In his lengthy Salons written for Grimm’s Correspondance littéraire, Diderot, a pioneer in art criticism, describes and evaluates the paintings exposed in the exhibitions organized by the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in the Salon Carré at the Louvre. When dealing with still abundant religious subjects, the salonnier adopts a variety of positions, from neutrality to plain satire. The religious figures (devotees, saints or divine characters) in certain paintings, though, lead to the occasional adoption of a more original and disconcerting critical strategy, when the atheist philosophe pretends to deplore the absence of what he cannot and does not want to find: a believable suggestion of the divine. The Diderotian discourse itself, in its im-pertinence, generates the absence of meaning at the heart of the religious painting of the time.
|Translated title of the contribution||A Ruffled Holy Spirit: Diderot’s Impertinent Discourse on Religious Painting in the Salons|
|Journal||Nouvelle revue d’esthétique|
|State||Published - 2022|