Any time there is a major shift in style for the arts, just follow the money trail to locate its cause. Yes, people will chatter on about the inherent determinism of art, but it’s much more pragmatic to look for economic and social necessities. The Impressionist style has been lauded as the birth of modern painting and the first step towards artistic autonomy. Tonight, Michael Bess, chancellor’s professor of history at Vanderbilt, will articulate the contextual underpinnings of its origins. From the storming of the Bastille in 1789 to the Marxist/Anarchist upheavals of 1871, France was seized by a series of revolutions that culminated in Impressionist painting and fated the course of all Western art. If you want to understand the Impressionist style, you can’t miss this lecture.