Richard Thomson
Richard Thomson is Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh.
Thomson, Richard
Thomson, Richard
United States of America
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Description: The Troubled Republic: Visual Culture and Social Debate in France, 1889–1900
Fin-de-siècle France was a period of unrest, with strikes, demonstrations, and anarchist terrorism reflecting deep social and political differences. Yet at the same time, this decade produced a vibrant visual culture—monumental sculpture, mural decoration, avant-garde painting, posters, illustrations, and photography—much of which was used to articulate France’s ideological arguments. This fascinating book shows how four key issues in social debate were treated by contemporary artists.

Richard Thomson begins by exploring disquieting attitudes toward the body and sexuality that resulted from France’s concerns about national decadence after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. He then considers how artists depicted crowds and represented public discomfort about mass unrest. Next he discusses religious imagery during a decade when the Catholic Church was attempting to come to terms with Republicanism. And finally he addresses the question of revenge against Germany for the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, showing that it was kept alive in contemporary art.
Print publication date March 2005 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300104653
EISBN 9780300254204
Illustrations 181
Print Status out of print
Description: Art of the Actual: Naturalism and Style in Early Third Republic France,...
The French Republic—with its rallying cry for liberty, equality, and fraternity—emerged in 1870, and by 1880 had developed a coherent republican ideology. The regime pursued secular policies and emphasized its commitment to science and technology. Naturalism was an ideal aesthetic match for the republican ideology; it emphasized that art should be drawn from the everyday world, that all subjects were worthy of treatment, and that there should be flexibility in representation to allow for different voices.

Art of the Actual examines the use of naturalism in the nineteenth century. It explores how pictures by artists such as Roll, Lhermitte, and Friant could be read as egalitarian and republican, assesses how well-known painters including Degas, Monet, and Toulouse-Lautrec situated their painting vis-à-vis the dominant naturalism, and opens up new arguments about caricatural and popular style. By illuminating the role of naturalism in a broad range of imagery in late nineteenth-century France, Richard Thomson provides a new interpretation of the art of the period.
Print publication date January 2013 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300179880
EISBN 9780300254211
Illustrations 244
Print Status in print