Portraiture and Politics in Revolutionary France

Amy Freund

Portraiture and Politics in Revolutionary France challenges widely held assumptions about both the genre of portraiture and the political and cultural role of images in France at the beginning of the nineteenth century. After 1789, portraiture came to dominate French visual culture because it addressed the central challenge of the Revolution: how to turn subjects into citizens. Revolutionary portraits allowed sitters and artists to appropriate the means of representation, both aesthetic and political, and articulate new forms of selfhood and citizenship, often in astonishingly creative ways. The triumph of revolutionary portraiture also marks a turning point in the history of art, when seriousness of purpose and aesthetic ambition passed from the formulation of historical narratives to the depiction of contemporary individuals. This shift had major consequences for the course of modern art production and its engagement with the political and the contingent.



  • $84.95 cloth, 978-0-271-06194-8
  • $14.95 ebook
  • 312 pages
  • 43 color/58 b&w illustrations | 9 x 10

Content Excerpt

Table of Contents

about the author

Amy Freund is an assistant professor and Kleinheinz Family Endowed Chair in Art History at Southern Methodist University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and began her teaching career in the SMU art history department in 2005 as a Haakon Predoctoral Fellow. She subsequently held an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Before joining the SMU faculty in 2014, she was an assistant professor at Texas Christian University.

Dr. Freund is a specialist in 18th-century European art. She is currently working on a second book on the representation of the hunt in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France.