Un oubli généreux du passé’: art, politics and oblivion and the Salon of 1814.

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Abstract

The collapse of Napoleon’s Empire and the restoration of Louis XVIII left a legacy so embittered that any hope of political reconciliation was all but impossible. To this end the new constitution required that the atrocities and blood shed over the two decades simply be ‘forgotten’. This article examines the impact of the policy of l’oubli on the pictures shown at the Salon of 1814, hastily convened to restore national prestige. In the same way that Louis sought to forget the past by restoring ties with his own ancient lineage, so artists and critics variously looked to the distant past for inspiration. But the traumatic memories of the Republic and Empire could not be so easily contained nor history so easily revised. This article looks at how artists and critics engaged with this political and memorial struggle and the material and discursive fissures found in their work.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArt History
VolumeArt History
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Oct 2024

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