Archive for the ‘Chapter 16: The Age of Enlightenment: Rationalism and its Uses’ Category

Enlightenment Thinkers II

Monday, September 13th, 2010

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Here is a short video that provides an easy explanation of the positions of Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Beccaria, and Voltaire.

Enlightenment Thinkers

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Enlightenment Thinkers

While this image is hard to read, it gives a general idea to how multi-facted the Enlightenment truly was. There were innovators across the board, many of whom are still relevant to this day. On this particular chart, (legible) historic figures include:               Art: Francisco Goya; Theology: John Wesley, Zinzendorf; Sciences: Newton, Benjamin Franklin; Literature: Voltaire, Diderot, Goethe; Politicks: George III, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Catherine II, Adam Smith; Philosophy: John Locke, Montesquieu.

Enlightenment Art: Neoclassicism.

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Art of the Enlightenment embodied the ideals of the era: it was direct, clear-cut, and balanced. It was called neoclassicism, and was based upon imitating the styles of ancient Greece and Rome. The fruition of this style was influenced heavily by archaeological discoveries in Rome & Greece, as well as the sense of directness & proportionalism that classical art had, which was in line with ideals of the time.

Neoclassical Architecture- based heavily on symmetry, as well as signs of ancient Greek and Roman architecture, including tall columns, pediments, and domed roofs (

Old Stock Exchange (Trieste, Italy)

US Capitol Building

Enlightenment painting & sculpture-based primarily on displaying virtue and morals, as well as the importance of reason over emotions.

“Artists and critics believed that it should once again serve the nation and be good for the people, just as it had for the ancient Greeks and Romans. Classical art had depicted serious subjects in a serious way, and so late eighteenth century artists and architects deliberately began imitating Roman and Greek art.” (Art Archive)

The Death of Socrates by Jaques Louis David

Oath of the Horatii by Jaques-Louis David

The Salon

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

During the Enlightenment period in Paris, an interesting fad arose among the aristocracy and well educated.   In a  gathering called a Salon, Parisian aristocrats would through “think tank” parties. In which they would invite philosophers, artists, writers and musicians to their parlors to discuss politics and philosophy.  These Salons were mostly hosted by aristocratic women, and brought together ideas and people from all over Europe.  This influx of influential thinking helped to make Paris a center for the Enlightenment.  The Salon became an integral part of the Enlightenment by allowing for the culmination of ideas and financial/political foundations that would help shape Europe all the way until and through the French Revolution. 

A New Kind of Music

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

During the Enlightenment, classical music was the new media of expression. Classical music came about to express the feelings of the time; formality, harmony, and control. Balance and order were encouraged over the more spontaneous and emotional improvisation of the non-western world.

The music of the Enlightenment is still relevant to this day. The works of Mozart and Haydn are still performed and apprecaited today.

Haydn Symphony no. 76 in E flat major 1/4

Mozart Symphony no. 40

Women and the Enlightenment

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

The Enlightenment was a time of new ideas and ways of thinking, but equality of the sexes wasn’t one of them. Most of the great Philosophes of the time, such as Rousseau and Emmanuel Kant continued to hold the belief that women were naturally inferior to men, even though many of the supporters of the Enlightement werre women and some were even contributors to enlightennment ideas. Kant believed that a woman who was too educated would overtax their intellect. The belief that women should remain in the domestic sphere instead of educating themselves and contributing to society outside of the household was reinforced by the enlightenment thinkers. Some Enlightenment thinkers were inclined to sympathize with women and their desire for more education opportunitites. Not all women put up with this repressive attitude. Mary Wollstonecraft and Olympe de Gouges both advocated for more equality between sexes.

Book written by Mary Wollstonecraft to bring women's rights to people's attention.

Catherine the Great

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great was a great supporter of the Enlightenment and education. Catherine sought to change Russia into being more efficient and innovative. Catherine sought legal reform because of her reading of Beccaria. She attempted to reform but was hindered by her aristocrats and commoners who disagreed over serfdom. As it goes with many powerful people, rumors of the way Catherine the Great died spread. One popular myth about the way she died is she was crushed by a horse after attempting to have inappropriate relations with it. She actually died of a stroke.