Mar. 4: IU French & Italian Presents Dr. Georgia Cowart on Watteau and 18th C. French Opera

Performing a New France: Watteau, the Musical Stage, and the Burial of Louis XI

Tuesday, March 4th | 5:30 pm
Simon Music Building, Room 242
200 S. Jordan Ave. (behind the fountain)

Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) worked briefly as a set painter at the Paris Opera House around 1702-1703, and a number of his most well-known paintings can be explained via a series of pieces performed in the musical theater of that time. These works encode a critique of the increasingly unpopular rule of the aging Louis XIV, while offering utopian visions of a new France. Drawing on the opera, ballet, and commedia dell’arte, the presentation will examine the imagery of The French Comedians, The Italian Comedians, Mezzetin, and other works as they respond to and participate in a theatrical game of masks involving satire, parody, and allusion.

Dr. Georgia Cowart, Case Western University

GEORGIA COWART is Professor of Music at Case Western Reserve University. She has published three books and a number of articles on music, the arts, and cultural politics in early modern France. Her most recent book, The Triumph of Pleasure: Louis XIV and the Politics of Spectacle (University of Chicago Press, 2008), focused on the shifting intersections of the arts, ideology, and aesthetics at the court of Louis XIV and in the Parisian public sphere in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  She is currently at work on a book manuscript, tentatively titled “Performing a New France: Watteau, Spectacle, and the Sunset of Absolutism.”

From 2007-09, Prof. Cowart served as Sylvan C. and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fund Senior Fellow in Art History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and as guest curator of the Met exhibition “Watteau, Music & Theater” (Fall 2009). From 2011-12 she served as Marta Sutton Weeks Senior Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center.

This talk made possible by the kind sponsorship of the Mary-Margaret Barr Koon Fund of the Department of French & Italian, Department of the History of Art, the Renaissance Studies Program, Department of Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance, IU’s Center for 18th-Century Studies, Department of Musicology

If you have a disability and need assistance, accommodations can be made to meet most needs. Please call (812) 855-5458.