In this contextual studies lesson we were covering Impressionism from around 1860-1910. I found this lesson quite insightful as it has been a long time since I have covered impressionism in depth like this.
Modernism (movement) – modern art, new visual communication. (Tate)
modernity – the quality of being modern
Here are all my notes from today:
Impression Sunrise – Monet
3 or more word to describe this artwork: unfinished, brush strokes, limited colour, shapes.
After looking at this painting I firstly noticed the visible brush strokes
Impressionism broke traditions and allowed artists to paint ordinary things like landscapes and people working. Like with most new art movements people detested this new kind of painting as it wasn’t what they were used to. ‘Impression used painting to do what photography could not, photographs capture the visible, immobile facts, but they do not capture the essence of the moment. Impressionists did not want to represent a fixed moment in time; they wanted to create the impression of a moment passing through time (http://study.com/academy/lesson/influence-of-photography-on-impressionism.html)’.
Photography disrupted art, people thought the ‘camera couldn’t lie’. People began to start thinking that art no longer had a role to document events.
The Birth of Venus – Cabanal:
Quick comparison: More detailed, faces and body language, no visual brush strokes (Impressionists wanted to show bush strokes). We discussed the term illusionistic, meaning the context of this painting cannot be real despite the realism from the painting. The body language of the woman is very exposed, it suggests glamour, she is passive, allowing the viewer permission to look at her even though she is naked. However when the artwork would be displayed in ‘salons’ where this painting would make women feel uncomfortable, due to the fact the artists has painted the perfect pure woman, which also objectifies women.
We discussed if the sexes were swapped and this was a man in this pose it would make him look weak and feeble.
the male gaze is the act of depicting the world and women in the visual arts and in literature from a masculine and heterosexual point of view, which present women as objects of male pleasure”.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_gaze
Olympia – Manet
VTS: I thought originally thought it was of an important woman with a slave. However thinking of the time period it would of been a servant. I thought of importance from the jewellery she wears, the flower in her hair and the servant holding the large bouquet of flowers.
‘At the Salon of 1863, The Birth of Venus was one of a multitude of female nudes. Bathed in opalescent colors, Venus shyly looks to the viewer from beneath the crook of her elbow. Two years later, Manet presented his now renowned painting Olympia at the Salon as well. Today both hang in the Musee’d’ Orsay. Unlike Venus’s ethereal-like palette, Manet painted Olympia with pale, placid skin tone, and darkly outlined the figure. Her only seemingly modest gesture is her placement of her hand over her leg, though it is not out of shyness- one must pay before they can see.’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_Venus_(Cabanel))
Above is a piece of text that I found very interesting especially thinking back to the salons where the art is showcased that Manet 2 years later showed his work in the same salon as Cabanal. The people were outraged when they saw this, they hated the way the model looked out of the painting into the viewers gaze, they questioned the woman hygiene calling her dirty from brownish marks on her body.
The public recognised the woman for what she did, prostitution. This was a common thing for women to do especially in Paris in the 1800’s as poverty was a big problem so women done this for survival. As the woman isn’t in such a passive position and she is actually staring out to the viewer the male gaze doesn’t apply, perhaps even challenging it.
Manet was a realist – bringing what is happening to the publics attention.
James Rubin writes of the two works: “The Olympia is often compared to Cabanel’s Birth of Venus, for the latter is a far more sexually appealing work, despite its mythological guise… It is evident Manet’s demythologizing of the female nude was foremost a timely reminder of modern realities. The majority of critics attacked the painting with unmitigated disgust…: “What is this odalisque with the yellow belly, ignoble model dredged up from who knows where?” [And] “The painter’s attitude is of inconceivable vulgarity.”
The Stone Breakers – Courbet
working class – clothing ripped, dirty
real father and son working, cannot see their faces, blocked view of viewer and painter. This is not an illusion, this is real.
Paris Street Rainy Day – Caillebotte
modernity in the sense of the topic. Caillebotte’s painting was based on photography. We discussed a few points of why: on the far right there is a man that has been heavily cropped out, something that is very unusual in a painting, this can be seen with a pair of dangling legs under the umbrella near the centre. In comparison with Monet’s Impression sunrise this is much more detailed with less visible brush strokes and less emotion in the painting relating to impressionism capturing a feeling that photography can’t.