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Georgia J. Cowart
Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH 44106-4901)
Watteau's Utopias of Music and Theater: Visions of a New France

This book project links a number of Watteau's late paintings to the Parisian musical theater at the Paris Opera, the French and Italian Comedies, and the fairground theaters. A series of theatrical works, connected by an intricate network of political satire and intertextual allusion, represents a self-reflexive celebration of modern theatrical entertainment in direct opposition to traditional modes of monarchical propaganda. A wide range of sources including libretti, stage directions, and stage designs confirm Watteau's transfer of detailed imagery as well as the libertine, satirical tone of these works to the visual arts. The focus of my project is an interpretation of Watteau's paintings as they reflect theatrical games of masks with multiple layers of meaning. As part of this process I also seek to understand their more delicate resonances and to relate these to the dreams and aspirations of a changing society.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2011 – 12/31/2011