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Art Criticism as Narrative

Diderot's "Salon de 1767</I>

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Julie Wegner Arnold

This study explores how Denis Diderot watches himself dramatize eighteenth-century French art on the stage of his imagination. It illustrates how Diderot's fanciful self-projection into paintings inspires him emotionally, energizes his prose, and transforms static paintings into mental theater. It examines the beholder's role in bringing portraits to life. The study also shows how the interplay between the rational and creative functions of Diderot's genius structures his experience and narration of art.