Le Douanier Rousseau: L’innocence archaïque

Faculty

In the summer 2016, Dr. Alexis Clark visited the Musée d’Orsay (Paris) exhibition “Le Douanier Rousseau: L’innocence archaïque.” Her review of that exhibition has now been published as part of the online, peer-reviewed journal Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide.

While at the Orsay, Dr. Clark was especially struck by Henri Rousseau's painting, The Representatives of Foreign Powers Coming to Greet the Public as a Sign of Peace. The Representatives records a celebration of the 1907 Peace Conference, which established modern rules of warfare. A follow-up to the 1899 Hague Conference, the Peace Conference convened in Paris in October 1907. Representatives from France’s colonies have here been shown clasping hands in a dance around the Place Maubert statue of the atheist Etienne Dolet, who, in the sixteenth century, vocally condemned the Catholic Inquisition and subsequently died at the stake. Erected in 1889 to commemorate the 1789 French Revolution and its foundation in free thought, the statue of Dolet stood as a secular martyr to those who believed, as Rousseau did, that rationalism should trump religious superstition.

Inspired by this painting, Dr. Clark's next research project will examine Henri Rousseau's pacifist and anarchist politics as encoded in The Representatives.

Posted Date 
Friday, November 11, 2016

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