French Connections Seminar | Theatre, Art and Community: Innovation Transfer in Ancien Régime France
Department of French and Francophone Studies Research Seminar Series
Theatre, Art and Community: Innovation Transfer in Ancien Régime France
Professor Mark Ledbury (Power Professor of Art History and Visual Culture; Director of the Power Institute, The University of Sydney)
Histories of theatre and art in eighteenth-century France are dominated by paradigms created by the compelling and seductive ideas of Diderot, and cemented by modern interpreters, especially Pierre Frantz in theatre and Michael Fried in Art. This paper articulates a different approach to investigating the many and complex links that bound theatre worlds and visual art in Ancien Régime France, and focuses on moments of innovative togetherness in specific situations and communities as a way of exploring how novel practices and innovative conceptions might transfer from one domain to another via affective and commercial ties. In examining again the relations between theatrical and visual innovation in the period, my paper displaces the traditional emphasis on the “Tableau” in its Diderotian form and pays attention to improvised, ephemeral forms of theatre; at the same time it focuses on questions familiar from modern analyses of how innovations and ideas transfer in commercial spheres to ask what we might learn from these.
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