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Title: Community and nation : the representation of the village in French landscape painting, 1870-1890
Author: Cowe, Anne L.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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The thesis considers the motif of the village and the significance of its role amid the profusion of rural landscape paintings in France during the period 1870-1890. Its aim is to determine the extent to which the popularity of the motif among both artists and audiences articulated contemporary artistic, social, and political conditions. The introduction distinguishes the type of painting to be considered. It clarifies firstly what was considered a ‘village’ by the nineteenth century audience, and subsequently what can be termed a ‘village landscape’. The second chapter examines reasons for the appeal of the village landscape both from the standpoint of aesthetic theory and contextual influences. Particular attention is paid to the marketing of the village landscape in the Parisian art world. The following case study contrasts the differing success of Claude Monet and Henri Harpignies in painting similar types of village iconography. The following three chapters consider specific components of the motif. Chapter three contemplates the characteristics which different regions lent to the iconography. The particularly popular Breton village of Pont-Aven is developed as an example. Chapter four looks at depictions of the generalised French village as an idealised working community, contrasting it with the more immediate concerns affecting rural France at that time. This is followed by an analysis of Alfred Sisley’s paintings of Saint-Mammès and its canal activity. Chapter five complements this theme by examining the significance of the village at rest. It focuses on images where the village is represented as a place of respite and shelter for the worker, but also where it indicates inactivity, closing, and even death. Jean-Charles Cazin’s paintings of villages at twilight serve to demonstrate the loaded nature of such imagery. The final chapter concludes by attempting to define the archetypal village, and summarising the variety of values and associations that even the most simplified motif could encapsulate for the nineteenth-century French artist and his audience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available