Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Making the News in 18th-Century France

Curated by Stéphane Roy

13 February – 22 April 2012

Making the News examines the ways the news was created, looked at, understood, and consumed in 18th-century France. In particular, printed images helped people grasp the nature of important events both near and far, from the taking of Québec City in 1759 to the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Despite the unpredictable time lag involved in their production, prints shaped public opinion as much, if not more, than the printed word, giving visual form to such politically-charged ideas as tyranny and patriotism.

Making the News presents approximately 40 prints and rare books made in France from 1770 to 1820, selected from CUAG’s collection, and loaned by the National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, and the MacOdrum Library at Carleton University. Woven into a narrative linking history and art history, literature and journalism, politics and image-making, these objects will shed new light on art and ideas in the era of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

Although bound to centuries-old printmaking techniques, the 18th-century public’s relation to visual information was the precursor to our experience in the digital age, shaping the news through the rapid production and dissemination of images. A publication is planned.

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