Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation

L’Aquarium : vision et représentation des mondes subaquatiques : un dispositif d’exposition au croisement de l’art et de la science

Abstract : Initiated with the author’s own artistic work, the first purpose of this thesis is to point out the plastic and aesthetic properties of the aquarium, in its household and unique form as much as in the scale of the scenographies used by the public aquariums. The second objective is to determine its connections with the natural state of the subaquatic world, and its influence over our way of perceiving this unique environment. Directly inherited from the XIXth century, and essentially ignored by the academic world, this exhibition device is characterized by its ambiguity. It constantly fluctuates between science, decoration and entertainment, while taking an infinite variety of forms, each one involving the spectator in a different way. Using examples in the fields of art, art history, literature, and natural sciences, but constantly linked to the author’s artistic work, this thesis is organized in three parts. After a brief historical approach of the aquarium, it is first defined as a display, a screen generating pictures, based on the model of the painting and the theater stage, and it appears then, considering its components, to be a miniature garden. Far from an accurate reproduction of a natural site, the aquarium falls under the field of art and creation, perpetuating the Mannerism of the Cinquecento, the theory of the picturesque developed in the XVIIIth century, or Chinese and Japanese traditional gardens. Without any major change since its invention, the land- or aquascape inside the aquarium finally projects a nostalgic piece of scenery - the ruins, grottoes and other follies referring to both legendary apocalypses and the current ecological peril.
Document type :
Complete list of metadatas

Cited literature [1062 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Abes Star :  Contact
Submitted on : Friday, February 28, 2020 - 2:36:08 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 1:18:27 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, May 29, 2020 - 3:00:43 PM


Version validated by the jury (STAR)


  • HAL Id : tel-02410780, version 2


Quentin Montagne. L’Aquarium : vision et représentation des mondes subaquatiques : un dispositif d’exposition au croisement de l’art et de la science. Art et histoire de l'art. Université Rennes 2, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019REN20010⟩. ⟨tel-02410780v2⟩



Record views


Files downloads