Manion poster JPEG

Sophie Matthiesson

Curator, International Art, National Gallery of Victoria

Captive Markets: Artists in Prison in the French Revolution

Hundreds of artists found themselves in prison during the French Revolution. While confined surprising numbers resumed painting, sculpting, drawing and even engraving. Few prisons were without some level or artistic production and exchange. Based on unpublished research of French prison archives and prison-made works of art, this lecture addresses some basic questions.

Who were the artists, and why were they imprisoned? What did they make and for whom? Using select case studies, this talk will propose some basic categories and functions of the prison-made object and present a model for its interpretation. It will also consider some of the wider implications of this curious and little-known area of cultural production for our understanding of the political prison in France in the period 1793-5.

Sophie Matthiesson is Curator of International Art at the National Gallery of Victoria. She has taught art history at the universities of Sussex, Manchester and Leeds. Her most recent publications are in the field of British Modernism, Surrealism, and cubism. The topic of the 2009 Margaret Manion lecture is drawn from her doctoral research on the artist in prison in the French Revolution.

6.30pm Tuesday 13 October 2009
Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre
The University of Melbourne

All Welcome