From French Royalty to Empire - Art and decorative elegance from Louis XIV's Versailles to Napoleon WEA Sydney

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French monarchs managed their images as carefully as any self-branded celebrity today. How did Louis XIV use the artisans and artists of the day through his patronage to enhance and dazzle his image as Sun-King? How did he make Versailles the representation of himself to be envied and copied by monarchs all over Europe? Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were the epitome of 18th century frivolity and play with artists creating portraits to reflect their extravagance but also to make political statements. The arts of beautiful clocks and incredible silver with themes of nature and fine porcelain also reflected the developing ideals of the Enlightenment. Lastly, in order to reinforce his acquired position of leader of France and Emperor, Napoleon employed many similar tactics in his use of the arts as had previous French monarchs.

This is a Discussion Group course, if you aren’t already part of a group please see ‘Getting Started’ below.  


Course Author: Dr Anne Harbers

Course Code: D245

Supplied Material: Fully illustrated Course Booklet

Units & Pricing: 4 units / $58 per person


Start your Group: Anyone can start a Discussion Group – seek out some like-minded friends or put up a notice in your local library, bookshop or workplace. Please note a minimum of 6 people is required to start a new discussion group.

Arrange the Meetings: New groups need to decide where and when to meet, and for how long – whatever best suits members' particular situations.

Run your Group: Choose a secretary to liaise with WEA and your tutor, a Discussion Leader to chair meetings, a reporter to take discussion notes to send to your tutor, and maybe a librarian to look after the books.

Start the Course: Contact WEA Sydney to enrol. Bookings can be made for one year, divided into two terms – Term 1 commences in February, Term 2 in July (Groups may make forward bookings for popular choices). Please indicate in what order your Group wishes to study the courses, if more than one course is booked.