Spectacles of Power, the Baroque and State Performance of Power
For more than two centuries, the courts of Europe deployed lavishly staged events to perform, promote, celebrate and maintain their status. These displays employed the finest artists of many mediums–architects, poets, musicians, choreographers, painters, machinists–and played across Europe until aristocracy itself came to its violent closure at the end of the 18th century. No site has left richer and more abundant records of their performances than the baroque, yet since the fall of the ancien regime, and the subsequent tradition of marxist historiography that celebrated the demise of Aristocracy, the baroque has not faired well throughout the 20th century. As the most overly remembered neglected period, the Baroque may provide the perfect site for reading the troubled aesthetics of state power, then and now.