Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Manon Champier - Athena in official images in the French 19th century

With the Athena event now just a few days away, I'm pleased to present the next abstract - from Manon Champier, doctoral student at Université Toulouse-2-Jean Jaures

Athena in official images in the French 19th century

During the 19th century, France went through many political changing. Monarchies, republics or empires succeeded each other, at the whim of revolutions, coups and wars. New governments needed to find some legitimacy and abundantly used images and symbols to affirm their power and identity, in reaction to or in agreement with what was done before. Antiquity was a prestigious reference and a model for art. Among the numerous Greek figures, Athena was very popular with both artists and public discourse. Why this goddess in particular? Why and how is she used in a period far from Antiquity, when polytheist cults do not exist anymore? What does her reinterpretation by the 19th century artists say about their vision of Antiquity? We will try to go through these questions by analyzing the reception of the goddess in the different fields such as war, science and fine arts. We will compare how monarchies, empires or republics decided to use the goddess and enlighten differences or permanent features.

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