Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century

Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century

by Charissa Bremer-David
     
 

Luxury items from centuries past are most often seen within museum settings, devoid of their connotations in time and space. This groundbreaking book seeks to reimagine objects from eighteenth-century Paris within their original context, showing how they were used in the daily routines of elite members of society. Against the background of the reign of Louis XV (r.

Overview

Luxury items from centuries past are most often seen within museum settings, devoid of their connotations in time and space. This groundbreaking book seeks to reimagine objects from eighteenth-century Paris within their original context, showing how they were used in the daily routines of elite members of society. Against the background of the reign of Louis XV (r. 1723-1774), the chapters move chronologically from morning to night, covering such topics as temporal literacy and technological advances in timekeeping; innovations in domestic architecture and design for privacy; fashion and self-identity as expressed in the ritual of the morning toilette; reading and discussion of literary texts as influences on the collecting of art; and sociability and politesse during nocturnal entertainments.

The book reflects current scholarship in social history and material culture, but rather than being an exploration of the vernacular, it investigates the emergence of the luxury trade in eighteenth-century Paris, whose products survive in great quantity due to their superior materials and craftsmanship. The essays reveal many of the considerations—practical, social, and aesthetic—that inspired their production. By connecting the purposes, function, and beauty of these works of art, the volume makes a fascinating and important contribution to the study and enjoyment of a great period in French culture. The publication coincides with the exhibition Paris: Life & Luxury on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from April 26 through August 7, 2011 and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from September 18 through December 10, 2011.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A truly enlightening book."—The Art Newspaper

“Editor and essayist Charissa Bremer-David . . . reveals much about the ideas and attitudes of 18th-century Parisian society through the magnificent relics it left behind.  But be warned: These tales of the leisurely lives of French aristocrats, from their morning toilettes to their after-dark dalliances, may elicit pangs of envy.”—artinfo.com

Paris: Life and Luxury has the outward attributes of a small coffee-table book, but this belies its contents which make a serious contribution to scholarship.”—Burlington Magazine

“Superbly and exquisitely illustrated. . . . For those who did not have the opportunity to visit the exhibition, reading the book will be the next best thing: Que la fête commence!”—New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606060520
Publisher:
Getty Publications
Publication date:
05/17/2011
Pages:
164
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Charissa Bremer-David is curator in the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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