Study Grant: Voltaire and Deprez
Project : Voltaire et
de temple funéraire dédié à Voltaire (gravure), Paris,
The correspondence between
Voltaire and Desprez seems very limited; Voltaire wrote only one
(very beautiful) letter to Desprez. For investigation on their
relationship, the most interesting theme would be, for me, death.
The project would then develop in two stages, analyzing
Voltaire's and Desprez two main meeting points: the funeral
temple and the illustrations for Sémiramis; it would
show the (philosophic, artistic) relations the two men had with
death. The project would concentrate on a concealed aspect of
the XVIIIth century, age of Enlightment rather than of Darkness.
This century is more known for its quest for earthly happiness
than for metaphysics. Voltaire, in particular, is often pictured
as a happy man, humorous, opposed to Pascal and pascalism,
somehow superficial, who had no time nor desired to meditate on
death. Studuying his reactions to Desprez's dedication for the
temple, and of his tomb scenes in Sémiramis, would
introduce shade as well as light in this too simple portrait a
reveal a more rare facet of the Mondain.
Desprez, Sémiramis, Paris,