Touching Watelet: L'Art de peindre and the Performance of Philosophical Materialism Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Calvin, Katherine
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History, Art History
Abstract
  • Writing on Claude-Henri Watelet's 1760 L'Art de peindre, Denis Diderot noted sneeringly: "If the poem belonged to me, I would cut out the vignettes, put them under glass, and throw the rest in the fire." Diderot imagines a violent dismemberment, touching Watelet's book with fingers, scissors, and fire. I too break apart L'Art de peindre. But rather than relegating it to blade and flame, I reassemble the whole and reframe its parts through the sense of touch. I analyze its engravings, poems, and related portrait by Jean-Baptiste Greuze each in relation to eighteenth-century conceptions of the artist's touch and philosophies of materialism. By using touch to tackle L'Art de peindre historically and theoretically, I argue Watelet's book performs Étienne Bonnot de Condillac's theories of combinatory imagination and sensorial knowledge--particularly, the "double experience" of touch--through its representation of both self and external world, Watelet and the art of painting.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Ghosh, Pika
  • Anderson, Glaire
  • Sheriff, Mary D.
Degree
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
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