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Marika Knowles publishes "Realism and Role-Play: The Human Figure in French Art from Callot to the Brothers Le Nain", December 2020

11 December 2020

After the heroic nudes of the Renaissance and depictions of the tortured bodies of Christian saints, early seventeenth-century French artists turned their attention to their fellow humans, to nobles and beggars seen on the streets of Paris, to courtesans standing at their windows, to vendors advertising their wares, to peasants standing before their landlords. Fascinated by the intricate politics of the encounter between two human beings, artists such as Jacques Callot, Daniel Rabel, Abraham Bosse, Claude Vignon, Georges de la Tour, Jean de Saint-Igny, the Brothers Le Nain, Pierre Brébiette, Jean I Le Blond, and Charles David represented the human figure as a performer acting out a social role. The resulting figures were everyday types whose representations in series of prints, painted galleries, and illustrated books created a repertoire of such contemporary roles. Realism and Role-Play draws on literature, social history, and affect theory in order to understand the way that figuration performed social positions.

This title is available from the University of Virginia Press.