SCULPTURE VICTORIOUS(UNTIL 25TH MAY 2015) AND SALT AND SILVER EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY 1840-1860(UNTIL 7TH JUNE 2015) TWO EXHIBITIONS AT TATE BRITAIN MILLBANK LONDON. A REVIEW BY LAURENCE HUMPHRIES

The Sculpture Victorious Exhibition at TATE BRITAIN is a look at the variety and talent of Victorian sculptors. ” The classical world was a constant Source of inspiration to Victorian Sculptors”.  [1].

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I was particularly interested in the American Slave sculptured by John Bell(1811-95) an abolitionist and against Slavery .He shows the beauty of the Black American slave before she is transported to the Americas. Patrolcus was a classical Greek sculpture of the great Hero who fought at Troy , friend of Achilles and  killed by Hector and violently avenged by Achilles as told by the great writer Homer in his great story of Troy “The Iliad”.

Other Artists like Frederick Leighton 1830-1896 and Hugh Henry Armistead 1828-1905 also sculpted great Sculptures which you can see at this magnificent exhibition. “Sections of the Parthenon Frieze , housed at the British Museum were extensively reproduced and influenced the development of British Sculpture, inspiring sculptors with a new Knowledge of Greek Art”. [2].

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“Artists such as John Gibson , Hamo Thorneycroft Henry Armistead and Frederick Leighton all showed their debt to classical Sculpture”. [3].

Many of these Victorian Artists were involved in Art Workers guilds and Crafts exhibition societies to show the superiority of Crafts over Industrial production. “Many of the sculptors were associated with societies such as the art workers guild and the arts and craft Exhibition society. The aim of these societies was to promote individual craftsmanship over Industrial Production”. [4].

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This a very worthwhile Exhibition showing the varied talents of Sculptors in Victorian Britain. hurry up though the Exhibition ends on the 25th May 2015.

The second Exhibition I attended was on Early Photograph entitled salt and silver. ” Salt prints are the first photographs on paper that still exist today. William   Fox Talbot  wondered if it was possible to imprint permanently on paper the scenery that he had observed through a camera Obscura”. [5].

In fact it was paper Coated in Silver recording the picture in reverse. there were a number of Photographers who did this Calvert Richard Jones 1804-1877, David Octavius Hill who also used photograph salted paper ,the negative was transferred from glass to Paper Support. A number of Photographers did this including Jean Baptise Frenet 1814-1889 a French Photographer, Felix Nadar 1820-1910.

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I have only given a glipse of these ‘salt and Silver’ but I recommend the Exhibition as an example of Early Photography using this Revolutionary method.

FOOTNOTES

1)  TATE BOOKLET  SCULPTURE VICTORIOUS

2)  TATE BOOKLET   SCULPTURE VICTORIOUS

3)  TATE BOOKLET     SCULPTURE VICTORIOUS

4)  TATE BOOKLET       SCULPTURE VICTORIOUS

5)   TATE BOOKLET      SALT AND SILVER EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY 1840-1860

REVOLUTIONARY ART FROM THE INDIAN SUB CONTINENT. RABINDRANATH TAGORE(1861-1941) AND RASHEED ARAEEN (1935- PRESENT) TWO ARTISTS WHO REFLECTED DIFFERENT VIEWS OF ART BY LAURENCE HUMPHRIES

Art History blog

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Tagore and Araeen are artists born in the Indian Sub Continent. Tagore was born in India and helped lead the Independence movement during the 1920′ , he was greatly influenced by the Expressionist Art movement in Germany in the 1930’s and he met both Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. They both represented Art in the from the Global South and represented Art that was not Eurocentric but represented art from other cultures primarily the Global South. Araeen born in Karachi in 1935 is very much a modern artist reflecting very much an Anti Imperialist and political approach to art. He has been very involved in Sculpture and responded in his own way to artists like David Smith , Anthony Caro and the American  minimalists who were part of the Modernist movement in the 1960’s in the USA.

  “Tagore started painting in 1928 when he was 67 and produced over…

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REVOLUTIONARY ART FROM THE INDIAN SUB CONTINENT. RABINDRANATH TAGORE(1861-1941) AND RASHEED ARAEEN (1935- PRESENT) TWO ARTISTS WHO REFLECTED DIFFERENT VIEWS OF ART BY LAURENCE HUMPHRIES

03_Philosopher

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Tagore and Araeen are artists born in the Indian Sub Continent. Tagore was born in India and helped lead the Independence movement during the 1920′ , he was greatly influenced by the Expressionist Art movement in Germany in the 1930’s and he met both Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. They both represented Art in the from the Global South and represented Art that was not Eurocentric but represented art from other cultures primarily the Global South. Araeen born in Karachi in 1935 is very much a modern artist reflecting very much an Anti Imperialist and political approach to art. He has been very involved in Sculpture and responded in his own way to artists like David Smith , Anthony Caro and the American  minimalists who were part of the Modernist movement in the 1960’s in the USA.

  “Tagore started painting in 1928 when he was 67 and produced over 200 paintings before his death in 1941”.  [1].

Tagore used ink on paper and there is a rhymthic  quality to most of his work.  “There seems to be an emphasis on different textures , subtle shading and linear perspectival constructions”.  [2].

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Tagore’s art has a dreamy flowing sense in his drawings . He was influenced by nature and there are many of his pencil and ink drawings of Birds or different animals reflected. “He could perhaps be regarded as the first Indian painter to have been aware of the qualities of primitive art”. [3].

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Travelling to Europe to present his work in several exhibitions. He visited the Bauhaus and met with Klee and Kandindisky. “He was able to see the work of artists who used this method such as Paul Klee. On his invitation  the Bauhaus group mounted an exhibition in Calcutta in 1922 where paintings by Wassily Kandinsky (creation) and Paul Klee(Passing through and open door) were displayed”.  [4].

I would argue than many European art historians have ignored art from the Global south and believed that only art from a euro centric view could be adopted. Many Imperialist and racist views have reinforced this position. They fail to see the huge contribution of artists like Tagore and Araeen.

 “Tagore could be regarded as a Modern artist because he adopted many European modernist Ideas incorporating them into his own work. he played stress on the autonomy of Art and used models analogous to those of some European modernists such as the surrealists”. [5].

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Tagore was well versed in writing , teaching aware of other cultures but because of this euro centrism and the influence of Racists attitudes in Art amongst artists in the Western world there has been very little appreciation of artists like Tagore and others.  “Rabindranath in 1926 urged in the new meaning of art that a new Indian Painting should be invented not transposed from past Models”. [6].

Rasheed Araeen has written extenstively about what he calls ‘ The post Colonial subject’. He has some very apt and correct statements on the role of  Euro centric Art and how they have subjugated and exploited art from the Global south. “Liberation from colonialism presupposes liberation from a past that was defined by colonialism and its views of History. it was therefore important for the Liberated people to seize the dynamic of History again”.  [7]. This is what Araeen has done , in his Art whether it be drawings or his very modernism approach to  Video and Tele visual constructions Araeen has attempted to make sense of his past and chart a revolutionary course in his approach. He takes the subject and shows how Imperialism and Racism have used the Global south and denied them a proper Historical role in the Art world.

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Araeen in his contribution to art is quite critical of how Art Historians with their euro centric views have completely ignored the major contribution of not just artists from Pakistan and India , but China Latin American Artists and artists from Africa.  “Why are Art institutions in the west even today closing their eyes to the fact that the post colonial  artist has intervened in the genealogy of post war developments in Modern Art and has thus contributed to these developments”. [8].

Araeen’s understanding of History shows that as an artist from the Global South he has recognised the importance of Dialectics and History.  “The dialectics of Liberation from colonialism whether political or economic demand that both the coloniser and the colonised liberate themselves at the same time”. [9].

Araeen continues to pose a critical position with some artists who have integrated themselves in the Western Art world without taking a critical position. “However I maintain that the post colonial subject has a historical responsibility to present a critical position with regard to Imperialist assumptions”. [10].

Much of Araeens artistic work was influenced by artists working in the late 20th Century and his work as what he calls a Asymetrical arrangement.  “The work of European artists working in the 20th Century such as Picasso, Georges Braque, (Cubism) Henri Matisse (Fauvism) Marc Shagall and Paul Klee(expressionism) was the inspiration for most of my contemporaries in Karachi and also provided the criteria by which modern art in Pakistan was and is still been evaluated”. [11].

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Araeen shows how he devised some of his structures and the reasons for their portrayal . “My own work on the other hand was conceived around an idea of Symetry which thus rejected and challenged the idea of the Hierarchical view of things”. [12].

  Araeen explains his role as a political activists when he moved to London and experienced the racist and pro imperialist attitudes to Black and colonial peoples.  “I became a political activist with a belief that radical political activity was more effective than art in dealing with such a situation. I returned to artistic activity realising that there was an important struggle to be waged within Art”. [13]

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Araeen reflects on how after he left the Black Panthers and his fight against Racism Araeen has continued to reflect his art in an overt political direction.  “I was in Karachi when the Gulf war began I began to realise the growing power of globally expanding information technology”. [14].

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In  conclusion I would argue that Both Tagore and Araeen have presented a different view of art that is not Euro centric but a Different view of art represented by Art that developed from the Global south.  I will leave the last comments to Rashheed Araeen who for me has Revolutionised art and represents a very political and direct attack on the Institutional practices of Imperialism and Racism in the Art world.  “My work has developed and lived in opposition to an Institutional position, but this is a paradox whose dialectic can bring about a profound change in our perception of Modernism in Art and its history  .We  may now come to  see that Modernism is no longer a Monopoly or creation of the West and its White People”[15].

FOOTNOTES

1)   VIEWS OF DIFFERENCE DIFFERENT VIEWS OF ART OPEN UNIVERSITYPG.180

2)                 DITTO   PG.183

3)         DITTO PG.185

4)    DITTO PG.186.

5)    DITTO PG.194.

6)     DITTO PG.196

7)  DITTO PG.179.

8)    DITTO PG.192.

9)     DITTO.PG.231

10)  DITTOPG.232

11)    DITTO. PG.234.

12)    DITTO.PG. 237

13)          DITTO. PG.240.

14)         DITTO.PG.245.

15)            DITTTO.PG.255.

PRE RAPHAELITE SCHOOL OF ART(COLLETTI, MILLAIS, HOLMAN HUNT, SANDYS FORD MADOX BROWN,BURNE JONES AND WILLIAM MORRIS) REVOLUTIONARY ART IN BRITAIN DURING THE LATE VICTORIAN AREA

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The Pre-Raphaelites were a revolutionary Art movement founded in 1848 and influenced by the Political revolutions taking place in Europe and Britain. The Chartist movement the first working class political movement was active at this time. “The PRB as its adherents liked to call it set out with the objective of reforming British art”. [1]. ” The PRB was launched in 1848 by 3 earnest and rebellious artists  Dante Rossetti (1927-1910) William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) and John Millais (1829-1910)”. [2].

 They had a philosophy which was to reject what they felt was arid and boring academic art represented by Sir Joshua Reynolds an artist and President of the Royal Academy. They used the name Raphael to paint mythological and Religious paints in Raphael’s method of painting. Their philosophy was ” to have genuine ideas to express , to study nature attentively , to sympathise with what is direct and serious and to produce thoroughly good pictures”. [3].

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As commentators have suggested Historical and religious pictures were used. “The PRB depicted both Historical and modern day subjects through a beguiling mixture of sharp realism and fantasy creating a brash new style that they felt harked back to medieval tradition”. [4].

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 They painted in a particular style as many art critics have suggested “Details such as the minimal realistic shadowing and the grass in the foreground gesture to a pre Raphaelite desire to faithfully represent nature”. [5].  “The Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood valued the example set by artists from the late Middle ages but they also cared passionately that their art should be relevant in the Modern world”. [6].

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When Rossetti was befriended by Ford Madox Browne it was obvious that the Genre would change. In his painting called Work Ford Madox Browne is concerned with Class society . n a barge you can see members of the working class busily at work while observing them is the Bourgeois represented by Carlyle a know cultural critic of the time. Frederick Engels a friend and political ally of Karl Marx was to pay some aspects of Carlyle’s work.

Other artists were also to be part of the Pre Raphaelite tradition particularly John William Waterhouse 1848-1917) , Evelyn de Morgan (1855-1919) Lawrence Alma Tadema (1848-1917)

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Two important artists would join Rossetti during the latter period of his life Holman Hunt and Millais had already left. John Millais would be an important artist in the late Victorian period and Holman Hunt would concentrate on Paintings with a Religious theme.

The two artists to join and inspire Rossetti would be William Morris and Edward Burne Jones. “It was through Morris and Burne-Jones that Pre-Raphaelitism would briefly blossom anew in a different guise leading to the Aesthetic movement”. [7]. Other critics have suggested that Rossetti’s art would lead to the Symbolist movement of Paul Gaugin and Others “Meanwhile Rossetti one of the great creative genuises  of his time came later to be seen as a precursor of the important European Symbolist movement which believed that Art should represent absolute truths(Idealism LH) which can be described only indirectly using symbolic imagery”. [8].

This period was changing through the Industrial Revolution the development of Capital with its Nemesis the working Class. this was the period when Marx and Engels writing in the communist Manifesto would foretell of the death knell of Capitalism and the construction of socialism. This was the emergence of class society in Britain reflection great wealth and great poverty. “Ford Madox Browne provided a commentary on the place of Labour in contemporary society in his painting ‘work'”. [9].

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William Morris would be the only Pre Raphaelite who would join the Revolutionary Marxist Movement in Britain. He also established a Printing press Kelmscott Press. “The Printing press of Kelmscott run and owned b y William Morris later took an interest in publishing , he established his own printing press”. [10].

The other aspect of Pre Raphaelite art was the female muse Jane Burden and others went to live with Rossetti , Jane Burden who was later to be Morris’s wife left him to live with Rossetti for a time. “Female muse, Jane Burden , fanny Cornforth and Elizabeth Siddal the flame haired pale skimmed pre Raphaelite Beauty with her thick neck , long jaw aquiline nose and sensual gaze”. [11].

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” Along with Burne-jones William Morris became a friend  and follower of Rossetti in the 1850’s.Morris was influenced by Rossetti’s Medievalism which he reinvented as his own taking Pre Raphaelitism in a new direction. Morris abandoned  Oil Painting and focused on decorative and Book arts. He became an inspiration to the arts and craft movement, unlike other members of the Pre Raphaelite circle Morris Revolutionary artistic conviction coincided with Radical politics”. [12].

The Pre-Raphaelites continued according to Bethan  “Pre-Raphaelitism  has survived because it was an artistic Revolution .the intense vibrant look was a catalyst for rigorous new styles in field of art as diverse as Printmaking ,interior  décor Painting ,Drawing and Book Binding”. [13].

Edward Thompson , a political Revolutionary and Historian has written a very  useful Biography of Morris. “In the 1850’s however Morris abandoned the effort to analyse the cause for his hatred of civilisation and surrendered to the attractions of Romance. For it was just at this time that he came under the influence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti”. [14].

There is also evidence that Politics Radical politics had touched members in the Pre Raphaelite movement. “Political revolt was present in the movement although it was not uppermost in young Morris or Burne Jones mind. Hunt and Millais had been touched by the spirit of 1848. They had joined the chartist procession on April 10th”. [15].

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Morris would go on in 1883 to join  a Marxist Organisation in Britain  The Social Democratic Federation led by Hyndman, Both Edward Aveling the Husband of Eleanor Marx the youngest of Karl Marx’s daughters together with Belfort Bax and Engels were members of the SDF. Thompson comments “But underneath the shy gruff bohemian exterior of the young William Morris were qualities  the others lacked-the qualities of a fighter”. [16].

In December 1884 the SDF split and Morris with the Majority went on to form the Socialist League.

“When he became converted to Socialism by studying Capital early in 1884 he accepted Marxism as being in the strictest sense a Science”. [17].

I have here given an exposition on the development of the Pre Raphaelite Movement and its importance to British Art during the Late Victorian Art. This was the nearest the British got to an Avant Garde Movement.

NOTES

1)  100 PRE RAPHAELITE MASTERPIECES PG.6

2)    DITTO PG.6

3)      DITTO PG.7

4)       DITTO PG.8

5)     THE PRE-RAPHAELITES BETHAN STEVENS PG.6

6)       DITTO PG.12

7)      DITTO PG.12

8)      DITTO PG.14

9)     DITTO PG.12

10)       DITTO PG.13

11)        DITTO PG.24

12)    DITTO PG.23

13)    DITTO   PG.32

14)   DITTO PG.32

15)   DITTO PG.94

16) EDWARD THOMPSON  WILLIAM MORRIS PG.40

17)    DITTO PG.61

PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906) PIONEER OF MODERNISM, THE END OF 19TH CENTURY ART IN FRANCE LEADING TO CUBISM IN THE 20TH CENTURYIn

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Paul Cezanne was a revolutionary painter who recognised the totality of Painting, unlike the Impressionists who just painted their sense impressions ,Cezanne  tried to get underneath the actual picture and use colour in blocks of paint .He  rejected line or modelling but concerned himself with contrasts and harmony. “There is no such thing as line or modelling there are only contrasts .these are contrasts of light and dark but the contrasts given by the sensation of colour”. [1].

Cezanne totally rejected the method of the Impressionists who were just interested in light and its reflection .All  of Cezanne’s pictures are of Greens and blues.

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As several commentators have observed ” The viewpoint is often at ground level , but at times from above sometimes a panorama sometimes narrowly focused. The line of the Horizon is seldom in its traditional place”. [2].

Cezanne is interested in the structure of the Painting and how without using line or contours he can change the shape of the picture. “The creation of a new kind of spatial structure which Cezanne only fully developed after 1895 was the result of obstinate individuality”. [3].

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The whole landscape of the L’estaque is shown in one movement. He often scraped the paint onto the palette without using the brush and always use geometric grids before he started painting. “He was giving unity to his landscape by a uniform treatment of hatched brushstrokes”.[4].

He changed  his whole way of painting “From now on traditional perspective and modelling by shadow were totally abandoned .at times space does not really exist and all the elements constituting the picture are placed on a single continuos plane”. [5].

In a letter to his Friend Emile Bernard Cezanne explains this technique. “The sensation f colour which give the light cause abstractions which do not allow me to cover my canvass nor complete the limits of objects where their points of contact are fine and delicate”. [6].

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Cezanne never used figures in his landscapes .His  sole purpose was to ensure a totality of the picture eliminating picture space by drawing  in one single flowing movement.

Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger commented “he has plumbed the depths of reality with the eye of a window. He has taught us to master the vitality of the Universe .For  him we have learned to alter the colouring of objects and to alter its subject”. [7]. This was a comment by two Cubists commentators. Another great abstract painter Kasimir Malevich commented “Cezanne is a great master because he was able to express painterly sensation in the pure form”. [8].

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In his painting of the Gardner Cezanne has used the palette very carefully and using primary colours , the blurred images show that Cezanne is experimenting with greens and yellows. They appear as semi fantasy pictures.

AS Thomas Crow shows in 19th Century Critical art “No artist was more critical than he himself in exploring both the cognitive and perceptual mechanisms of seeing and representing”.[9].

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Crow continues “Painted with looping and undulating strokes of paint the riverbank , water foliages mountain and sky are given equal visual weight suggesting an all over two dimensional structural balance”. [10].

The importance for the cubists and abstraction later in the 20th century is explained by Roberta Bernabel “He anticipated the views and practices of the avant  garde artists of the early 20th century not only with apt observations on art but above all with his paintings seen as astoundingly modern”. [11].

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In the three bathers Cezanne is experimenting with contours and shapes altering the environment to include sky clouds and other items. ” The picture embraces everything in one grand expansive panorama , the waters surface and the sky, tall trees incline towards the middle of the composition creating a protective space that the bathers organise through the spatial structure of their bodies”. [12].

His altering of body shapes and the structure of the painting led to Cubism without Cezanne there would have been no Cubism or abstraction. “Countless artists have based their paintings on his ideas and works including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse. Kasimir Malevich Umberto Boccioni and Piet Mondrian”. [13].

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In The Modern Olympia which can be compared to Manet’s Modern Olympia the whole painting is like a Parody of Manet’s picture instead of a Black servant Cezanne has inserted a black Dog plus himself , it has semi erotic feelings but the body of Olympia is large and not slim and attractive as in Manet’s painting , again Cezanne is looking at the structure and using colour without lines or contours to alter the whole perception of the picture.

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In The Card Players Cezanne does not concentrate on the players as such but considers their thoughts. As Meyer Shapiro comments “In Cezanne’s paintings of the theme we find none of the familiar aspects of the card game .He has chosen to represent a moment of pure mediation”. [14].

“Cezanne differs from his successors in the 20th Century in that he is attached to the directly seen world as his sole object for mediation”. [15].

Shapiro who is a foremost Marxist Art Historian gives an all rounded view of Cezanne ‘s Art. It is in essence a revolution. He states “Cezanne had to create a new method of painting , he loosened the perspective system of traditional art and gave to the space the image of the world created free hand and put together piecemeal from successive perceptions”. [16].

“Cezanne’s accomplishments has a unique importance for our thinking about Art. his work is living proof that a painter can achieve a profound expression by giving form to his perceptions of the world about him”. [17]

“Tilting vertical objects , the discontinuities in the shifting level of the segments of an interrupted horizontal edge contribute to the effect of a perpetual searching and balancing of forms”. [18].

I will finish by quoting Shapiro who in a nutshell has explained the importance of Cezanne for 20th Century art. He was responsible for changing art that would lead to Cubism abstraction and other forms of 20th Century art including Pop art , Abstract Expressionism and Conceptual art. without Cezanne none of these developments would have taken place.

NOTES

1)  THE FIRST MODERN PAINTER PG.36

2)   DITTO PG.54

3)     DITTO PG.67

4)      DITTO  PG.102

5)      DITTO PG.1111

6)         DU CUBISME 1912

7)           MALEVICH PG.158

8)            MODERNITY AND MODERNISM PG 213

9)      19th Century critical art pg.389

10)     Ditto pg.393

11)      Masters of art  pg.6

12)      Ditto   pg.15

13)       Ditto pg.21

14)        Ditto  pg.25

15)        Cezanne Meyer Shapiro PDF FILE

16)        Ditto

 17)        Ditto

  18)       Ditto






JACQUES LOUIS DAVID (1748-1825) REVOLUTIONARY ARTIST AND HIS NEO CLASSICAL SCHOOL OF JEAN GERMAN DROUAIS ANNE GIRODET TROISSON FRANCOIS GERARD DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION , THE DIRECTORY ,THE NAPOLEONIC REGIME , RESTORATION AND THE LATE ROMANTIC PERIOD OF JEAN ANTOINE GROS AND THEODORE GERICAULT

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Jacques Louis David was the foremost History painter before and after the French revolution. He developed an austere classicist method of painting which rejected the previous period of Roccoco Painting by Francois Boucher which depicted frivolous and degenerate art associated with the Bourgeoise and the monarchy . david’s method of Painting was to depict great History events reflecting the self sacrifice and heroism of Ancient Greece and Rome. he used Linear perspective insisting on line and a Geometric attention to light , dark and shade together with Objects and Figures. when as a provincial setting out for Paris , he would concentrate on Portraiture as a genre but would later concentrate on his great History paintings which would reflect the French revolution Napoleon and a concept of Heroism and patriotism. Thomas Crow comments that “The duty of the artist was to set an example of individual emancipation to break free at last subjectively from government patrons who represented only a self seeking minority”.[1]. “An ideal was therefore required and the republics of Ancient Greece and Rome were called on to provide a counter example to a corrupt practice”.[2].

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As Crow observed “The growing gap between the classical tradition and the needs of the ruling order created a new space in which painters could operate. The artist who recognised it with the greatest power was Jacques Louis David”. [3].

The Oath of the Horattii and the Lictors bringing the Body back to Brutus is a very good example of Heroism and self sacrifice. In the Horatii it has the women weeping at one side seeing the Roman Tribute between the Sons and their Father going to fight. It was very typical of the ideals and concept of Revolutionary ideals from Rousseau and others and the drive to rid France of the despotic Monarchy. David would soon join the Committee of Public safety become a Revolutionary Jacobin with Robespierre and San just and sit with the Montagards in the French assembly. As Crow says “The abrupt  transitions and dialectical sharpness of the new painting its austere and declamatory voice”. [4].

An Outstanding student of David who would compete with David at the Salon of French academic art. He like David before him went to Italy to study and was one of David’s greatest prodigies. “The dying athlete ,this is the mark of the hero and it is meant to enlarge the aura of heroism beyond exploits of the fictional warrior to take on the suffering artists achievements as well”. [5].

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Drouais died in 1788 in Rome and the tragedy greatly affected David as one of his greatest students. “David’s Brutus may be the closest the art of Painting ever came to rendering tragedy in its own pictorial forms”.[6].

“David’s studio had become a key place of collective learning and experiment within the classical tradition”. [7].

Anne Louise Girodet would follow Drouais as an excellent student following in the Davidian tradition but probably beauty , Male beauty is observed the sleep of the Endymion of 1791.

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By 1791 David was an active Revolutionary closely involved in the Terror against Counter Revolutionaries .he was a regicide and supported the executions of the King and his wife.

The Oath of the Tennis Court was a giant piece of work representing the decision of the Republican convention to sign the Order for Louis execution. “Die rather disperse until France was free”. [8]. “Both act and image hark back to antique models of patriotic fervour and self sacrifice”. [9].

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Marat was assainated By Charlotte Corday and his painting of Marat with the Letter from Corday remains one of the most Iconic paintings in the French Revolution together with the Death of the Young Revolutionary Joseph Barra.

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The death of Socrates for David , represented History Painting of revolutionary heroes like Socrates of civilisation ,Honour and virtue. It was above all David’s purpose to point out in his great History paintings what virtue and honour represented.  “He became an active politically committed  artist involved in a good deal of revolutionary propaganda. David’s revolutionary inspiration is ultimately best represented by the ‘The death of Marat’.” [10].

“He was a regicide who voted in the National convention for the execution of LouisXV1”. [11].

“The death of Marat immortalised both Marat and David in the world of revolution .This stands today as a moving testimony to what can be achieved when an artists political convictions are directly manifested in his work”. [12].

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Thermidor and Robespierre’s fall meant that David as a close political ally was luck to avoid execution himself. He spent time in Prison and then House arrest, his wife who had Royalist sympathies divorced him nut he continued to paint and the Sabine Women previously painted by Nicholas Poussin but David’s version is far superior in the way he places the figures of the Women trying to stop the men , he catches the scene of Families involved and clear acts of Heroism , a superb History Painting completed in 1799. “David on the other hand never wavered from his commitment to Public art and a public role for the artist even while in Prison he was preparing sketches for his next great History painting”. [13].

David painted Leonidas at Thermophlae showing it to Napoleon who at first didn’t recognise how important David would be to him. David would glorify Napoleon with Him crossing the Alps. Many commentators have critised David from switching from the Revolution to the Counter Revolution with the Empire of Napoleon but he continued to paint heroic secenes and softer of his portraitures of Napoleon are softer and the use of more colour shows a definite trend towards Romanticism.

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David was made the First Painter of France with some of his Portraits of Napoleon as Consul as well as Emperor.

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David rafter Napoleon’s fall and defeat and the restoration of the Bourbon Dynasty went into exile in Brussels , he had remarried his wife and there he completed some of the most touching and important portraits and episodes  from Greek Mythology using Greek Heroes like Mars ,Telemachus and Eucharis.

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While he was in Brussels  David had the opportunity to move back to France but he insisted on staying. In his last letter to his son before his death in 1825  ” all of my colleagues are returning to France I would certainly  be among them if I were weak enough to ask for reinstatement in writing. You know your father and the Pride of his character”. [14].

During the Napoleonic age with the writings of Byron and Shelley who had an affinity with the French Revolution and Napoleon who followed I am going to consider Baron Jean Antoine Gros and Theodore Gericault who together with Eugene Delacroix epitomise what has been called Romanticism.

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The Raft of Medusa is a terrific sight of mangled bodies on a life raft and shows that Gericault was concerned with these questions .He stands out as someone who was particularly concerned with deeper psychological matters. He was particularly concerned to interest himself with the human conditions and aspects of the insane are prominent in his paintings. His plight of the survivors is a long way from the Revolutionary aspirations of David and his School.

I Have portrayed the development of the Classicist David during and after the French Revolution aspiring to represent Heroic virtue and Honour prefiguring the developments in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic age. Romanticism as represented by Gros and Gericault shows a different attitude to art and Society and shows Romantic attitudes to Art, probing the human condition

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“Gros fits between Girodet and Ingres. Gros manages to change the classical status of the Figures and Napoleon appears more human and heroic.

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“In the Battle there is no tension between the divided parts of Gros’s composition the viewer is not challenged by simultaneous appeals to two sides of his or her moral character”. [15].

“Gros had a passionate nature and he was drawn more to the colour and vibrancy of Rubens”. [16].

Crow establishes from the beginning about Gericault and his Romantic imagery ” Its author Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) was an unconventional outsider . he has come down to us as the first great Romantic. Gericault concentrates on Heroic characters mainly horseman or Hussars. “Gericault also saw the Genre of the Heroic single figure in battle pre-empted by the Regime to celebrate the leaders of the ultra Catholic and Royalist resistance to the revolution”. [17].

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NOTES

GUSTAVE COURBET 1819-1877 REALIST PAINTER COMMUNARD REVOLUTIONARY AND THE REVOLUTIONS OF 1848 BY LAURENCE HUMPHRIES

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Gustave Courbet ,the founder of Realism lived and painted during the great revolutionary uphevals in 1848 in Europe. Born in the small rural village of Ornans ,Courbet would come to represent the great realist tradition of drawing and representing what he saw. Later he would join the French Commune and be instrumental in showing and describing revolutionary art in France. His scope was wider and more important than the Impressionism of Degas, Monet and others.

During in his early period Courbet concentrated on Self portraits as a means to establish the status of the artist. “Courbet’s self portraits reveal a Romantic painterliness combined with a compositional informality or even awkwardness “. [1].

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As many commentators have remarked Courbet sought to represent the emerging world about him. “Amid the social transformations of the mid 19th century Courbet produced the most powerful artistic expression of the emerging modern world .Single mindedly    committed to his own experiences and thus disdainful of outworn traditions, the ambitious painter from  rural Ornans challenged Parisien authority with raw voice of honesty and authenticity”.  [2].

This new art of realism coincided with the industrial and political conflicts emerging in French society that Karl Marx was to write about in his book ‘The civil war in France’ and ‘the 18th Brumaire’.  “Thus the argument made below will be that the innovative technique of Gustave  Courbet -more than other artist of the day propelled political change by challenging the existing institutional changes between art and public. Like Jacques Louis David before him Courbet employed a technique alien to the established traditions and audiences for art”. [3].

In 1851 Courbet produced for the Salon three great pictures which would catapult Courbet into the limelight of Revolutionary art. “In the salon of 1851 he showed three huge pictures, the Stonebreakers, the Burial at Ornans and the Peasants of Flagey returning from the fair. He configured out of privacy out of the obscurity of a small town funeral an imagery which was public and political but images which undermined the Bourgeoise sense of what art was. If any artist came close to creating the conditions for Revolutionary art it was Courbet in 1851”. [4].

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The burial at Ornans shows a cross section of class society by splitting the picture with the dog in the centre. “The burial at Ornans , it is the best image of the 1848 Revolution, the most complex picture of the Bourgeoise.no wonder when artists looked back to 1848 they could not escape from its spell”.  [5].

Courbet himself described his realism and how it related completely to his art. “I  have studied the art of the ancients and moderns, without any dogmatic or preconceived ideas , all I have tried to do is to derive from complete knowledge of tradition a reasoned sense of my own independence and individuality to record the manners , ideas and aspects of an age as I saw them”.  [6].

Courbet followed these great paintings with further allegorys. The Meeting Mr Courbet I presume and the Painters studio which is extremely allegorical. “Their status as artisans alluded to Courbet’s self image as worker artist or master painter”. [7].

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Courbet’s Painters studio is a clear cross section of class Society. These were huge canvasses and what upset the bourgeoise so much is that they tried to represent History paints but history of the Poor and not of Rich grand aristocrats. ” In 1855 he composed the ‘The Painters studio a real allegory of seven years of my artistic life-Courbet’s painting seems to be a coded representation , possibly Fourerist possibly influenced by his anarchist friend the Philosopher Proudhon which depicts two sides of society”. [8].

Class differences are reflected in all of Courbet’s work ” The salient features of society Courbet wished to represent now included exacerbated economic differences between rich and poor and a heightened sense of class distinction”. [9].

Courbet many times asserted his sympathies lay with the working class and the rural poor. “Courbet turned to politics to the simple statement in his 1850 letter to Wey that my sympathies are with the people, I must speak to it directly draw my knowledge from it live by it”. [10].

Tim Clark in his Book on Courbet Image of the people shows how popular art and imagery is interwoven into the Burial at Ornans. “In other words the Burial at Ornans is carefully and subtly constructed.the repititive forms of popular art are imitated.” [11].

Referring to the Peasants of Flagey returning from the fair Clark asserts and demonstrates the class differences and how they are accentuated. “The peasant of Flagey returning from the fair in many ways it is a pendant to the rural proletariat of the stonebreakers and the Bourgeoise of the Burial”. [12].

In the meeting Courbet is treating everyone on an equal basis. “The greatness of the meeting is that it gives form to those hopes and their miseries the affection and the absurdity of their relationship .Courbet’s  picture is close to a parody of the whole iconography in it artists, patron and servant stand apart and equal”. [13].

Popular art which had been used in woodcuts and amongst artisans is reflected in Courbet’s art. “In embracing popular art and culture-its audience its subjects Courbet was explicitly rejecting the Hierarchism and personality cult fostered by the regime of President and then Emperor Louis Napoleon”. [14].

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Camille Pissaro an artist friend of both Courbet and Cezanne painted a picture of Cezanne with a caricature of Courbet in the Background. Clark believes that this is a significant picture for the whole of French Art.  “The portrait stands at the end of an epoch in French art the time when political and popular art seemed feasible .For a moment in the years around 1848 it seemed as if the art of the ruling classes was threatened with collapse”. [15].

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Courbet from the 1860’s onwards continued to travel and took pictures mainly landscapes and also was involved in painting  provocative pictures of nudes as well as paintings of his family.

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In the 1870’s political unrest led to the Paris  Commune of 1871, Like David before him Courbet became an active participant in the Commune. At the Paris Commune of March 1871 Courbet said “Today when democracy must direct everything it would be illogical for art which heads the World to lag behind in the Revolution that is taking place in France at this moment”. [16].

The Commune was  defeated and Troops occupied the area where the commune had directed operations. Courbet who with others had advocated the smashing of the Vendome column which represented Imperial France. “Like many others who had not fled Paris Courbet was arrested on the 17th June”. [17]. Courbet eventually left France after his imprisonment and crossed the border into Switzerland. As one of his Biographers noted  “He is obviously the father of various brands of realism that have his own exemplify Lucien Freud  “and the Bridegroom”. [18].

Courbet died in 1877 . He was a Revolutionary painter who like Jacques Louis David changed the face of French Art. A participant in the Paris Commune he put his art into practice unlike many of the Impressionists who literally followed a petit bourgeoise middle class view of Art, only Courbet was able to truly represent the image of the people.

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NOTES

1) 19TH CENTURY ART A CRITICAL HISTORY PG 228

2) COURBET JAMES RUBIN PG 4

3)  19TH CENTURY ART A CRITICAL HISTORY  PG 227

4)  THE ABSOLUTE BOURGEOIS ARTISTS AND POLITICS IN FRANCE 1848-1851PG180

5)  DITTO  PG 181

6)  ART IN THEORY 1800-1900 PG 372

7) COURBET JAMES RUBIN PG 130

8) THE CHALLENGE OF THE AVANT GARDE  PG 51

9)  DITTO PG 74

10) IMAGE OF THE PEOPLE TIM CLARK PG 113

11)  DITTO  PG 82

12)     DITTO PG 83

13)   DITTO PG 157

14) 19TH CENTURY ART  A CRITICAL HISTORY PG  233

15) IMAGE OF THE PEOPLE PG 160

16)  COURBET JAMES RUBIN PG 276

17)    DITTO  PG 280

18)  DITTO  PG 326

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