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Jan 19

David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art

Throughout Western history, the societies that have made the greatest contributions to the spread of freedom have created iconic works of art to celebrate their achievements. Yet despite the enduring appeal of these works – from the Parthenon to Michelangelo’s David to Picasso’s Guernica – histories of both art and democracy have ignored this phenomenon. Millions have admired the artworks covered in this book but relatively few know why they were commissioned, what was happening in the culture that produced them, or what they were meant to achieve. Even scholars who have studied them for decades often miss the big picture by viewing them in isolation from a larger story of human striving.

David’s Sling places into context ten canonical works of art executed to commemorate the successes of free societies that exerted political and economic influence far beyond what might have been expected of them. Fusing political and art history with a judicious dose of creative reconstruction, Victoria Coates has crafted a narrative around each artistic object and the free system that inspired it. In doing so, she integrates the themes of creative excellence and political freedom to bring a new perspective to both the synergy of liberty and human achievement.

Victoria C. G. Coates received her Ph.D. from The University of Pennsylvania specializing in Italian renaissance studies. A regular contributor to symposia in the United States and Europe, her work has appeared in The Sixteenth-Century Journal, Gazette des Beaux-Arts and Renaissance Studies. In 2007, Dr. Coates became the Director, of Research in the Office of Donald Rumsfeld and provided editorial support for Sec. Rumsfeld's memoir, Known and Unknown. She has also been a Senior Fellow at the Commonwealth Foundation, an Adjunct Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a Consulting Curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

More About the Speakers

Victoria C. G. Coates

Hosted By

Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. Nile Gardiner, Ph.D.

Director, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom Read More