I dance therefore I am

The Fair at Bezons, ca. 1733

Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Pater (1695–1736)
The Fair at Bezons, ca. 1733

Dance and Nature–these two themes have run throughout my research and they are brought together in this galante scene by a student of Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). In this painting and in many of Watteau’s landscapes, dancers are central. At this time, dance defined nobility in a way that we in the 21st century find hard to grasp. The focus of Rene Descartes’ (1596-1650) famous dictum “cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am) is on the mind, but I would like to suggest that then, as now, the mind is embodied.

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