Events of the Year 1713 (detail), Dumesnil, 1714. Lent by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Estampes et de la Photographie. Photo credit: BnF
Under the longest reigning king in French history, Paris became the most important print producer in Europe, a position it maintained until the end of the 19th century. This extraordinary development was fueled by official policies that aimed to elevate the entire spectrum of the fine and decorative arts. Prints were at once a means of communication, a propaganda tool, and an art form in ever-increasing demand. Printmakers and print publishers produced hundreds of thousands of works on paper in a century that was as hungry for imagery as ours is today.
Propaganda was an essential characteristic of print production. But propaganda refers to more than images of the king’s likeness, victories, virtues, and royal festivals, which were most effectively disseminated through etchings and engravings. It also refers to a broader strategy promoted by the king himself: France would be a model for the rest of Europe. With the help of prints, allies and enemies alike would bear witness to the unmatched refinement of French technical skill, aesthetics, and taste. On the tercentenary of the death of Louis XIV, this exhibition demonstrates the significance of an art that attained unparalleled sophistication and influence.
This exhibition was organized by the Getty Research Institute in special collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Getty Research Institute - A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715 - 16.06.2015 - 06.09.2015
Website & source : Getty Research Institute
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