In his LSU lecture “What Language to Say ‘the Arts’? French Rhetoric and German Aesthetics in the 18th Century,” Professor Fumaroli will share his thoughts on a number of fundamental problems concerning the relationship between words and images, especially the perceived gap between artistic practice and philosophical theory. Rather than reducing the “conceptual turn” in contemporary art to the early 20th century and Marcel Duchamp, he traces its roots to the advent of German aesthetics in the 18th century. Opposed to the dictates and rationalist rigidity of aesthetics, he advances the French poetical and rhetorical tradition as a potent alternative for understanding and interpreting art. The guiding idea behind his talk will be a saying by the Roman first-century BC poet Horace:
ut pictura poesis
(as is painting, so is poetry).
Following the lecture, a reception will be held at Hill Memorial Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The reception coincides with the opening of La Langue mondiale: French as the Language of Art and Thought, 1750–1900, an exhibition curated by Hill Memorial librarians, Associate Professor Darius Spieth, and students in Spieth’s seminar, Artistic Life in Paris in 19th-Century French Literature. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.