Exhibition traces revolution through portraiture (London)





A major new exhibition traces the decline of absolute monarchy and rise of the Enlightenment that swept North America and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, and shows how portraits reflected the revolutionary changes.

Called "Citizens and Kings," the show at London's Royal Academy of Arts gathers works by artists like Goya, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Joshua Reynolds, Jacques-Louis David and Thomas Gainsborough.

The early works feature kings and queens in their pomp and finery, confident in the supreme power they believed was a God-given right.

But war and revolution in the United States and France challenged that assumption, and painters and sculptors came to portray Enlightenment leaders as statesmen weighed down by civic duty and championing reason and scientific progress.


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