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City of Light, City of Love

Guest Lecturer Dr. Elizabeth Buck discusses Paris as mythic landmark and modern metropolis…

Dr. Elizabeth Buck, Visiting Lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and parent of Emory ’11 and Kelley Buck ’13, delivered this year’s Jaffe Lecture, “Picturing Paris.” The lecture, delivered on Sunday, considered “the creation of Paris as a site of fantasy: as the city of love, the city of decadence, the city of light, the city of revolution and liberty, and the city of mass culture, of fashion and food.”

Dr. Buck was approached by Fine Arts Teacher David Dickinson. Mr. Dickinson had been planning this lecture for a long time now, and he was extremely excited to learn more about Parisian culture.

“This will give the community an opportunity to learn more about Paris from an expert. This opportunity does not come around very often, and I am very excited to experience it with everyone,” he said.

What started out as a small talk became a lecture open to all students about the wonders of Paris in the 19th century. The presentation gave students the chance to understand the preconceptions and legends of Paris and also gave the opportunity for students to figure out for themselves whether or not these legends are true.

“Paris is not actually this antiquated place that is living in the past,” said Dr. Buck, “It is subject to change as it is a modern city with modern problems. These changes can definitely be seen in the impressionist paintings of the 19th century.”

The lecture Dr. Buck delivered was a condensed version of the course she teaches at UNC. She spoke about the changes that took place in Paris during the 19th century and how they affected the city.

“It’s fun to look at paintings that are familiar to you while finding many aspects and details that you may not have noticed before,” said Dr. Buck.

“Picturing Paris” explores the effect of major events in the 19th century, such as the French Civil War, on the artists of the time. Dr. Buck explained, “Many artists were affected by the changes made to the city in the mid-19th century such as the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and the civil war that followed.”

At Deerfield, Dr. Buck’s lecture also helped students understand how the French live in comparison to Americans. “The French are very different socially than us, and it really shows in their artwork.” said Dr. Buck.

Mr. Dickinson expressed his excitement over Dr. Buck sharing her knowledge with the Deerfield community. “This is just a wonderful opportunity to learn about a city that still remains a hub of interesting art and culture.”

This lecture was supported by the Jaffe Lecture series. This series helps to fund presentations specifically for the Fine Arts Department, such as this one.


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