Enlightenment is a rich metaphor. It includes an implicit refutation - a denunciation of darkness and error. The 18th century could look upon the 17th century’s Olympian certitudes as hubristic and its claims of privy access to divine wisdom as blasphemous. Such simultaneously airy and overbearing imagery as, say, Rubens’ Banqueting House ceiling should be replaced by a more modest vision. Painting would turn to the observation of those equipped with nothing but sense, reason and sensibility. In this lecture, Dr James Lawson will examine the ideas, art and artists of the Enlightenment.
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