Portraiture and Friendship in Enlightenment France

Cover: Portraiture and Friendship in Enlightenment France
Jessica L. Fripp

November 2020 • ISBN 978-1-64453-201-0 • $102.95

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Studies in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture

Portraiture and Friendship in Enlightenment France examines how new and often contradictory ideas about friendship were enacted in the lives of artists in the eighteenth century. It demonstrates that portraits resulted from and generated new ideas about friendship by analyzing the creation, exchange, and display of portraits alongside discussions of friendship in philosophical and academic discourse, exhibition criticism, personal diaries, and correspondence. This study provides a deeper understanding of how artists took advantage of changing conceptions of social relationships and used portraiture to make visible new ideas about friendship that were driven by Enlightenment thought.


About the Author

Jessica L. Fripp is Assistant Professor of Art History at Texas Christian University.

Reviews of 'Portraiture and Friendship in Enlightenment France'

What emerges from all this erudite analysis is a nuanced and intimate take on what might be seen too simplistically as the rigid ancien régime world of art.
- Christopher Baker, National Galleries of Scotland
Framed by the French Enlightenment, this engaging, scholarly book offers numerous possibilities for further research in art history and criticism, cultural studies, and gender studies.
- Felicia B. Sturzer, University of Tennessee
Portraiture and Friendship in Enlightenment France is well researched and is particularly commendable in terms of its use of unexamined or understudied primary-source material. Fripp introduces texts—visual and written—that will be useful for scholars in a number of fields. It is a welcome addition to scholarship on sociability and portraiture and will be of interest to scholars in art history, cultural studies, and gender studies.
- Heather Belnap, Brigham Young University, author of Women, Femininity, and Public Space in European Visual Culture, 1789-1914
Portraiture and Friendship in Enlightenment France forges important new ground in several respects. Fripp makes a compelling case that the idea of friendship was a structuring principle that guided many aspects of the theory and practice of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, a gendered notion that operated differently for female and male artists. [...] Although many of the primary-source texts and images discussed will be familiar to specialists in eighteenth-century French painting, looking at these written and visual documents through the lens of friendship reveals new layers of meaning that have never before been discussed.
- Laura Auricchio, Dean, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, author of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard: Artist in the Age of Revolution
Portraiture and Friendship in Enlightenment France makes a compelling case for the significance of friendship to the practice of portraiture in eighteenth-century France and, in so doing, enriches our understanding of the importance of social networks in artists' lives. It constitutes a valuable addition to the still rather limited literature on French portraiture of this period. One can only hope that it will encourage other scholars to pursue research in this area.
- Emma Barker, The Open University (UK)