Edited By James Kearns and Alister Mill
Au seuil du Salon
The term threshold suggests something that is at once a physical site or a division of space; but it is also a powerful metaphor for transition or transformation. Art historians are familiar these days with the terms liminal and liminality, perhaps with a nod to anthropological vocabulary,1 a meaning which also connects to the prevalence in British academic terminology of work which claims to be interdisciplinary, crossdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary (and apparently leaves little space for topics which can only claim singular disciplinary significance). Such considerations are precisely relevant to the subject of the Salon and its history, and where, in disciplinary terms, it should be positioned. Work done on the Salon has often originated in literary studies rather than Art History, and art-historical studies of the phenomenon have tended to be somewhat inward-looking.
Acknowledging and getting the measure of the mass of material which had been excluded from the history of modernism, and therefore denied proper scrutiny because it was consigned to the redundant realm of the pompier, academic or the official (usually erroneously assumed to be synonymous), has been a slow process, and one which evidently remains far from complete. The evidence of the Exeter conference suggested that there are numerous highly fruitful avenues being pursued into territory which remains all too little known. For the later seventeenth and eighteenth ← 15 | 16 → centuries, the example of the conférences of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture edited by Christian Michel and...
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