First Advisor

Jesse Locker

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Art History and University Honors


Art History


Architecture, Baroque -- France -- Criticism and interpretation, France -- Politics and government -- 18th century




It has long been noted by architectural historians that the exuberant stylistic idiom of the Roman Baroque, which spread throughout most of Europe in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, failed to exert much of an influence on the architecture of early modern France. Scholars have traditionally interpreted this failure as a conscious rejection of the Roman Baroque style on the part of the French monarchy, which, with the rise of royal absolutism during the personal reign of Louis XIV (1661-1715) , adopted the classical style of architecture and design as a formal language with which to assert the absolute authority of the French Bourbon dynasty. Although a considerable body of recent scholarship has sought to reevaluate the impact of the Roman Baroque movement on the architecture of early modern France, the majority of these studies take a strictly formalist approach, examining the presence of Baroque formal elements in French architecture as isolated cases of Italian stylistic influence, rather than as distinctive expressions of a coherent architectural movement. This thesis examines a group of architectural projects undertaken at the Parisian residences of the Regent, Philippe d'Orléans and two of his political rivals, during the period of the Regency (1715-23), which display Roman Baroque stylistic elements. By interpreting these Roman Baroque forms in relation to the unique political conditions of the Regency, a period of relative political decentralization, this thesis explores the ways in which the Roman Baroque style enabled the political factions of Regency Paris to articulate their respective political agendas.


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