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Art and Power: Patronage and Politics in Europe from the Old Regime to the Present



Friday, February 23, 2018 - 9:00am


Stanford Humanities Center



Art and Power: Patronage and Politics in Europe from the Old Regime to the Present

State funding for the arts is again a subject of controversy today. In the United States, the resources of federal arts organizations are under attack. In Europe, the strong tradition of state support of the arts remains relatively intact, but a decade of financial crisis has strained the capacity of many countries to protect their cultural patrimony while also supporting artists.
This conference examines the history of state funding for the arts in Europe in order to understand the dramatic divergence between these conceptions of the role of the arts in society. A range of interdisciplinary presentations on literature, music, theater, the history of science, and the visual arts will provide a historical examination of the origins and the tensions underlying the European model of state arts funding. To give a contemporary perspective on how and why European governments seek to support the arts today, Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States, will present on France’s cultural policies in dialogue with Stanford’s Associate Vice President for the Arts, Matthew Tiews. This combination of historical and contemporary studies will address questions such as: What is the relationship between rulers and arts patronage on which this support is premised? How have the arts been used to secure domestic political legitimacy or project power internationally at different times? What kinds of art are deemed worthy of support, and what artistic forms have been traditionally excluded from such patronage? What are the different historical genealogies of this state patronage, and what do they tell us about why Europe remains committed to centralized state funding of the arts when that of the United States is vanishing?
Introduction: 9am (Dan Edelstein)
Panel 1: Representations of Power in the Old Regime (9:15-10:45am)

  • Sarah Grandin (Harvard University), “’To Preserve and Augment’: Printing the Cabinet du Roi, c. 1670”
  • Chandra Mukerji (UCSD), “Meaning vs. Imagination in the Art of the Sun King: Sculpture, themes, and political possibility”
  • Gerardo Tocchini (Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice), “The Aristocratic Romance: Greuze’s ‘Bourgeois’ Scenes”

 Panel 2: Patronage, Circulation, and Institutions (11am-12:30pm)

  • Rahul Markovits (École Normale Supérieure), “Actors of soft power: French theatre and the paradoxes of cultural grandeur in eighteenth-century Europe”
  • Audrey Calefas-Strebelle (Mills College), “Turkish and French delights: From Turkish origin to French manufacture, the circulation of artefacts and savoir faire in French-Ottoman cultural diplomacy”
  • Andrei Pesic (Stanford), “Patronage on the Cheap: Monopolies and Enlightenment Cultural Markets”

Art and Power Today: France’s Cultural Policy. Presentation and Discussion (2-3:00pm)

  • Bénédicte de Montlaur (French Embassy in the U.S.) in conversation with Matthew Tiews (Stanford Arts Initiative)

Panel 3: After the Revolution: Rethinking Art and Power in the New Regime (3:15-4:45pm)

  • Robert Morrissey (University of Chicago), “Enlightenment and Liminality: Mme de Staël, Victim as Arbiter of Taste and Glory”
  • Anne Higonnet (Barnard College), “Sumptuary law failure, fashion magazine success”
  • Heather Hadlock (Stanford), “Verdi’s Aida from Italian tourist to French resident: Paris, 1876-1880”

Please RSVP here
Co-sponsored by The Europe Center, Freeman Spogli Institute, Department of French and Italian, and Stanford Humanities Center