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The allure of empire : art in the service of French imperialism, 1798-1836 /
Todd Porterfield.
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1998.
viii, 244 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm.
0691059594 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1998.
0691059594 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 215-234) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Todd Porterfield is Assistant Professor of Art History at Princeton University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-05-15:
Porterfield's compelling argument builds on the thesis of Edward W. Said's Orientalism (CH, Apr'79): the Orient and Orientalism are constructions of Western imagination. His important contribution is to consider Said's political and cultural critique in relation to the visual arts, overturning studies like Donald A. Rosenthal's Orientalism, the Near East in French Painting, 1800-1880 (1982). Porterfield explains how the conception, interpretation, and visual language of various French works of art from 1798-1936 adhered to a national ideology of imperialism in the Near East and North Africa. His imperialist model embraces diverse political factions, regimes, and artists, rejecting the traditional dialectic of revolution-counterrevolution. Chapters examine the erection of the Luxor obelisk in the Place de la Concorde, the battle paintings of Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, the creation of the Louvre's Musee d'Egypte, and Delacroix's Femmes d'Algers. Porterfield interprets these monuments as signs of French efforts to assert political and cultural superiority over the Other, and he connects their visual authority to a consistent formal strategy of scientific references and heightened naturalism that complicates understanding of artistic styles of the time. Fascinating for its intersections of art and politics and the evolving functions of monuments and museums. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. A. Luxenberg; University of Kentucky
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 1999
Choice, June 1999
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Unpaid Annotation
From monumental battle paintings to the public display of archaeological spoils to the decoration of urban vistas, visual culture promoted modern French imperialism. So argues Todd Porterfield in this provocative look at the forces of art and politics in France's military conquest of the Near East. In challenging the conventional wisdom that France happened into imperial venture, Porterfield explores interactions among artists, generals, journalists, curators, and politicians from the time of Napoleon's Egyptian campaign to the invasion of Algeria during the Restoration and July Monarchy. Together they forged an official culture that provided a rationale for imperialism--based on images of France's moral and technological superiority--and an enduring project for Frenchmen of all political persuasions during an era of domestic instability. The allure of empire derived in part from its function as an alternative, surrogate, mask, and displacement of the Revolution.Porterfield reveals the interlocking strategies, the historical, scientific, moralistic, and gendered judgments, that imperial art conveyed in a strikingly rich variety of
Unpaid Annotation
"In this important new study of orientalist imagery in early nineteenth-century French culture, Todd Porterfield advances an original and provocative thesis. . . . Porterfield┬╣s incisive understanding of the historical forces which fostered the colonial enterprise, together with his close reading of the catholic body of art works, produces a study which avoids the scholarly cliches of Orientalism and succeeds in demonstrating the extraordinary depth and ideological resonance of eastern themes in the cultural and political life of post-Revolutionary France."--Neil McWilliam, University of Warwick
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 3
The Obelisk at the Place de la Concordep. 13
Paintings of the Egyptian Campaignp. 43
The Musee d'Egyptep. 81
The Women of Algiersp. 117
Afterwordp. 143
Notesp. 153
Bibliographyp. 215
Indexp. 235
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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