Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Aesthetics and Arts

         My Salon takes the form of an Art Exhibition and is held in the Grand Salon of the Louvre in Paris. I have selected paintings from reputed artists of the XVIIth century. They differ in content, subject, format, and technique and will constitute in themselves, I hope, a rich and varied collection that allows a glimpse into the aesthtic values as well as aesthetic development of the century. 

        Rather than exploring the concepts of Aesthetics that emerged during the Age of Enlightenment through the texts of the philosophers, I chose to apply each philosophe's abstract theory of aesthetics and beauty by confronting them with the material world of the arts, and more precisely, painting. Instead of talking of the "idea" and the "thing" independently, I am seeking through this digital Salon, to unite them and see what one draws from the other.

Cinematic Enlightenment

        In History on Film/ Film on History, historian Robert A. Rosenstone calls attention to the negative connotation of cinema as an inaccurate medium that “distorts the past, fictionalizes, trivializes, and romanticizes important people, events, and movements, and falsifies history”, while arguing that this viewpoint must be negated (Rosenstone 5). In order to counteract this connotation, Rosenstone proposes that audiences and historians need to acknowledge cinemas’ impact on modern conceptions of history by reading films in a similar manner to primary sourced texts. With this in mind, I apply Rosenstone’s methodology to Nikolaj Arcel’s film A Royal Affair to convey how film has reconstructed the Enlightenment for my digital salon.

        In order to evaluate Nikolaj Arcel’s film A Royal Affair as a primary source, I divided my digital salon into three major sections; an introduction to my research, close readings of crucial texts from the Enlightenment, and my discussion and evaluation of the film’s historical authenticity. In the first section of my digital salon, I provide a brief summary of Robert A. Rosenstone’s scholarship that I apply to the film. In the following section, I briefly introduce the film synopsis before addressing my inquiry into the film’s historical authenticity. To further evaluate Nikolaj Arcel’s reconstruction of the Enlightenment, I draw on Rousseau's The Social Contract, and the Discourse of the Origins of Inequality in the following section since they are directly referenced in the film.  Despite the fact that my digital salon applies Rosenstone’s methodology to only one historical film concerning the Enlightenment, it provides an example of how historical films reconstruct history and shape how modern audiences understand past events.

The Enlightenment and Eroticism

This salon focuses on the connection between anatomy, sex, religion, and politics in the Enlightenment. Through dissections and work of questionable legality regarding the human body surgeons, anatomists, and others in the burgeoning field of medicine were able to learn an incredible amount of information about how the body worked and what it looked like on the inside. This eventually led some medical (and non-medical) cartoonists and artists to move from illustrating human anatomy to using their knowledge to create pornographic images, often politically and socially charged, for public use and pleasure. There were a number of crossovers between the two subjects that depicted things like the sensual exhibition of internal parts such as organs or straight pornography with the subject(s)’s innards on display for the viewer during the sexual acts portrayed.

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