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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sacred Heart Schools Chicago Fine Arts Council Hosts Spring Lecture on Madeleine Sophie Barat

Sacred Heart Schools Chicago (Sheridan Road)

Sacred Heart Schools Chicago Fine Arts Council hosted a Spring Lecture earlier this month in the Driehaus Center with a most appropriate topic entitled: "St. Madeleine Sophie Barat and the progressive influence of her life in the art and music of her time." The three guest speakers were: Dr. Christina Drogalis, Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University; Catherine Zurybid, Professor of Art History at DePaul University; and Sr. Sally Brennan, RSCJ, a member of the Board of Trustees for Sacred Heart Schools Chicago.  

The evening began at 6:30 pm when Sacred Heart alums and friends gathered at the Driehaus Center for gouter and shortly after  7 pm Nat Wilburn, Head of Schools welcomed the attendees and guest speakers.  

The three guest speakers covered the following historical figures below:  Rousseau by Dr. Christina Drogalis; Jacques-Louis David by Catherine Zurybid and Madeleine Sophie Barat by Sr. Sally Brennan, rscj. Kudos to the organizers of the lecture and all three presenters for an enlightening evening.   Below are the notes that were passed out to all the attendees.

Who are these three historical figures?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778): Rousseau is considered the father of Romanticism, an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that is considered one of the most violent changes of direction in intellectual history. He is attributed with being the catalyst to the French Revolution and the revolt against the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, in which science and rationalism would no longer be the authority over the individual.  Romanticism strongly influenced the visual arts, music, literature, education, and natural sciences. Rousseau was born in Protestant Geneva, but lived most of his life in Paris where he was both part of the Encyclopedia staff in Paris, and a revolutionary thinker in intellectual achievement. Some of his most notable intellectual idea and works include "child centered learning", "Julie", "Confessions", "Discourse on Inequality", "On Education", and many others.

Jacques-Louis David (1748 - 1825): David is considered one of the most influential painters of the Neoclassical (Grecian and Romanesque) style and considered the preeminent painter of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era. He aligned himself with Robespierre and Napoleon and was effectively the empire's authority on the French Arts until Napoleon's fall from power and the Bourbon revival, where he lived the remainder of his life in exile.  He aligned with the Neo-classical movement, and is most noted for his artistic themes of the French Revolution, and imperial and Republican Rome. His most famous works include "The Death of Socrates", "The Death of Marat", "Oath of the Horatii", " The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons", and "The Intervention of the Sabine Women" which was his personal plea to the French people to reunite after the bloodshot of the revolution. 

Madeleine Sophie Barat (1779 - 1865): Sophie is a French saint of the Roman Catholic Church, and founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart.  She was born in Burgundy, into a family who owned vineyards. She was classically educated in Latin, mathematics, literature, and scripture. This kind of education was not available to most children, especially girls. She was mentored by her very bright brother, Louis.  She lived in Paris at the age of 18 at a very anti-religious time for France.  She also has Jesuit mentors, who encouraged her to build schools to educate girls - she implemented that vision of educating girls of every socio-economic class, no matter the financial condition of their families. In 1820, she called a meeting of all Superiors of the Society of the Sacred Heart to discuss the quickly growing network of schools and to establish a uniform course of studies for the schools founded by the Society.  She felt strongly that these studies were to cultivate the mind and the whole child as well as the spirit by developing a deep and profound devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus and to actualize goodness in God's name. 


1712  Rousseau is born into a merchant class family: his mother dies shortly after his birth.

1742  Rousseau moves to Paris - always proud that he is a citizen of Geneva.

1748  David is born into a prosperous family.

1749  Rousseau's Discourse on the Arts and Sciences wins the Prize at the Competition of the Academy of Dijon.  This is the Central Reversal of Enlightenment Paris 

1754  Rousseau is a celebrity all over Europe - he is hated and loved in intellectual circles.

1778  Rousseau dies at the age of 66.

1779  Madeleine Sophie Barat is born into a land-owner family in Burgundy, France.

1789  David is all on his way to leave his artistic mark on the historical beginnings of the French Revolution.  These paintings of the French Revolution appear in the Salons by 1781; David is aged 42 by then.

1793  Marat is assassinated in Paris.  David's painting, "The Death of Marat" is probably one of his most famous of paintings. King and Queen are on their way to the guillotine by October 1793.

1797  Sophie moves to Paris. David has a sitting with Napoleon (his only sitting).

1804  David becomes Napoleon's court painter. Completes the famous painting "The Coronation of Napoleon in Notre Dame". Napoleon's self-coronation outrages many Romanticists in the Art circles of Europe.

1806  Sophie is elected Superior General of the entire Society of the Sacred Heart.  She remains so until her death, 60 years later.

1820  Sophie calls council meeting of all the Society's superiors to establish a uniform course of studies for the Network of schools.  The Society has schools all over Europe by this time.

1824-25  David's last great work - "Mars Being Disarmed by Venus and the Three Graces". In 1825, he sends the paintings while in exile, to Paris salons knowing full well that Romanticism is ascending in the Art Salons of Paris.  It reflects his own consciousness about Love, Faith, Hope, and Charity conquering war and rebuilding France.  In 1825, David dies in a carriage accident at age 77.

1865  Sophie dies in Paris at age 85.

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