From Society to Solitude: Public and Private Space in Seventeenth-Century France

Exhibition, Hall cases, 12 October 1994 to 15 January 1995

The terms contemplation, solitude, exile, leisure, rest, retreat, reverse, and solitude—and their antonyms action, court, world, worldliness and society—constitute a recurring chain of ideas in seventeenth-century fictional and biographical literature. From Society to Solitude combines history, literature, and architecture, focusing on the theme of the retreat and its interrelation with the physical organisation of space, both real and imagined.

The exhibition features approximately 30 engravings, plans, and frontispieces from portfolios, treatises, and manuals that provide visual evidence of this relationship between public and private life and reflecting their opposition in seventeenth-century architectural iconography.

Curated by Bernard Beugnot, Université de Montréal, with Pierre-Édouard Latouche, CCA.


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