This course explores the way the ground, in the various meanings of the term, is questioned in the visual arts in France during the 17th and 18th centuries. The development, from the Renaissance onwards, of a narrative model thanks to the notion of historia has focused the attention on the figures and, generally speaking, on the motives. Dealing with the ground is not only a way to complete a vision of the figurative work of art as a whole: it is also questioning why is the ground overlooked; how the ground is at the center of a complex articulation when it is associated with depth (from background to foreground), with a function of place for the motives (floor or soil), with the movement (the ground as field), with matter (the ground as support or as surface of the representation). What is at stake here is the centering of the visual arts on the human figure as the image of God and the tension created by the representation of transcendence and a new valuation of immanence, usually associated with the notion of secularization, from the beginning of the 18th century on : hence the discovery of new issues (the ground as territory, the ground as underground) ; but also, more discretely and more fundamentally, a questioning which is not only topographical, but causal : the ground of the representation – corresponding to a crisis of the subject matter in the arts of the 18th century and more generally, an interrogation about what is to be seen in a work of art and, finally, the ground for our own interest, at the age of the screen, for the ground.