The artists chosen for this study are the two French painters Jacques-Louis David and Gustave Courbet.They lived similar experiences in the social and political chaos of post-revolutionary France. Chronologically speaking, the two of them together examined the changes in the society furthermore in the field of arts and particularly that of painting. It is very important to know how the status of these artists has changed, with the evolution of the society, and the factors that contributed to these changes. But before explaining their respective works, it is important to talk about their art, seeing how, according to Bourdieu(a French sociologist), the artistic production of the two respective artists were inspired from the collision between the sensitivity in the field of art, specific rules and all possible viewpoints.
David was born in August1748 in Paris and died in December 1825 in Brussels. He lived during the revolution and became a famous painter with the return of Napoleon. David was a true academician. Trained in the artistic conventions of the time, he tried to get the Prix de Rome (an art scholarship to the French Academy in Rome and to get supreme recognition at that time) five times before he was finally awarded the Prix de Rome in 1774. This prize allowed him to go to the French Academy in Rome, where he achieved great reputation.
David certainly innovated with neoclassicism and his paintings have evolved with time, while they willremain rooted in the great traditions (Greek and Roman styles in order to shine in a golden imperialism, a style sometimes chivalrous to the glory of the Empire: for example, Napoleon on a rearing horse, impassive, decked with gold). He occupied a position more or less under Louis the XVI, but his dedication was seen under the power of Napoleon. David was Napoleon's number one and official court painter(mentioned here include the famous Coronation of Napoleon in 1807). David was a revolutionary and part of the Jacobin club and who remained faithful to Napoleon. He was one of those people who voted in the National Convention for Execution for the execution of Louis the XVI and took part in the republican government before the arrival of Napoleon, then he joined the Royal Academy.
[...] Knowing this we can say that art, at least contemporary painting, will be truly democratized and emancipated from the chains of the past as a mixture of the legacies of David and Courbet. They opened way for the artists who are independent in their creation and social status. We can also say that politics has reasserted itself in the field of art, so much less than during the actual monarchy. Politicians have realized that they can be manipulative with art. [...]
[...] Courbet frequently painted in his studio which was widely criticized, and this commitment of the painter was also criticized by the society. They said that he revolutionized his era by portraying realism in painting. His style was marked by socialism that reflected his desire to paint things as they are, without decorations. Courbet exhibited art from various social classes like Un Enterrement a Ornans (The Burial at Ornans), Les Paysans de Flagey (The Peasants of Flagey), and Les Casseurs de Pierre (The Stonebreakers). [...]
[...] Instrumentalization and commodification Have social, economic and political advances incurred by David and Courbet changed the ratio of the society along with their artwork? To answer this question, we will compare the visual arts to the musical practices during that time. Since the nineteenth century, the artistic independence has flourished with artistic democratization (including ambiguous creation of a Ministry of Culture). Today, in the music business, there are large groups of musicians who are self-taught and who are versatile in the music business.The comparison of "art music" and "popular music" has been exceeded. [...]
[...] The fact that politics has recaptured the art so that people feel completely free should not be forgotten: the art for the people (in the sense of public accessibility: media, development of the culture at home) and by the people (community participation in cultural activities for example). This is the era of socialization of all arts. However, concerning the arts, access to art in high school and in the market are still at the top priority. Quite the contrary, elements of painting in the popular media (eg. [...]
[...] Let's not forget the historic context: Courbet became the "uncouth peasant" and became the social representative of the bourgeois imperialism change. Cartoonists found themselves with a mission to save "good taste" that grows with manners. But only men of the aristocracy were really disturbed by the painting of Courbet, while social changes justified it. So that defended the cartoons, the social order or morality? Anyway, it is important to see that political commitment of both artists was existent throughout their careers, in their actions and in their art. [...]
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