The Reception of the Nazarene Movement in France


The purpose of this overview is to examine the reception of the Nazarene movement in France by first recalling how art criticism interpreted the works and theories of Nazarene painters. Then by addressing the question of the existence of a French Nazarene movement, which is currently being debated in modern historiography. And finally by looking at how Nazarene compositions, engravings in particular, had a direct influence on the production of religious paintings, stained glass and other illustrated works of devotion throughout the 19th century. If Nazarene art had little direct impact on major religious paintings in France, and if its reception was controversial with art critics, Nazarene theories nevertheless made a lasting contribution in defining an ideal model of Christian art, whose criteria were posited by Montalembert and Rio. Their influence was to be felt in debates and controversies on the subject of religious art throughout the century.