We generally equate fireworks with contemporary celebrations for the Fourth of July, but this etching proves they’ve been lighting up the sky to celebrate momentous occasions for centuries.
The Fireworks, a recent acquisition by Jean Michel Moreau, the Younger, marked the birth of dauphin Louis-Joseph, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Theatrical spectacles like this were common for royal weddings and births, especially so for the first born son and the expected future king of France (he died from illness at age 7). By miniaturizing the thousands of onlookers in the foreground, Moreau was able to emphasize the sheer size of the pyrotechnic festivities and the importance of the event. The size of the print (54.3 x 80.2 cm.) also contributes to its rarity; this impression was preserved in an album, as were most surviving examples.
Jean Michel Moreau, the Younger. The Fireworks, January 21, 1782. The Amanda S. Johnson and Marion Livingston Fund.
1 day 4 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Congratulations to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on their grand opening this weekend. The building, designed by architect David Adjaye, is a truly historic addition to the National Mall in Washington D.C. #APeoplesJourney #MakingHistory
1 day 7 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Time machines, superheroes, wild creatures, and more… JourneyMaker makes every visit to the museum an adventure.
Try this new digital interactive for families in the museum’s Ryan Learning Center, located in the Modern Wing, or print out a tour at home.
2 days 5 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Today marks the autumn equinox and the official end of summer. Celebrate the changing of the seasons with the latest in ARTicle’s Sound and Vision series, matching songs from around the world with our encyclopedic collection.