Knowledge is Power! The Classical Era

I wanted to concentrate on two subject matters the growing economic power of the Middle Class which I feel has a huge impact on art and scientific discovery in the 1700’s.

The Middle Class was growing!  Their size and wealth however only affected the economic growth of nations and not politically.  The Middle Class wanted a bilateral influence – meaning they wanted a say in politics which in turn would affect the cultural and economic power evenly.  They wanted reforms that the Monarchy’s are reluctant to accept. The discontent of the middle class leads to revolutions, in particular the French Revolution.  The Revolutions would change Europe as a whole. This would allow the Age of Reason to flourish in the art and science communities.

The portrait above is by the official portraitist of Marie Antoinette, Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1788 Marie and Her Children.  This would be the last portrait of Marie by LeBrun.  Despite the reputation the French had bestowed upon Antoinette, Le Brun showed that Antoinette was devoted to her children and that she did not just lead a lavish style that she could be simple. The main reason why appreciated this portrait, simple elegance.

However, the people had enough.  The King and Queen would meet their faith at the guillotine.  Eventually this decline in the monarchy led to one of the greats, Napoleon Bonaparte.  He is responsible for establishing the Code Napolean.  The codes are still a form of civil law today that allows liberties to its people.

Another huge influence for me is the advocacy of the science community.  Sir Isaac Newton established the Laws of Motion.  These theories are still used and taught today.  Isaac had several achievements one that would be the beginning to cinema photography.  He discovered the telescope by developing optics and the refraction of light. The portrait below depicts how Newton captures the refraction of light.

One of the biggest controversies that I saw in the arts was the effort to control the theaters.  The Age of Reason allowed for the people to speak their minds through art.  The Theater was infamous for showing what the monarch did not like the truth.  Producers got away from rules and regulations by not charging for their work, however made up the cost by charging for popcorn!  An excellent example of the satirist comedy was the Provoked Wife by John Vanbrugh an English architect and play writer.  His works were deemed problem plays by the Restoration society.  This plays were most likely always very outspoken presenting arguments in defenses to women’s rights.   However, notice in the picture that the woman is being played by a man.  Ironic! Since this was the age that women really began to show on the stages more.  One of the key attributes that caught my eye!

I realize that our history books do not even begin to touch the basics of the history of ages.  There are so many influences.  With the rise of the Encyclopedia, spreading the wealth of knowledge not only to the upper and middle classes but to the lower class, this is one major contribution to the growth of middle class. By expanding the knowledge base of its people, I believe allowed for Europe to prosper.


9 responses to “Knowledge is Power! The Classical Era

  1. Pingback: Renaissance Science and the Urgent Need to Readdress Social Economics | The Fiction Bloger·

  2. I like how you chose to incorporate two themes in your blog. You did a good job of connecting the themes to your chosen works. I noticed, however, that you did not include some of the factual information such as date and place for the last two works. The paintings you chose are all very different in style, which is nice and adds variety. My favorite is The Provoked Wife because of the use of movement and satire. Great blog!

  3. Nice job. The introduction is a little confusing and might need some punctuation, but you’ve definitely tied your pictures to the rise of the middle class. The Provoked Wife is amusing to say the least. I’m curious if the picture wasn’t just true to the times. I realize women were becoming a part of theatre at the time, but what’s to say this picture wasn’t done in respect to tradition?

  4. The two subjects you picked really go well together. As the middle class grew, people had more time to pursue academics and art. You did a good job summarizing the influences of the Classical era. There are so many!

  5. I liked how you touched based on two themes. The information you put into the blog was very good and informative.You may want to read over and look for punctuation errors. And also, you forgot the title and artist to the second picture in your exhibit.
    I really enjoyed the pieces you included. The second piece was my favorite, I think just because it was showing how light reflects differently when shone through a different view. The portrait of Marie and her children very regal yet the focus was still kept on her and her children and not so much on everything else.

  6. Nice blog on the middle class and their economic power. I’ve read quite a bit lately on Marie Antoinette. This painting was to show that she was more than just a queen, but a mother to her children. I don’t think she was very popular with all the rumors floating around about her.
    Nice job on the other two paintings. I just wish you had an artist that painted the one of Sir Isaac Newton.

  7. I enjoyed your choice of tying the two themes together, but in my opinion it was the scientific discoveries that helped lead to the rise of the middle class because it was these discoveries that led people away from the church and towards a world of education. As people became more educated they were able to become more prosperous. Great choices of artwork. I had never heard of the Provoked Wife, and this section was very interesting. I thought it funny too that it was concerned women’s rights but in the picture there is a man in the woman’s role.

  8. Pingback: westernimpression·

  9. Pingback: Women artists during the French revolution, Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Constance Mayer | Dear Kitty. Some blog·

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