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Rahel Aerin Eslas

  • Art History and Visual Culture
  • MA
  • Truth in Painting: Denis Diderot's Critique on the Salon of 1765
  • Tutor: prof. Krista Kodres (PhD)

This study aims to seek out different properties of a painting that are needed to achieve truth in the eyes of Denis Diderot, based on his Salon critique of 1765 and the accompanying text Essais sur la peinture (English: ‘Notes on painting’). The analysis was conducted under the assumption that three vital conditions needed to be met for Diderot to find truth in a painting -– the masterful imitation of nature, the logical and reasonable structure of the composition and narrative of the painting, and the presence of an effect that gives rise to emotion in the subject.

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin, Le Salon de 1765, plume, lavis, aquarelle et rehauts de gouache, Paris, Musée du Louvre