2 January 2014

When did “modernity,” begin in France?

"Historians generally use the date of the French Revolution’s beginning, 1789, to indicate the birth of modern France. If we are to believe this starting point, then key features of a modern society would seem to be;

  • The fall of absolute monarchy
  • The attempt to separate church and state affairs (secularism, the attitude that religion should have no place in civil affairs)
  • The triumph of reason in public matters over principles of faith and tradition

Modernity would then make way for scientific progress and technological advancement. Modernity hence would embrace the creation of an efficient, rational economy, the adoption of the rule of law and of democratically elected public representatives as opposed to hereditary claims to power. Modernity would require a new definition of roles for women and children in the public and private sphere. To give expression to all these new forms and ways of being, would also require the emergence of innovative and modern styles of communication in the visual, symphonic and material arts."   Prof. Nicole Dombrowski-Risser