Georg Nicolai Achen (1860 – 1912) was a Danish painter.
David Inshaw (b 1943), British painter. His work makes me think to Jamie Wyeth, and Alex Colville too, of course. Quiet, too clean, surreal, dreamy, what else? I love it!
Roland Barthes explained the “Effect of Reality” as a way to establish literary texts as realistic.
He said that some descriptions, in novels, have no other reason than to make us feel it’s a real place.
“…in one of his novels Flaubert describes the room of his main character and mentions a pyramid of boxes and cases standing under a barometer. These kinds of details are called notations by Barthes; he contrasts them with the main outline of the story, which he labels predictive, probably because on this level we can make certain predictions about the development of the story.”
F. R. Ankersmit
- We find this “tool” in some Antonioni’s movies, L’Avventura or L’Eclisse for example. A scene lasts a little to much. The camera shows something (a gaze, a street) without “real” reason. No other reason than this : suddenly you “feel” as if you touched reality, getting out of the-dream-of-watching-a-movie.
- We find this “tool” in Hopper’s paintings. For me, it’s his main talent, asset. We watch : some people are here, just “being” – they wait or think, who knows? These paintings stop you, wondering what these people do, if they’re bored…
- We find this “tool” in Chekhov’s short stories. His descriptions are not here just to “paint the scenery”, but (and very shortly/effectively) make us feel something. So much that I remember plenty of places of these books!
Of course, it’s used in many other art pieces and form.
I think this is linked to our idea of boredom. In Antonioni we often watch someone doing nothing – breathing, watching something, thinking. It breaks the usual “flow of events” we often see in movies. Or we see a conversation leading to nowhere. Blank seconds. We see people dealing with boredom. And maybe we are hurt, of surprised, or… bored a bit. And it’s an effect of reality, right?
Sometimes it’s just “a place shown”, like in Hopper‘s work. The light on a wall suddenly makes you “feel” the place. You can almost hear the little wind, or the street, the sea. It’s as if your brain suddenly touched the reality he wanted you to feel.
What will we do with this? Why and how does it work? Why is it… good? What about photography? One purpose of it could be to “make us touch” reality, instead of amazing us? What do you think?
Thanks for reading!
Joseba Eskubi is a Spanish artist, who creates “soft, amorphic and organic forms”.
You’ll find the “Bacon thing” in his work, or find it a bit weird, but you’ll feel your brain searching, turning around with the idea of “what-is-it” boiling. His colors skills are great.
It stopped me. What do YOU think?
Ce qui est trop parfait met Dieu en colère
“What is too perfect makes God angry”
Academic Art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. In the 19th Century, the French called it “l’art pompier”, especially historical or allegorical ones. It derives from the helmets with horse-hair tails, worn at the time by French firemen, which are similar to the Attic helmet often worn in such works by allegorical personifications, classical warriors, or Napoleonic cavalry. It also suggests pompeux (“pompous”).
Pompier art was seen by those who used the term as the epitome of the values of the bourgeoisie, and as insincere and overblown.
(Thank you, Wikipedia)
These painters (like Gérôme or Bouguereau) had a splendid technique, but they stayed in History, in this Pompier catégory : boring and perfectly made.
Now I admit there’s a guilty pleasure watching these guys’s works. But this is NOT what you want to study for months, right? Which I did with Manet…
There’s a pattern here : an annoying dance between “It’s splendidly made” and “It’s nowhere inventing here”, no emotion, just technique…
If we agree with the core of Arts (“What’s new here?”) – and that there’s nothing new here – we can watch this pattern/structure in other places, like photography. This will be the part 2!
Thanks for reading!
When I visited my kindergarten school as an adult, I was surprised how everything seemed so little…
I found this little tool in a book about Modern Arts : Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), an Italian painter, was part of a group of artists who founded the Futurism movement.
“While the impressionists paint a picture to give one particular moment and subordinate the life of the picture to its resemblance to this moment, we synthesize every moment (time, place, form, color-tone) and thus paint the picture”.
I love this idea, “synthesize”, so I extracted the tool :
“The synthesis of what we remember and what we see”.
Inventing entities is interesting. Here, it’s made of, for example, “the successive forms of a moving object”, and the tool number one becomes SIMULTANEITY.
OK, these are on my table. What now?
I remember I read a Victor Hugo poem yesterday : Olympio’s Sadness. Revisiting memories… and the place, this poem is dancing weaving… what one remembers and what one see!
“How little time it takes for you, Nature, with your unwrinkled brow, to change everything, disregardingly, and, in your acts of transformation, to snap the mysterious threads that bind our hearts.”
Well, it’s just fun to apply this “synthesis of what we remember and what we see” tool elsewhere. Marketing? Photography? Teaching?
For sure it creates a tension: will we art it?
Thanks for reading!
Les champs n’étaient point noirs, les cieux n’étaient pas mornes.
Non, le jour rayonnait dans un azur sans bornes
Sur la terre étendu,
L’air était plein d’encens et les prés de verdures
Quand il revit ces lieux où par tant de blessures
Son coeur s’est répandu !
L’automne souriait ; les coteaux vers la plaine
Penchaient leurs bois charmants qui jaunissaient à peine ;
Le ciel était doré ;
Et les oiseaux, tournés vers celui que tout nomme,
Disant peut-être à Dieu quelque chose de l’homme,
Chantaient leur chant sacré !
Il voulut tout revoir, l’étang près de la source,
La masure où l’aumône avait vidé leur bourse,
Le vieux frêne plié,
Les retraites d’amour au fond des bois perdues,
L’arbre où dans les baisers leurs âmes confondues
Avaient tout oublié !
Il chercha le jardin, la maison isolée,
La grille d’où l’oeil plonge en une oblique allée,
Les vergers en talus.
Pâle, il marchait. – Au bruit de son pas grave et sombre,
Il voyait à chaque arbre, hélas ! se dresser l’ombre
Des jours qui ne sont plus !
Il entendait frémir dans la forêt qu’il aime
Ce doux vent qui, faisant tout vibrer en nous-même,
Y réveille l’amour,
Et, remuant le chêne ou balançant la rose,
Semble l’âme de tout qui va sur chaque chose
Se poser tour à tour !
Les feuilles qui gisaient dans le bois solitaire,
S’efforçant sous ses pas de s’élever de terre,
Couraient dans le jardin ;
Ainsi, parfois, quand l’âme est triste, nos pensées
S’envolent un moment sur leurs ailes blessées,
Puis retombent soudain.
Il contempla longtemps les formes magnifiques
Que la nature prend dans les champs pacifiques ;
Il rêva jusqu’au soir ;
Tout le jour il erra le long de la ravine,
Admirant tour à tour le ciel, face divine,
Le lac, divin miroir !
Hélas ! se rappelant ses douces aventures,
Regardant, sans entrer, par-dessus les clôtures,
Ainsi qu’un paria,
Il erra tout le jour, vers l’heure où la nuit tombe,
Il se sentit le coeur triste comme une tombe,
Alors il s’écria :
” O douleur ! j’ai voulu, moi dont l’âme est troublée,
Savoir si l’urne encor conservait la liqueur,
Et voir ce qu’avait fait cette heureuse vallée
De tout ce que j’avais laissé là de mon coeur !
Que peu de temps suffit pour changer toutes choses !
Nature au front serein, comme vous oubliez !
Et comme vous brisez dans vos métamorphoses
Les fils mystérieux où nos coeurs sont liés !
Nos chambres de feuillage en halliers sont changées !
L’arbre où fut notre chiffre est mort ou renversé ;
Nos roses dans l’enclos ont été ravagées
Par les petits enfants qui sautent le fossé.
Un mur clôt la fontaine où, par l’heure échauffée,
Folâtre, elle buvait en descendant des bois ;
Elle prenait de l’eau dans sa main, douce fée,
Et laissait retomber des perles de ses doigts !
On a pavé la route âpre et mal aplanie,
Où, dans le sable pur se dessinant si bien,
Et de sa petitesse étalant l’ironie,
Son pied charmant semblait rire à côté du mien !
La borne du chemin, qui vit des jours sans nombre,
Où jadis pour m’attendre elle aimait à s’asseoir,
S’est usée en heurtant, lorsque la route est sombre,
Les grands chars gémissants qui reviennent le soir.
La forêt ici manque et là s’est agrandie.
De tout ce qui fut nous presque rien n’est vivant ;
Et, comme un tas de cendre éteinte et refroidie,
L’amas des souvenirs se disperse à tout vent !
N’existons-nous donc plus ? Avons-nous eu notre heure ?
Rien ne la rendra-t-il à nos cris superflus ?
L’air joue avec la branche au moment où je pleure ;
Ma maison me regarde et ne me connaît plus.
D’autres vont maintenant passer où nous passâmes.
Nous y sommes venus, d’autres vont y venir ;
Et le songe qu’avaient ébauché nos deux âmes,
Ils le continueront sans pouvoir le finir !
Car personne ici-bas ne termine et n’achève ;
Les pires des humains sont comme les meilleurs ;
Nous nous réveillons tous au même endroit du rêve.
Tout commence en ce monde et tout finit ailleurs.
Oui, d’autres à leur tour viendront, couples sans tache,
Puiser dans cet asile heureux, calme, enchanté,
Tout ce que la nature à l’amour qui se cache
Mêle de rêverie et de solennité !
D’autres auront nos champs, nos sentiers, nos retraites ;
Ton bois, ma bien-aimée, est à des inconnus.
D’autres femmes viendront, baigneuses indiscrètes,
Troubler le flot sacré qu’ont touché tes pieds nus !
Quoi donc ! c’est vainement qu’ici nous nous aimâmes !
Rien ne nous restera de ces coteaux fleuris
Où nous fondions notre être en y mêlant nos flammes !
L’impassible nature a déjà tout repris.
Oh ! dites-moi, ravins, frais ruisseaux, treilles mûres,
Rameaux chargés de nids, grottes, forêts, buissons.
Est-ce que vous ferez pour d’autres vos murmures ?
Est-ce que vous direz à d’autres vos chansons ?
Nous vous comprenions tant ! doux, attentifs, austères,
Tous nos échos s’ouvraient si bien à votre voix !
Et nous prêtions si bien, sans troubler vos mystères,
L’oreille aux mots profonds que vous dites parfois !
Répondez, vallon pur, répondez, solitude,
O nature abritée en ce désert si beau,
Lorsque nous dormirons tous deux dans l’attitude
Que donne aux morts pensifs la forme du tombeau,
Est-ce que vous serez à ce point insensible
De nous savoir couchés, morts avec nos amours,
Et de continuer votre fête paisible,
Et de toujours sourire et de chanter toujours ?
Est-ce que, nous sentant errer dans vos retraites,
Fantômes reconnus par vos monts et vos bois,
Vous ne nous direz pas de ces choses secrètes
Qu’on dit en revoyant des amis d’autrefois ?
Est-ce que vous pourrez, sans tristesse et sans plainte,
Voir nos ombres flotter où marchèrent nos pas,
Et la voir m’entraîner, dans une morne étreinte,
Vers quelque source en pleurs qui sanglote tout bas ?
Et s’il est quelque part, dans l’ombre où rien ne veille,
Deux amants sous vos fleurs abritant leurs transports,
Ne leur irez-vous pas murmurer à l’oreille :
– Vous qui vivez, donnez une pensée aux morts !
Dieu nous prête un moment les prés et les fontaines,
Les grands bois frissonnants, les rocs profonds et sourds
Et les cieux azurés et les lacs et les plaines,
Pour y mettre nos coeurs, nos rêves, nos amours ;
Puis il nous les retire. Il souffle notre flamme ;
Il plonge dans la nuit l’antre où nous rayonnons ;
Et dit à la vallée, où s’imprima notre âme,
D’effacer notre trace et d’oublier nos noms.
Eh bien ! oubliez-nous, maison, jardin, ombrages !
Herbe, use notre seuil ! ronce, cache nos pas !
Chantez, oiseaux ! ruisseaux, coulez ! croissez, feuillages !
Ceux que vous oubliez ne vous oublieront pas.
Car vous êtes pour nous l’ombre de l’amour même !
Vous êtes l’oasis qu’on rencontre en chemin !
Vous êtes, ô vallon, la retraite suprême
Où nous avons pleuré nous tenant par la main !
Toutes les passions s’éloignent avec l’âge,
L’une emportant son masque et l’autre son couteau,
Comme un essaim chantant d’histrions en voyage
Dont le groupe décroît derrière le coteau.
Mais toi, rien ne t’efface, amour ! toi qui nous charmes,
Toi qui, torche ou flambeau, luis dans notre brouillard !
Tu nous tiens par la joie, et surtout par les larmes.
Jeune homme on te maudit, on t’adore vieillard.
Dans ces jours où la tête au poids des ans s’incline,
Où l’homme, sans projets, sans but, sans visions,
Sent qu’il n’est déjà plus qu’une tombe en ruine
Où gisent ses vertus et ses illusions ;
Quand notre âme en rêvant descend dans nos entrailles,
Comptant dans notre coeur, qu’enfin la glace atteint,
Comme on compte les morts sur un champ de batailles,
Chaque douleur tombée et chaque songe éteint,
Comme quelqu’un qui cherche en tenant une lampe,
Loin des objets réels, loin du monde rieur,
Elle arrive à pas lents par une obscure rampe
Jusqu’au fond désolé du gouffre intérieur ;
Et là, dans cette nuit qu’aucun rayon n’étoile,
L’âme, en un repli sombre où tout semble finir,
Sent quelque chose encor palpiter sous un voile…
C’est toi qui dors dans l’ombre, ô sacré souvenir ! “
You remember, I wrote articles about Manet and modernity, here :
- The “Brushstroke Pattern” & Progress in Arts : Offering Awareness
- “Get out of your dream!” as a modernity
In brief : there was a period in Art when artists really stopped hiding it’s a painting. For example, they were not afraid to show the brushstrokes anymore.
Valéry says : some works of Art want you to dream, others want you to THINK.
Today I read an article about Wes Anderson‘s movie Isle of Dogs, which is an animated film.
The author says that there are two types of animated movies :
- One tries to mimic natural movements, tries to make us forget what we see is the result of photographies in a row, a “reality effect”.
- The other one shows characters as objects or puppets, it brings the audience to the reality of… making. A little cloud of smoke does not hide it’s a little bowl of cotton.
This second “way” (which is Anderson’s way, of course) is exactly the way Manet paints (and after him, the impressionists)… and then…
Another poetry comes from that, you can almost see the animator’s hand. Why do we prefer “this” poetry?
Thanks for reading!
Marie-Thérèse Walter was one of Pablo Picasso’s mistress. Today we see her as a Type (young, sweet, sunny, blond, athletic girl), which is incorrect but interesting, if you study Types along the life of the painter.
We all know the Picasso-esque messy faces, sideways-full-faces with eyes all around, with an ear on the forehead et voilà.
Today I chose three ways for MTW : photographies, paintings, and drawings. All of them are very different, though you quickly realize he managed to show something of her on each. Showing the person, her kindness and her curves, her half smile, her strength, her splendid profile and…
…well : see by yourself :
Seeds for the mind : what does a painter show? What do we see in Goya “official” royal family portrait? Reality, or what’s inside? Lines, or the painter’s feeling?
What could we do with these questions? In photography, poetry, storytelling.
What is hidden and shows something?
Have a great day!
It’s a bit strange these days in France : the weather’s like summer. I know it’s pretty common in California to wear tee-shirts in October, but NOT in the North of France. My scarf stays in her drawer, though : it’s hot here.
Yesterday I biked to work, and as it’s October, the sun is already low on the horizon. But the air was weirdly warm – like in August’s mornings.
So this sunday morning we did this : I took Isis the cat and put it outside of the bedroom (because she wants to explore gutters and the roof and we don’t want her to do that), I closed the door, opened the window and we stayed in bed bathing in the sun.
We could hear the outside warm autumnic world : a passing car, a quiet wind, a bird, church’s bells (strangely close, like happy sunny), a crying baby very far and… Isis putting her little cat snout meowing her dramadistress : “I wanna come in I wanna sun with youuu meaowwww”.
Delightful quiet sunny sonic place, all these at the same time : bell, wind, birds, cat, baby… and a little moaning (but it’s a secret where it came from).
For no reason, let’s watch this movement between figuration and abstract. It’s a whole thing to study, but today let’s do it in two paintings, Tissot and Pollock :
Picasso said that abstract art doesn’t even exist, because if you see green things on the canvas “then the subject is the color green” (which is true, right?).
If Tissot’s painting shows a thoughtful lady, Pollock’s a bit more complicated (it’s made of painting drippings). Nevertheless : you’ll watch Pollock work closer and your eyes will immediately look for something which “makes you think of this”, or “looks like that”.
Then, well, it’s called “Autumn Rhythm“, then your mind, guided by these two words, imagine leaves, or movements, I don’t know.
It’s abstraction BUT your brain wants a track, a clue. Or you watch color’s games. Or you ask yourself about the artist’s intentions…
Our intelligence is made of analogies. We want to link what we see WITH what we already know.
Here’s a close-up :
Musics has many forms, from Bach to MGMT, from Miles Davis to Brahms. But it’s always this :
Music is a combination of notes following time.
So : music progresses, moves forward, it goes. You follow, your brain follows. It’s linked to time. It’s like a line, right? Sing along…
Now here’s Brian Eno, who made normal music (and produced David Bowie and U2), but also what he called sonic places.
The idea is simple : to stop “following time”. So instead of having a path to walk your ears on, you have non-chronological sounds, coming and disappearing, like if you opened a door and were in a place where “sounds happen”.
Not a line anymore, but a place, an environment. Somewhere with “no time” (which is so good at times). There’s a good example with this album : Shutov Assembly :
In a way, the sounds of life doesn’t or rarely look like music. They look more like Eno’s music, “places” :
…a baby, the quiet wind, a cat, a bird in the distance, a passing car, the leaves of a tree in the breeze, et la respiration de l’amour…
What about Tissot and Pollock? What if this thinking lady was watching a pile of dead trees, her gaze blurred by souvenirs and melancholy, her gaze like Pollock’s Autumn, curved brown movements in the low angled light of the fall’s sun…
Have a nice day!
When you work, there are often two parts :
- One part you have to deliver – and you’re paid for it. It’s the “main thing”, your job.
- There’s another part, where you treat yourself, or where you treat your audience…
“you offer them a treat” : what’s that word which is a noun and a verb? What’s that verb which sounds positive and lovely to me, and at the same time which need “well” at times : to treat well…
Question : does “to treat” contain “to treat well”, “to give pleasure”, or not?
It’s a two-parts-pattern all creative people know well.
If you’re a teacher and you have to teach a complicated maths lesson for 2 hours, if you’re a director and your job is to make a film to promote a train station, if you order books for a library, etc :
- you can do it the normal, proper way
- you can do it in a splendid inventive way
- you can play a cursor between both
This “3.” is interesting. How do you do it?
- Do you begin with pleasure and complexity aimed to an intelligent marginal group, THEN you add elements to help others to stay on the road?
- Or do you build the average normal job, then hide smart elements to be seen and guessed by the clever fringe?
If your fringe becomes too large, you’re elbowing them, good to you, but you lose the next one, who will look at you as a smart arse : not good, right?
On the other side, if you treat yourself with too much subtlety, it becomes a “private pleasure hidden, just for you”. And why not? :
Luxury is insular
Overthinking over it – two examples :
I talked with a friend who, in a way, complained that when you work and you add great and complicated elements on purpose, for the pleasure of resolving them (for example, a sequence-shot when you direct a movie), only a few percents of the audience will catch it (moreover : to find where to put the cursor is a mess).
Pablo Picasso explains that when he works on a complicated project for a cubist painting, he has to develop very subtle and complex balances, colors, masses, energies, frames, etc… This, as the core of his Art.
Then he adds little easy elements (like a necklace or a moustache) and then names the painting accordingly. This to… guide or please the unschooled, while the connoisseur will see the real purpose…
Thanks for reading! Have a great sunday!
If you explore books, quotes, articles about Art, you always meet the concept of “finished/unfinished“.
And this is what you find :
A whole lot of “simple” authors who seem to have common sense and think Art is like a normal part of society. They all say that a piece of Art must be finished :
- “Never show unfinished work.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
- “Behind unfinished art cries an unfinished artist.” – Terri Guillemets
- “Finish the work, otherwise an unfinished work will finish you.” ― Amit Kalantri
- “I know the sag of the unfinished poem. And I know the release of the poem that is finished.” – Mary Oliver
This sounds very good, right? It’s very satisfying. Everything must be finished, otherwise the world goes to chaos…
Another whole lot of artists, of course, say the contrary. Suddenly it becomes interesting :
- “I always believed that my work should be unfinished in the sense that I encourage people to add their creativity to it, either conceptually or physically.” – Yoko Ono
- “When I’m playing, I’m never through. It’s unfinished. I like to find a place to leave for someone else to finish it. That’s where the high comes in.” – Miles Davis
- “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci
- Put your energy into ‘finishing’ – and you’re missing your next great painting. (J.R. Baldini)
- In talking about the necessity to finish a thing, we said American painters finish a thing that looks unfinished, and the French, they finish it. I have seen Matisses that were more unfinished and yet more finished than any American painters. Matisse was obviously in a terrific emotion at the time and he was more unfinished than finished. (William Baziotes)
- I don’t like finished things, because finished is over, dead. (Norbert Bisky)
- To the impressionist, the work was finished, no matter how casual the execution, when the idea was completely realized on the canvas. (Richard J. Boyle)
- How do you complete a painting, really? There are paintings by so many different artists that are interesting precisely because they haven’t really been completed. (Peter Doig)
Many masterpieces are unfinished : symphonies and cathedrals, Proust “La Recherche”, but most of modernity artists and thinkers know that finishing a work is killing it, it masks the work, the soul…
I found dozens more quotes. Each one could lead to an article…
What do you think?
Thanks for reading!
What is your exploration field, today? Japanese cinema, French classical music, British painters of 19th Century, US Civil War?
Picasso for me. There are constant exhibitions around the world, but there’s a big one in the Musée d’Orsay this fall in Paris. As a bookseller, I got the usual shower of new books. I opened one, and the summary stung me.
Mahler, Proust, Marx, I chose these three examples for this article : Jungle Syndrome. Something, in these, is “too much”. Too complex, too rich, too interesting, too big. You pick a leaf, then you have a tree, a forest, a universe. Gasp !
I also realized I had to find my own path : Feeling the air of Waterloo & other oblique explorations…
One explorer’s pleasure – when you want to explore a subject like this – is to gather weapons : documentaries, downloaded images or pdf, books. I ordered some, bought second handed others…
I’m reading the “first little guides”, one of Picasso’s wives biography, and many prefaces and introductions.
I ordered a huge biography, bought a second hand two volumes chronological illustrated book, found other things in my own shelves…
I already feel the fire, “this” fire you all know…
“Towering genius of the century”, “long and prolific career”, what I already know is this : nobody can explain or frame Picasso’s work. Every author talks about paradoxes or multifacets (like for every important artist or writer). Variety and never ending exploration, but with strong themes and structures under. Modern, but based on classics. Childish, but with strong work and maturity. Free, daring and casual, all driven by terrific invention. Revolutionary on many stairs.
So, yes, it’s whirlwindy, immense, impossible to cover. One of the good things is that Pablo Picasso talks and explains a lot about his work, about what he wants…
This will be a lovely autumn, right?
Thanks for reading!
Picasso’s Tools for bloggers!?
Nah, not his cans and brushes : Tools for the mind!
Here’s what I did : I picked a great book about Picasso, from Philippe Dagen.
It’s a great book because it’s not about “Picasso’s life”, and it’s not a “catalog of paintings”. He looked for structures, patterns, tools for the mind, and showed how in many aspects Pablo Picasso is a great artist.
I took a pictures of these patterns he detected, and I’ll casually apply them into the blogging activity. You’re free, after this, to apply this toolbox to poetry, teaching, marketing, photography, baking, theater or music composition. Life’s cool, right?
- Discover the modern
- Express by the primitive
- Build until crumbling
- Invent some new codes
- Hold all styles in one’s hand
- Let loom the monsters
- Stare at inhumanity
- Pit against the present
- Never finish
These are terribly pleasant injunctions, right? It shows we can build our own roads, windows, tools and door. It shows we can dare, be casual, open, multiple. It shows we can play, have fun, plug things, juxtapose concepts, dance, be fast, and intelligent, and plugged to the now.
Never heard about Precisionism until I found C. Sheeler on Pinterest.
Precisionism celebrated the new American landscape of skyscrapers, bridges, and factories in a form that has also been called “Cubist-Realism.”
I love this work! Transparency, flatness, games of light, geometry. I also love that there’s nobody in his paintings…
Have a nice sunday!
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 – 1904), French painter
First I found this painting from Belmiro de Almeida (how, why, I don’t remember).
Wondered about what happened in this couple. She cries or at least is weighed down, but by what? And this man is smoking, thinking, probably powerless/helpless, but who knows? Maybe he’s angry? “Here we go again…”.
Is it a break up, a betrayal, jealousy, boredom, romantic disappointment?
My researches showed me the second painting : a crying woman, a “vacant look” man, and flowers on the ground. Mhhh, who copied the other?
Then I thought about Hopper, of course, with no tears but only a… moment.
I remember that some (female) friends of mine told me many times than their guy “wasn’t really talkative”.
Thus I remembered the “bored couples” series, photographed by Martin Parr – who is a love because he includes himself in the series (he is on two photos of the four I found for you). Parr showed many times he’s a part of what he sees…
So is it even an article? No I don’t think so! I cobbled these together :
- To remember I should find more paintings on this topic (I tried and failed today)
- To think about the idea I found in the Parr link : monogamy is maybe dumb
- To remember that my lady likes my random lectures (I’m a chatterbox)
- To go on liking the “what happens here?” in Arts
- What if a man was crying, and a woman sitting aside, indifferent?
- To remember I have to take care of my partner, even if she’s a real “handful”
- To pass it on to you : what ideas did you get, reading this?
Take care! Have a nice day!
Nowadays it’s almost impossible to understand the scandal and the revolution caused by Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, The Luncheon on the Grass, by Edouard Manet – which sounds totally harmful today, right? This painting is today in the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris.
It was a groundbreaker in three areas. And it stays an enigma, a source of endless books, articles and suppositions.
- We don’t understand the reason why this woman is naked with two men. “The presence of a nude woman among clothed men is justified neither by mythological nor allegorical precedents”.
- She seems a normal woman, not the aerial nymph or goddess you normally see when you see a naked body in a painting. This “realistic” approach has never been seen before.
- She watches the audience, she watches YOU, we wonder : “Is she challenging or accepting the viewer, looking past the viewer, engaging the viewer, or even looking at the viewer at all?”.
- She doesn’t listen to the talking guy. She doesn’t care. She cares of you.
- Manet has been considered an awful painter, because of the perspective mistakes (though he studied all of it for almost 10 years with a great teacher)… all this is made on purpose :
- Like in Japanese etchings, the lady in the middle is too big according to the perspective laws. “Too large in comparison with the figures in the foreground, she seems to float above them”. There’s a flatness, which is like a game for your eyes.
- Manet displayed the painting at the Salon des Refusés, an alternative salon established by those who had been refused entry to the official one. The public liked to come and laugh, ununderstanding crowd.
- “The roughly painted background lacks depth, giving the viewer the impression that the scene is not taking place outdoors, but in a studio”. De facto, even the light looks like “studio“. It fake, not “gorgeous nature”.
- The fruits and the dress are painted in a great talented way, but the trees and the natural environment are painted differently : you see the brush strokes. Impressionism is coming.
- Therefore it seems unfinished on several parts of the scene.
- The painting is TALL – 81.9 x 104.1 inches (208 by 264.5 cm), which is unusual for this “genre” painting. Usually, tall paintings are used for biblical or mythological subjects.
- There are no “subtle gradations” between colors (though the painter perfectly knows how to do this), and Manet has been accused to “see in blocks”.
- We can wonder if these people are lovers, swingers. Or maybe she’s a hooker?
- It’s like casually based (gestures, dispositions) on old masters painters. Manet studied them a lot. Raphael’s Judgment of Paris is an example.
- Oppositions are many between her and them : feminine/masculine, light/dark, naked/dressed.
- Described as idiotic, childish, shocking and incoherent by the newspapers. Good to them!
- This sounds not sincere, but analytical, a game, an enigma, a puzzle for your mind.
- Indecency : “vulgar men” painting nude women.
- Manet himself jokingly nicknamed his painting “la partie carrée“.
- “Refusal to conform to convention and his initiation of a new freedom from traditional subjects and modes of representation – can perhaps be considered as the departure point for Modern Art.”
- Subject is shocking. Style and treatment are shocking.
- “She is not ashamed of being naked as she gazes confidently at us”.
- The model was known (Victorine Meurent, who was a painter) and the guys are Manet’s brothers. Scandal in the French Academy!
- Works like this made Manet the father of impressionism. You can also study “Olympia” and the fabulous “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère“. In both paintings, the woman gazes. At you.
- Manet unhinged, damaged the whole history of paintings with this one…
Thanks for reading!
You’ll find dozens other ideas everywhere on the web. This artist is an infinite source of thinking. Also : parodies (some are hilarious!).
It inspired other painters like Monet – who dit a “correct” and gorgeous version (comparing both could be a whole article). It so beautiful (Manet and Monet, who was younger, were friends), but it’s for you eyes, not for thinkers…
Have a nice day!