Research project and doctoral seminar / Arts and Societies
At what moment was war no longer represented solely as the site of heroism, and why? It was when writers and artists started knocking the great military leaders off their pedestals, beginning with Napoleon Bonaparte, who was the very embodiment of huge pitched battles. Napoleon had killed war by exaggerating it, Chateaubriand wrote in his Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe, begun in 1809, just before Goya’s los desastres de la guerra, a series of engravings that opened the great museum of horrors with a future full of promise. Numerous artists from that time to the present day would take their inspiration from its darkness, in the shadow of the Enlightenment. A tipping point was then reached, as is testified to by many works that, without putting an end to wars, would in an increasingly systematic way thenceforth show all their facets. This seminar will reexamine those moments and sites of wars and peaces that have made and unmade the visual world, that great manufacturer of both memories and mind sets.