The European Enlightenment EUH 2001 - Austin Davis

The Enlightenment was a period of time in which a mass movement was enacted by the population of Europe to incorporate scientific principles, such as natural law, into everyday life.

Locke inspired the inquiry of the social sciences, such as the nature v nurture debate, by establishing the idea that people are a product of their environment.
Enlightenment Salon

Weekly gatherings known as salons were held to promote social and intellectual interaction, in which the latest poetry, books, plays, and politics were discussed. Women began attempts to adopt a greater role in society - at the very least they began their arduous climb towards equality.

Crafting and the art of working with one's hands became more accepted in society, and the following comments from an MIT professor highlight the importance of the prominent French Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot, who vigorously promoted those who used their hands to create.

The true importance of Diderot's publication was his dissension with the bias against manual labor: the idea that the mechanical arts were a source for universal knowledge, and just as important as science or the liberal arts.

Some of the illustrations out of Diderot’s Encyclopedia, including a two-page depiction of the different steps in the textile dyeing process.

The Enlightenment inspired many new studies to be born. One such example began when French naturalist Georges Cuvier was sent fossilized Mastodon teeth, and he went on to became the founder of paleontology. Flora were chronicled as well, such as Les Roses, a collection of rose paintings from Pierre Joseph Redoute. A worldwide search for trees and vegetation was ongoing, due to Frances decreasing forests. Acorns and oak leaves were sent back to France by André Michaux, who was dispatched to North America to search for useful trees, such as the Franklinia.

The Spanish Enlightenment also spurred artistic creation, the most popular of which were the works of Goya.

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) is regarded as the most important Spanish artist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Los Caprichos': The sleep of reason produces monsters

Goya even held courtly positions as painter under King Charles III and King Charles IV. When France invaded Spain, he managed to pledge his allegiance to Joseph Bonaparte, but strongly disagreed with many French policies. Appropriately, many of these arts were political in creation and spurred many ideas and much conversation, e.g. Los Caprichos' and The Disasters of War.

Original works from Los Caprichos' and The Disasters of War
The Colossus by Francisco José de Goya

Works Cited

Darty, Amy. "Enlightenment Thought and Inquiry." Webcourses. UCF, n.d. Web. 8 Feb. 2017. <>.

"Diderot's Encyclopedia Exhibit preview." MIT Libraries Exhibits. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.

"Elephants & Roses." APS Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.

Voorhies, Author: James. "Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) and the Spanish Enlightenment | Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.

Created By
Austin Davis


Created with images by Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara - "John Locke" • Camera Eye Photography - "Week #46 Lines [46of52]"

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