Art gets violent.
On the sidelines of neoclassicism during the late 18th century, a trend for romantic sentiment emerged in France, plunging its roots into a malaise, symptomatic of a period that was troubled, politically and economically, but also socially and culturally.
From the end of the old regime to the disappointed hopes of the 1848 Revolution, artists traversed a century of upheaval and disillusionment that would cause them to rethink or redefine the purpose of their art.
The neoclassical works by great masters such as David, Girodet and Gerard carried an aesthetic where violence, often made legitimate, was to become a feature of the artistic discourse. Although it often results in the death of the virtuous hero, it also marks the beginning of a dialogue between the living and those in the afterlife.
Through a selection of French works by David, Delacroix, Gericault and Ingres, works that ofter have not been shown in public before, the exhibition shows the passage from a dramatic violence and control at the end of the eighteenth century to a French form of fantastic, dark romanticism, fed as much by the revolutionary trauma as by ancient and contemporary literature.