Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Art History

Department or School/College

School of Art

Committee Chair

Valerie Hedquist

Commitee Members

Mladen Kozul, Rafael Chacon


Carle Vanloo, colore vs. designo, Drunken Silenus, Poussiniste, rococo, Rubeniste, Rubens, Silenus


University of Montana


Buxton, Anna, M.A., Spring 2012 Major Art Painting for the Eye: Carle Vanloo’s Drunken Silenus and the 18th Century French Academy Chairperson: Dr. Valerie Hedquist In 1747, newly appointed Directeur general des Bâtiments du Roi, Charles – François Le Normand de Tournehem organized a concours, or competition, in the French Royal Academy. He hoped to reinvigorate history painting at a time when Rococo themes dominated. With this challenge before him, Tournehem invited ten of the better known academic painters to produce works which challenged the norms of the popular frivolous style. De Tournehem expected edifying subject matter, such as the ennobling themes produced by Poussin in the previous century, however, the majority of the competitors chose traditional mythological scenes which were not so different from their Rococo counterparts. Among the participants, Carle Vanloo submitted a painting of the Drunken Silenus (L’Ivresse de Silene) in a scene that seemingly mocked those very goals of the concours. In this work, the central figure is an old man so incapacitated by wine and his own weight that he leans unsteadily on his fellow revelers. This thesis explores the tension between the goals of the competition and the subject matter produced by Vanloo within the larger context of academic pedagogic shifts in the 18th century.



© Copyright 2011 Anna Buxton