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By Michael Fried

With this commonly acclaimed paintings, Fried revised the way eighteenth-century French portray and feedback have been considered and understood."A reinterpretation supported by means of titanic studying and by way of a sequence of brilliantly perceptive readings of work and feedback alike. . . . an exciting book."—John Barrell, London assessment of Books

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Extra resources for Absorption and theatricality: painting and beholder in the age of Diderot

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121 All this might be summed up by saying that by the first half of the 1760s if not earlier deliberate and extraordinary measures came to be required in order to persuade contemporary audiences of the absorption of a figure or group of figures in the world of the painting, and that consequently the everyday as such was in an important sense lost to pictorial representation around that time. The latter was a momentous event, one of the first in the series of losses that together constitute the ontological basis of modern art.

12 [Most of Watteau's compositions] have no subject. They express the manifestation of no passion and, consequently, they are deprived of one of the most alluring resources of painting, that is, action. , history painting]' is the sublime of your art. It is the part that speaks to the mind, that transports it, engages it, holds it, and diverts it from any other idea. a ABSORPTION AND THEATRICALITY TOWARD A SUPREME FICTION as the expression of a still more fundamental preoccupation with pictorial unity.

Put just barely figuratively, it is as though the presence of the beholder threatened to distract the dramatis personae from all involvement in ordinary states and activities, and as though the artist was therefore called upon to neutralize the beholder's presence by taking whatever measures proved necessary to absorb, or reabsorb, those personae in the world of the painting. (A similar argument can be made for Vien's Marchande la toilette. ) a 41 Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Le Fils ingrat, 1777. Paris, Louvre.

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