Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art Conservation

Second Department

French Studies

Reader 1

Eric Haskell

Reader 2

Priyanka Basu

Reader 3

Mary MacNaughton

Rights Information

© 2015 Anna E. Sido


This paper compares two art museums, both created during the French Revolution, that fostered national unity by promoting a cultural identity. By analyzing the use of preexisting architecture from the ancien régime, innovative displays of art and redefinitions of the museum visitor as an Enlightened citizen, this thesis explores the application of eighteenth-century philosophy to the formation of two museums. The first is the Musée Central des Arts in the Louvre and the second is the Musée des Monuments Français, both housed in buildings taken over by the Revolutionary government and present the seized property of the royal family and Catholic Church. Created in a violent and unstable political climate, these museums were an effective means of presenting the First Republic as a guardian of national property and protector of French identity.