One of our favorite art historians, Richard Taws, writes from London with news of a smashing exhibit. I can’t wait to go–volatile politics in print!
Revolution under a King features a selection of prints from the early, highly volatile years of the French Revolution, curated by Emeritus Professor David Bindman (UCL/Harvard) and Dr Richard Taws (UCL), in collaboration between UCL Art Museum and UCL History of Art.
It is well known that a chain of key historical events characterised the French Revolution, making it effectively the biggest political media event of its time. These events were communicated extensively throughout Europe in print culture and the combination of image and text, employed extensively in newspapers and graphic works, made for powerful satire and caricature.
It is however often overlooked that the pivotal moment, the Fall of the Bastille, was in fact followed by three years in which the king of France still nominally presided over the dissolution of the old feudal order. It is this period that is the focus of the exhibition, tracing the early years of the Revolution from the ‘June Days’ of 1789, through the Fall of the Bastille, to the eventual deposition of Louis XVI in 1792. The exhibition consists of vivid coloured prints of major events from the period, and a selection of medals, including one made from ‘chains of servitude’ supposedly found in the ruins of the Bastille.
A series of talks and events will accompany the exhibition, with the aim of placing this period back into our understanding of the French Revolution, which evolved over time and many would say is still ongoing. Further areas of study linked to the Museum’s unique collection will include Regicide and Terror, Marat and Charlotte Corday, The Directory to Bonaparte, the British Response, and Retrospect: the Construction of the French Revolution in the 19th Century. Through collaborations with artists and performers, UCL Art Museum will explore the material’s contemporary relevance, particularly through the relationship between revolution and performance.
UCL Art Museum, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT