To Scale: Manufacturing Grandeur in the Age of Louis XIV
Grandin. Dissertation. To Scale. May 13 2021.2.pdf (19.08Mb)
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CitationGrandin, Sarah. 2021. To Scale: Manufacturing Grandeur in the Age of Louis XIV. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation proposes that during the reign of Louis XIV (1661−1715), art’s physical extent was fashioned to embody the ethos of absolute rule, which was defined by its relatively limitless and pervasive nature. To make this argument, I examine four artisanal enterprises unprecedented in their scale, size, and scope: the Savonnerie carpets woven for the Grande Galerie du Louvre, royal gardens, the print volumes known as the Cabinet du Roi, and the Romain du Roi typeface. Drawing upon administrative records, workshop inventories, artisanal treatises, preparatory sketches, period representations of making, and surviving objects, I demonstrate that scalar regularity emerged as the royal administration’s paramount aesthetic concern. Uniformity was meant, paradoxically, to convey Louis XIV’s exceptionalism: his territorial mastery, his sovereignty, and even his modernity. And yet, while the King’s powers were, in theory, absolute, the scaling of objects encountered limits at every turn. By comparing ideal visions to the objects themselves, my research uncovers the rift between scalar ambition and the intractable constraints of the early modern workshop, all of which precipitated a shift in the role of the artisan. At the same time as practitioners adapted their working methods to fulfill a mandate of standardization, they also sought to assert the enduring value of their unique, embodied set of skills.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368507
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