Professor Gülru Çakmak's new book Jean-Léon Gérôme and the Crisis of History Painting in the 1850s has been published.
Monday, January 29, 2018
Monday, January 29, 2018
Professor Gülru Çakmak's Jean-Léon Gérôme and the Crisis of History Painting in the 1850s(Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2017) examines a turning point in French visual culture in the 1850s, when an increasing demand for empirical observation, coupled with a growing sense of an insurmountable distance separating the present from the past, led to the decline of traditional history painting. Since neither the painter nor the viewer could have actually experienced a bygone historical incident as it unfolded, was history painting even feasible in modern times? In the late 1850s, Jean-Léon Gérôme commented upon the aims and limitations of history painting by devising a quintessentially contemporary art that acknowledged the viewer not as an abstraction but as a historically-situated and embodied subject. A small group of paintings constitute the focus of this provocative study on the artist’s early work, whose programmatic role in Gérôme’s oeuvre as well as in the broader history of modernization of art have been so far unrecognized in art historical scholarship. In these, the artist charted a new roadmap for the art of painting in response to the modern sensibility of history. This is the first monograph on Gérôme that presents a sustained analytical study of a key decade of his art, offering a historical and theoretical understanding of his work against the background of the modernization of visual culture in France.
"An important, powerfully-argued book that reinserts Gérôme back into the pictorial mainstream of the 1850s and 1860s, even as it also makes the case for the original, searching, and ambitious character of Gérôme's art at a decisive moment of his career. A welcome intervention that essentially rewrites the career of a still controversial artist, now back in the public eye.”
--Marc Gotlieb, Class of 1955 Memorial Professor of Art, Williams College
"Gülru Çakmak's research inaugurates a new chapter in Gérôme studies. She has thoroughly researched the critical and cultural history of his times, and her insights have enabled her to uncover the significance of his unique pictorial manner."
--Stephen Bann, Emeritus Professor, University of Bristol
"Based on solid research, this exciting work takes the subject forward in a new and interesting direction, making a valuable contribution to scholarship."
--Dr. Patricia Smyth, University of Warwick