Introduction: Plus Ça Change (02:02)
Andrew Graham-Dixon fell in love with France when he first traveled to learn its language. Saint-Denis is a melting pot of different cultures.
Basilica of Saint-Denis (02:35)
French leaders have always been violent and could come from different countries. After peasants decapitated her during the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette's remains were buried in an unmarked grave. Edme Gaulle chiseled a sculpture to commemorate the queen's grave after being relocated to the Basilica of Saint-Denis. (Credits)
Gothic Architecture (02:29)
Abbot Suger wanted the Basilica of Saint-Denis to incorporate aspects of French and Muslim architecture. When others complained he had spent too much money on the cathedral, Suger responded, "The dull mind rises to truth through material things."
Medieval Art (03:03)
The Chateau of Chantilly holds the "Tres Riches" a prayer book created by the Limbourg brothers. Peasants seem to dance as they work. Burghers, Flemish, and British claimed portions of French territory during the middle ages.
Renaissance Times (07:39)
The French destroyed more art during the Renaissance than created it. Jean Goujon did design the Palace of Fontainebleau. In his essays, Michel de Montaigne transformed literature and art of the Western World.
Nicola Poussin (03:04)
Poussin lived in Italy and tried to explore the disordered world in his paintings. Graham-Dixon examines "Landscape with Diogenes" and "Et in Arcadia Ego."
The Sun King (04:39)
King Louis XIV created Versailles. Explore artwork and architecture located within the hunting lodge. The law forbade anyone to die at Versailles and those ill needed to be sent elsewhere to perish.
Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture (05:49)
Graham-Dixon describes the three-year rigorous curriculum artists would spend learning the craft. Charles Le Brun designed Versailles Hall of Mirrors and believed the eyebrows carried a face's emotion. Nikolai Milovanovic explains how Le Brun collaborated with Louis XIV in "The Battles of Alexander the Great."
European Domination (03:16)
King Louis XIV grew the army, transformed France into a superpower, and increased government revenues. The king commanded 144 great tables be constructed of his military fortifications and expansion.
Louis XIV's Death (02:38)
Jean-Antoine Watteau depicted changes to France after King Louis XIV's death in "L'Enseigne de Gersaint." Graham-Dixon explores "Gilles."
Rococo Movement (05:25)
François Boucher removed any political allegories or moral intent in his paintings. Jean-Jacques Rousseau criticized the over-sophistication of the time period and believed a noble savage state was ideal. Burno Blasselle shows Graham-Dixon a first edition of the encyclopedia.
Creating a New Society (02:36)
After completing the encyclopedia, Denis Diderot began writing essays on art criticism. Louis-Michel Van Loo painted a portrait. Graham-Dixon describes how Diderot's art criticism was actually social commentary.
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (05:09)
Chardin painted eggs, glasses of water, and still lifes. "The Ray" depicts a bloody central form surrounded by everyday objects. Learn how his artwork impacted future generations of painters.
Credits: Plus Ça Change (00:29)
Credits: Plus Ça Change
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