La conversation des Enfants d’Apollon : une sociabilité et ses stratégies au siècle des Lumières Article - 2015

Marie-Pauline Martin, Solveig Serre

Marie-Pauline Martin, Solveig Serre, « La conversation des Enfants d’Apollon : une sociabilité et ses stratégies au siècle des Lumières  », Revue de l’Art, 2015, pp. 57-63. ISSN 0035-1326


The very name of the “Société Académique des Enfants d’Apollon” (Academic Society of the Children of Apollo), founded in 1741, makes sense. It does not simply designate an intellectual sociability defined by the principle of knowledge – as embodied by the literary salons. The choice of the term “academic” expresses an identity bias, which itself refers to a body of experiences developed throughout Europe ever since the Renaissance : by forming an academic society, the Enfants d’Apollon were claiming a specific status whose legitimacy and coherence relied on identified practices, which wil The Society admitted, in particular, sixty associates, recruited both among famous “musicians” active in Paris, and “non musicians” – painters, scholars or men of letters, such as Charles-Nicolas Cochin, Joseph Vernet, and Charles-Simon Miger. Meetings were held every second Sunday of the month in order to encourage the productive and useful dialogue between musicians, artists, men of letters and scholars. Were these conversations in reality motivated, as suggested by the statutes, by a natural feeling of brotherhood, leading man to spontaneously seek out his fellows ? Or rather were these meetings the result of the calculation of the usefulness and the consciousness of the pragmatic interest that getting together and seeing each other regularly could hold for the musicians and the men of the arts. It is therefore the historical purpose of this “academic” Society and its foundation that this article tries to establish, through the careful inspection of unpublished documents tied to the rituals and to the concrete productions of the institution.

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