The History Book Club discussion

From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present
This topic is about From Dawn to Decadence
ART - ARCHITECTURE - CULTURE > 17th Century (Jacque Barzun's Analysis)

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jul 17, 2009 07:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod

I have found the spotlighted selection to be a very dense and thoughtful book.

However, Barzun integrates the various centuries and time periods within each chapter making it somewhat difficult to keep everything straight.

I am setting up a glossary century by century folder so that we can outline and keep straight what Barzun says about each time period. Please feel free to add to each folder.

This is the folder for the 17th Century.

From Dawn to Decadence 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present by Jacques Barzun

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Louis XIII (27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) reigned as King of France and Navarre from 1610 to 1643. (During the first half of the 17C)

Louis XIV - The Sun King

"Louis XIV of France ranks as one of the most remarkable monarchs in history. He reigned for 72 years, 54 of them he personally controlled French government. The 17th century is labeled as the age of Louis XIV. Since then his rule has been hailed as the supreme example of a type of government - absolutism. He epitomized the ideal of kingship. During his reign France stabilized and became one of the strongest powers in Europe.

During his reign France became the ideal culture since he put great care into its enhancement so he could boast it to the world. The country changed drastically from savage mediaeval ways to a more refined, exquisite living - evident from his palace in Versailles. Within 54 years he did what several kings worked on for centuries. French culture became one of the most appealing in the world, and the name Louis XIV has been associated with greatness and glory.

Louis XIV was a great monarch, and he was capable of maintaining strong kingdom because he never, in his entire life, doubted his right to be king.

His autocracy was indeed amazing, and truly an example of the kind. He lived and ruled as a king should have. Louis XIV became the ideal king, and many have tried unsuccessfully to live up to his glory."


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jul 28, 2009 06:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
The magnificence of Baroque:

"So it is with monarchical pomp and the Baroque. Their common characteristic is profusion dignifying a central purpose."

"Whoever wants to feel at once the majesty of 17C kingship and the magnificence of Baroque should seek out the room in the Louvre that displays the cycle of paintings by Rubens celebrating the life of Maria de Medici and her marriage to Henry IV of France. At first sight these panels may repel the modern viewer accustomed to gazing at a few objects at a time-- or none; whereas Rubens depicts a multitude: royalty, hangers on, sailors, soldiers, ships, angels, cherubs, animals, weapons, clouds, waves, and stars, all in luscious colors and crowded relations. The scene in each panel seems as improbable as a modern poster advertising holiday travel, but close attention shows everything justified, well ordered, and significant."

Artists and Painters:


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Norton Anthology of English Literature:

Some good audio recordings

back to top