de Gouges wrote a Declaration of the Rights of Women, for which she was sent to the guillotine. In England, Mary Wollstonecraft quickly followed with A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. For Wollstonecraft, how were women in eighteenth century society equivalent to African slaves?
The founders of the newly created United States modeled their republic on classical precedents and embraced Neoclassicism as an architectural style. What specific aspects of Neoclassical art and architecture attracted Thomas Jefferson to the Neoclassical style? Why did it become known in America as the “Federal style,” and why did it seem so appropriate for governmental architecture? In France, Jacques-Louis David, the premier painter of the day, readily adopted the style in his painting The Oath of the Horatii, in which he champions heroism and personal sacrifice for the state. How do “gender politics” inform David’s painting? How do they compare to David’s treatment of similar issues in The Lictors Returning to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons and Angelica Kauffmann’s treatment of gender in Cornelia Pointing to Her Children as Her Treasures?
Robert Adam. Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, England: South front. ca. 1765-70. 67' × 42’.
Robert Adam. Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, England: Interior, Marble Hall. ca. 1765-70.
John Flaxman. Wedgwood Vase, made by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, Etruria/Staffordshire, England. ca. 1780-1800. Height: 6-1/2" Diameter: 5-1/8”.
Thomas Jefferson. Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia: Entrance façade, with colonnade. 1770-84; 1796-1806.
Thomas Jefferson. Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia: Dining room, with Wedgwood reliefs decorating mantel. 1770-84; 1796-1806.
Benjamin Henry Latrobe. View of Richmond showing Jefferson’s Capitol from Washington Island. 1796. 7" × 10-3/8”.
Roman. Maison Carrée, Nîmes, France. Early second century CE.
Pierre-Charles L’Enfant. Plan for Washington, D.C. (detail), published in the Gazette of the United States , Philadelphia, January 4, 1792. 1791.
Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Tobacco leaf capital for the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., Senate wing. ca. 1815.
Jean-Antoine Houdon. Standing portrait of George Washington . 1788. Lifesize.
Jacques-Louis David. The Oath of the Horatii . 1784-85. 10’ 10" × 13’ 11-1/2”.
Angelica Kauffmann. Cornelia Pointing to Her Children as Her Treasures . Signed on base of column at right: Angelika Kauffmann pinx. ca. 1785. 40" × 50”.
Jacques-Louis David. Closer Look: David's The Lictors Returning to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons . Detail: Feet of Brutus. 1789. 10’ 7-1/4" × 13’ 10-1/4”.
Jacques-Louis David. Closer Look: David's The Lictors Returning to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons . Detail. 1789. 10’ 7-1/4" × 13’ 10-1/4”.
Jacques-Louis David. Closer Look: David's The Lictors Returning to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons . 1789. 10’ 7-1/4" × 13’ 10-1/4”.
Map: Napoleonic Europe in 1807.
As Napoleon took greater and greater control of French political life in the opening decade of the nineteenth century, he turned to antiquity, modeling his government particularly upon the military and political structures of the Roman Empire. He commissioned paintings of himself that served the propagandistic purpose of cementing his image as an invincible, nearly godlike leader. In what ways is David’s Napoleon Crossing the Saint- Bernard a work of propaganda? How does Ingres’s Napoleon on His Imperial Throne continue this propagandistic tradition? Convinced that Paris was the new Rome, Napoleon commissioned architectural monuments based on Roman precedents. He hired the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova to celebrate his being named consul for life. How did Canova’s Neoclassicism impress Napoleon?
Jacques-Louis David. Napoleon crossing the Saint-Bernard Pass . 1800-01. 8’ 11" × 7’ 7”.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Napoleon on his Imperial Throne . 1806. 102" × 64”.
Antonio Canova. Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker . 1802-06. Height: 10'8”.
Antonio Canova. Paolina Borghese as Venus . 1808. Lifesize.
Autobiographical and fictional accounts of slavery intensified abolitionist sentiments in both Europe and North America. Olaudah Equiano exposed the conditions on board slave ships in his Travels, and John Gabriel Stedman revealed the shocking treatment of slaves in Guiana. The black poet Phillis Wheatley accepted her plight as divinely ordained, while novelist and playwright Aphra Behn, in Oroonoko, the first English novel to show blacks in a sympathetic light, identified with her hero’s oppression despite her own sense of racial superiority. By 1700, England had become the largest trafficker of slaves in the world, and its own economy depended heavily on the trade. In what ways does John Singleton Copley’s painting Watson and the Shark reflect the issues raised by slavery? How did African slaves, despite their circumstances, adapt the cultures of their native lands to their American conditions?
Map: The slave trade triangle.
Stowage of the British Slave Ship “Brookes” under the Regulated Slave Trade (Act of 1788) .
William Blake. Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows, from John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Slaves of Surinam . 1796.
William Blake. A Surinam Planter in his Morning Dress, from John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Slaves of Surinam . 1796.
William Hackwood, for Josiah Wedgwood. “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” . 1787. 1-3/8" × 1-3/8”.
John Singleton Copley. Watson and the Shark . 1778. 71-3/4" × 90-1/2”.
Thomas Coram. View of Mulberry House and Street . ca. 1800.
Antoine-Jean Gros. Napoleon at Eylau . 1808. 17’ 5-1/2" × 26’ 3”.
The American and French RevolutionsWhat do the American and French Revolutions have in common?How do they differ?• The Road to Revolt in America: War and Taxation — Afterthe Seven Years’ War, Britain taxed the colonies to an intolerabledegree resulting in the Boston Tea Party which, in turn, led to theIntolerable Acts. The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia.Shots fired at Lexington and Concord led to the Second ContinentalCongress created the Continental Army. Thomas Paine publishedCommon Sense and the Declaration of Independence was ratified.• The Declaration of Independence — Thomas Jefferson was thechief drafter of the document and he was influenced by Locke’s TwoTreatises on Government, Rousseau’s Social Contract, and hiscolleagues. The Articles of Confederation were adopted a year afterthe Declaration of Independence.
• The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen — The nationaldebt had tripled by 1774 and King Louis XVI levied a uniform tax on alllanded property. The Estates General was composed of the clergy, thenobility, and the rest of the population who demanded greater clout.The National Assembly passed the Declaration of the Rights of ManCitizen that same year. The Jacobins supported the elimination of themonarchy; the Constitutional Convention declared France a republic.Enemies of the republic were executed by the Revolutionary Tribunal.Reforms were instituted. Jean-Paul Marat was assassinated. TheReign of Terror ended in 1794 and a constitution was passed in 1795
The Rights of WomanHow did women respond to the promise of revolution?• Olympe de Gouges: The Call of Universal Rights — She waspart of a group that called for more liberal divorce laws and a revision ofinheritance laws. Her essays Declaration of the Rights of Woman andthe Female Citizen and Social Contract were modeled on pamphletswritten by men. She was guillotined as a counterrevolutionary.• Mary Wollstonecraft: An Englishwoman’s Response to theFrench Revolution — She published A Vindication of the Rights ofWoman and History and Moral View of the origin and Progress of theFrench Revolution where she defended de Gouges. Wollstonecraftfashioned the main points of what would later become the liberalfeminist movement.• Discussion Question: Why do you think that women’s rights have to bedeclared separately from those of men? What specifically are thoserights?
The Neoclassical SpiritWhat is Neoclassicism?• Neoclassicism in Britain and America — America modeled theirrepublic on classical precedents. The Federalist argued for ratificationof the new constitution. Architecture embraced the simplicity andgrandeur of the Neoclassical style creating the Federal style andsculpture was commissioned from Canova and Houdon.• The British Influence: Robert Adam and Josiah Wedgwood— Adam interpreted classical architectural styles and decorative motifsin innovative new ways. Adam decorated interiors with the ceramics ofWedgwood, jasperware.
• Jacques-Louis David and the Neoclassical Style in France— Both the Oath of the Horatii and The Lictors Returning to Brutus theBodies of his Sons epitomize the Neoclassical style in France exhibitinghighlighted detail an emotional complexity in a balanced and orderedway. Angelica Kauffman depicted Neoclassical motherhood in CorneliaPointing to Her Children as Her Treasures.
Napoleon and Neoclassical ParisWhat values shaped Napoleonic France?• The Consulate and the Napoleonic Empire: 1799-1814 —Napoleon was declared First Consul of the French Republic for life andthen declared himself emperor. Napoleon attempted to establishstability across Europe by force and attempted to invade England,though he never defeated the British navy.• Art as Propaganda: Painting, Architecture, Sculpture —Napoleon celebrated major events by commissioning paintings,sculpture, and architecture. David was the chronicler of Napoleon’scareer, Ingres glorified the emperor, and Vignon’s Neoclassicalarchitectural designs were extraordinary. Canova modeled larger-than-life-size statues.
• Discussion Question: What do you think makes a work of art“propaganda,” as opposed to a depiction of a public event or aprominent leader? Does the propaganda function lessen thevalue or interest of a work?
The Issue of SlaveryHow did the issue of slavery undermine the idealism of the era?• Autobiographical and Fictional Accounts of Slavery —Accounts include those by Equiano, Stedman, and Philis Wheatley whowas the first black American to publish a book. One of the earliestaccounts of slavery is Oroonoko by Aphra Behn.• The Economic Argument for Slavery and Revolution: FreeTrade — Slavery pitted abolitionist sentiments against freethinkingeconomic theory.• The Abolitionist Movement in Britain and America —Abolitionist opposition to slavery in both England and the Americancolonies gained strength in 1771 after an escaped American slave wasset fr4ee in England. Copley’s Watson and the Shark commissioned bya merchant deeply opposed to slavery.
• The African Diaspora — About 14 million Africans survived theAtlantic crossing, the largest forced scattering of a people inhistory. Music was the cultural form that most thoroughlysurvived the diaspora.• Discussion Question: Explain how Copley’s Watson and theShark (Fig. 26.28) indirectly expresses abolitionist sentiments.