Edited By James Kearns and Alister Mill
The Paris Salons 1791–1881: Controversies and Debates in the North of Italy in the Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
In 1844 the Padua critic Pietro Selvatico wrote :
In France, where public life is so strongly immersed in politics, art becomes an active agent in political life and in the hundreds of parties. Liberal in Delacroix and Delaroche, it reproduces the crimes, the anger or the picturesque customs of the Middle Ages; aristocratic in Decaisne, Alessandro Frayonard and Monvoisin, it expresses itself through the regal pomp of the Bourbons and their often licentious courts, hoping to find flattering allusions both to the fall of that family and to the venerable coats of arms of the ancient nobles; Napoleonic in Steuben, Adam and the immense genius of Vernet, who improvises battles on canvas just as the Giant of St. Helena improvised kingdoms and victories; the present art of the French, whichever path it treads, always finds one crowd cheering it and another jeering; works lifted to the heavens today will roll in the dust tomorrow, only to be placed again on an altar the next day, depending on which political opinion gains ground against its adversary.1 ← 273 | 274 →
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