Watteau and the Cultural Politics of Eighteenth-Century France
Plax engages in an interdisciplinary examination of several categories of Watteau's paintings - theatrical, military, fêtes, and the art dealer. Arguing that Watteau consistently applied coherent strategies of representation aimed at subverting high art, she shows how his paintings toyed ironically with conventions and genres and confounded traditional categories. Plax connects these strategies to broader cultural themes and political issues that Watteau's art addressed throughout his career, thereby revealing the substantial unity of his oeuvre. Using a wide array of visual and verbal primary resources to illuminate the richness of the visual culture of eighteenth-century Paris and the last years of Louis XIV's reign, Watteau and the Cultural Politics of Eighteenth-Century France contributes substantially to the current reassessment of the period.