Hero and Villain: Lafayette's Legacies

Laura Auricchio, Associate Professor of Art History and Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at The New School in New York.

Co-presented with the Sydney Intellectual History Network (SIHN@Sydney)

12 November, 2013

Americans have long hailed the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) as an extraordinarily admirable figure - a wealthy French nobleman who, at the age of 19, volunteered to fight in the War of Independence and prodded his king to support the rebel cause. But in France, Lafayette is seen by partisans on both the left and the right as an opportunist, a misguided dreamer, even a traitor. In her talk, Auricchio will consider how Lafayette, a man who lived by a principle that he called “moderation,” could have garnered such disparate reputations. While part of the answer lies in the very different roles that he played and decisions that he made in the French and American revolutions, this talk focuses on the importance of visual, material, and print cultures in shaping and sustaining Lafayette's divided legacies.

Associate Professor Laura Auriccho

Laura Auricchio is Associate Professor of Art History and Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at The New School in New York. She has published widely on French and American visual culture in the Age of Revolution and on topics in twentieth-century American art. Her next book, The Marquis, a visually informed biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2014.

For further information about SIHN@Sydney, please contact: Jennifer Milam, Professor of Art History and Eighteenth-Century Studies at