2020 Student Research Conference:
33rd Annual Student Research Conference

Aeneas and Empire: Eighteenth-Century Depictions in Support of Imperial Traditions


Emily S. Pollman
Dr. Heidi Cook, Faculty Mentor

Currently on display at the Louvre, Carle Vanloo’s (1705-1765) Aeneas Carrying Anchises (1729) has an impressive provenance tracing through three pivotal collections in pre-revolutionary eighteenth-century France.  Its popularity with French nobility of the time is reflective of the painting’s ancient mythological subject matter and contemporaneous political undertones.  Eighteenth-century European governments emulated the imperial precedent of the ancient Roman Empire founded by Augustus in 27 BCE.  Augustus’ divine right to rule was reinforced through Rome’s mythological proto-founder Aeneas from Vergil’s Aeneid.  Centuries later, not only was Aeneas worthy of emulation for his respectable virtues including piety, valor, and dutifulness, but he was similarly used by different eighteenth-century European imperial governments. I posit that the collectors and collections associated with Vanloo’s Aeneas Carrying Anchises utilized the mythical Roman to advocate French power on the world stage under the French Monarchy. 

Keywords: Carle Vanloo, Aeneas, Eighteen-Century Art, imperialism, French Monarchy

Topic(s):Art - Art History

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: TBA
Location: TBA
Time: TBA

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