The Painter Of Modern Life And Other Essays

The Painter Of Modern Life And Other Essays-86
The backdrop against which Charles Baudelaire wrote the essays collected in 'The Painter of Modern Life'1 was one of extreme urban and social transformation. 2 accurately render the heroic aspect of his own era;7 namely through the alchemical task of "[extracting] from fashion whatever element it may contain of poetry within history, to distil the eternal from the transitory".8 Throughout his essays, Baudelaire established various archetypal characters of modern city life, and proceeded to define their respective place and role in a newly transitioned society. Hence the work of Constantin Guys, whilst chosen by Baudelaire to exemplify his propos, seems to be little more than an alibi for a demonstration which greatly exceeds it: the definition of an incipient art, the imminent advent of which is but predicted in 'The Painter of Modern Life'. 'The Invisible Fla^neuse: Women and the Literature of Modernity', Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. Since 1850, under the instigation of Napoleon III, the prefect of Paris Georges Euge`ne Haussmann had been radically redesigning and modernizing the French capital to the point of non-recognition. The one character who, most of all, could perceive the paradoxical heroism of modernity was the fla^neur, "the 'passionate spectator' [...] who was in his element wandering amid the ebb and flow of the urban crowd and whose most guarded possession was the anonymity made possible by life in the city."9 His attempt to "decipher the nature and biographies of the kinds of characters who became common in the new city - absinthe drinkers, fashionable women on display, ragpickers [...]"10 yet remained linked to "the fugitive pleasure of circumstance".11 The painter of modern life, through his capacity to extricate, as we have seen, eternal beauty from the beheld passing moment, thus transcended the vision of the mere fla^neur. Calinescu, Faces of Modernity : Avant Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism, Duke University Press, (Durham, 1987): "..a world of 'correspondences', where ephemerality and eternity are one.", p. As a result, these innovative criteria for the painting of the modern world resonate more relevantly in the equally groundbreaking contemporary works of Edouard Manet, which, in turn, paved the way for the Impressionist movement of the following decade to carry out Baudelaire's ideals. 'Music in the Tuileries Gardens', an exemplary rendition of "the spectacle of urbane existence"15, is instantly recognizable as a sketch of manners, a "depiction of bourgeois life and the pageant of fashion"16 to which Baudelaire devoted the second chapter of 'The Painter of Modern Life'. douard Manet, Music in the Tuileries Gardens, 1862, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 118.1 cm (The National Gallery, London) ?

The backdrop against which Charles Baudelaire wrote the essays collected in 'The Painter of Modern Life'1 was one of extreme urban and social transformation. 2 accurately render the heroic aspect of his own era;7 namely through the alchemical task of "[extracting] from fashion whatever element it may contain of poetry within history, to distil the eternal from the transitory".8 Throughout his essays, Baudelaire established various archetypal characters of modern city life, and proceeded to define their respective place and role in a newly transitioned society. Hence the work of Constantin Guys, whilst chosen by Baudelaire to exemplify his propos, seems to be little more than an alibi for a demonstration which greatly exceeds it: the definition of an incipient art, the imminent advent of which is but predicted in 'The Painter of Modern Life'. 'The Invisible Fla^neuse: Women and the Literature of Modernity', Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. Since 1850, under the instigation of Napoleon III, the prefect of Paris Georges Euge`ne Haussmann had been radically redesigning and modernizing the French capital to the point of non-recognition. The one character who, most of all, could perceive the paradoxical heroism of modernity was the fla^neur, "the 'passionate spectator' [...] who was in his element wandering amid the ebb and flow of the urban crowd and whose most guarded possession was the anonymity made possible by life in the city."9 His attempt to "decipher the nature and biographies of the kinds of characters who became common in the new city - absinthe drinkers, fashionable women on display, ragpickers [...]"10 yet remained linked to "the fugitive pleasure of circumstance".11 The painter of modern life, through his capacity to extricate, as we have seen, eternal beauty from the beheld passing moment, thus transcended the vision of the mere fla^neur. Calinescu, Faces of Modernity : Avant Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism, Duke University Press, (Durham, 1987): "..a world of 'correspondences', where ephemerality and eternity are one.", p. As a result, these innovative criteria for the painting of the modern world resonate more relevantly in the equally groundbreaking contemporary works of Edouard Manet, which, in turn, paved the way for the Impressionist movement of the following decade to carry out Baudelaire's ideals. 'Music in the Tuileries Gardens', an exemplary rendition of "the spectacle of urbane existence"15, is instantly recognizable as a sketch of manners, a "depiction of bourgeois life and the pageant of fashion"16 to which Baudelaire devoted the second chapter of 'The Painter of Modern Life'. douard Manet, Music in the Tuileries Gardens, 1862, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 118.1 cm (The National Gallery, London) ?

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Works Cited Baudelaire, Charles, and Jonathan Mayne.

"The Artist, Man of the World, Man of the Crowd and Child." The Painter of Modern Life, and Other Essays.

Other material in this volume includes important and extended studies of three of Baudelaire's contemporary heroes - Delacroix, Poe and Wagner - and some more general articles, such as those on the theory and practice of caricature, and on what Baudelaire, with intentional scorn, called philosophic art.

This last article develops views only touched on in Baudelaire's other writings.

4 18 Frascina, Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century, p. In that it is a depiction of a modern subject realized in an equally modern painting method, 'Music in the Tuileries Gardens' is considered a seminal work and a catalyst for Impressionism.19 As indicated by their very appellation, the Impressionist painters of the 1870s strived to translate the fleeting impressions of their surroundings onto canvas.

Gustave Caillebotte, despite his realistic style and emphasis on drawing (a loose handling of paint, and focus on colour and light, exemplified in works by Monet, are elements typically associated with Impressionism), shared the Impressionist commitment to rendering the optical experience of transient reality and was closely associated with the group.

These factors, along with others, may force us to perceive the flaneur as a loafer.

The persona in Song of Myself by Walt Whitman teeters on the line of ‘he is flaneur’ versus ‘he is not flaneur’, in accordance with Baudelaire’s definition that is.

This volume is extensively illustrated with reproductions of works referred to in the text and otherwise relevant to it.

It provides a survey of some of the most important ideas and individuals in the critical world of the great poet who has been called the father of modern art criticism.

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