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Example research essay topic: Late Nineteenth Century Thames And Hudson - 1,715 words

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... the others, it is a very 'real' expression, she looks tired, disinterested, possibly she has had a very hard day before she went out to socialise. Manet depicted other social activities of the people of Paris. Manet loved painting any fun activity where crowds of people gather. An early painting where horses rush straight at the viewer while crowds of people watch on both sides is Racing at Longchamp, showing a popular social activity at the time.

He depicted people skating in the aptly named Skating, showing a woman very fashionably dressed which shows off very well her highly decorated costume, while people skate around in the background. He shows a group of his friends including himself in Music in the Tuileries, where many men dressed with top hats and black jackets stand around socialising, while others sit and talk, such as two women in the foreground. He has included himself, which reflects the fact that this world which he depicted was very much his world, parties and events that he went to himself. "Like many a fellow Parisian, Manet enjoyed fancy dress and make-believe. " (Hanson 1977: 79) He is not so much depicting a scene because of its colours, form or beauty as he is depicting it because of its atmosphere, the feelings and expressions of Parisian people. He also depicted many types of these people in View of the International Exhibition, which shows soldiers relaxing seated and standing; several couples of well to do people talking; a gardener; a boy with a dog; a woman on horseback; a sample of all the classes and ages of the people of Paris. A more upper class event shown is Masked Ball at the Opera, where men with bow ties and black suits stand around chatting with fancifully dressed women with masks. Everyone is talking with each other, it is a real party and they are all having fun.

Some people make expressive gestures with their hands, as people do when explaining something in conversation. He also painted a very real scene of a woman waiting for a train in The Railway, where a woman who is the middle of reading a book looks up at the viewer momentarily, while a young girl also does exactly what would be expected, standing looking at the train with all its noise and smoke. The older woman has perhaps done this many times before while the girl is excited by the train. TJ Clark argues that modern art derives from the depiction impressionist painters, especially Manet, did of modern life during Paris in the nineteenth century. The four chapters of TJ Clark's marxist-leaning book argues that firstly the modernization of Paris helped produce the modern art of painters such as Manet, secondly that Manet's painting of Olympia is an aspect of modern life he depicted, which was commonplace at the time, although many people would not want to have admitted it.

Thirdly he argued that some aspects of modernity were able to be seen, especially by the middle class, and finally he says that 'popular' is a widely used general term of the late nineteenth century. He said that Manet's painting Olympia showed the class of the prostitute he depicted which caused the resulting uproar. While A Bar at the Folies-Bergere was a painting used to depict the modern life of Paris at the time. "Manet's attitude towards the Folies-Bergere - towards modern life in Paris... it seems to me also that a degree of conflict exists between that attitude and the beliefs about painting and vision - the metaphysic of plainness and immediacy... that manet held both sets of beliefs is incontestable, and the tension between them was never more visible than in his last big painting. (TJ Clark 1985: 253) A Bar at the Folies-Bergere was the last major work Manet did before he died, one great masterpiece which he put all his energy into in one last astounding effort.

It shows exactly what he had been trying to do in his life of depict modern scenes at the bar or at the opera. For this scene, instead of showing a scene of people talking or being served at the bar, the viewer is involved in the painting directly as though the girl in the painting is serving them. The barmaid looks at the viewer as if to ask what they are about to order. By depicting such a modern scene, this is clearly a break from the past of fairytales, legends and even much more modern and involving the viewer than the realist art of Courbet or the art of some of the other impressionists. Every detail in the painting is modern, from the champagne bottles to the costumes of the girl and the people in the background. The bottles of beer have a label with a triangular motif, an extremely modern shape and design, hinting at the world of advertisements and modern capitalism.

In addition, Manet has signed his name on the label for the bottle at the bottom left, as though it were a modern promotion, "as if to reinforce the attention to the painting as a self-advertising luxury commodity" (Armstrong 2002: 284). A scene at a bar typifies modern culture, it is not a painting of workers in a field or of a tale from classical mythology, it is a definite break in the past. The girl seems real, with an expression that appears to be of someone who is it work, not idealized or exaggerated, but just a normal expression for a barmaid about to serve a customer. Her two hands push the top of her body forward, she is leaning towards the customer, another device that makes the viewer really feel as though they are 'inside' the painting. She is the very image of modern Paris and the model she is drawn from, Sun, actually worked at the bar there who came to Manet's studio; "a real serving girl from a bar at the Folies-Bergere [came] to pose in his studio... this quintessential image of the Parisian universe that had been Manet's life, his world. " (Cachin 1995: 124) The painting of the Bar shows exactly the idea of modern life in Paris.

It combines the imagery of several of his previous works. It reflects the idea of the working woman in the new Paris built by Haussman. "Its final updating, in the aftermath of the Second Empire's modernization of the city of Paris in the image of the flow of goods and currency, people and pleasures, of Baudelaire's 'painting of modern life' in the image of modern woman. " (Armstrong 2002: 300) This painting showed everything about Paris that the city was famous for; the nightlife, the woman in the background appears to be holding glasses as though she is looking at the opera, a trapeze at the very top left hints at a circus, the large chandelier at the top shows the glamour of Paris, in the background of the mirror appears to be a huge ballroom crowded with people. While the background is vague, the overall impression is that of an enormous party, while the viewer of the painting leaves the action for a moment to order a drink at the bar. "Manet has captured the essential feelings of boredom and glitter... It is with such paintings that Manet records modern 'history' - the spirit of modern life. " (Hanson 1977: 68) By combining many elements from previous paintings; crowds of people, fancy costumes, nightlife, drinking and entertainment Manet has shown the spirit of modern life which came to influence the art of the 20 th century. "Stasis and action in perpetual balance, Manet had admirably fulfilled Baudelaire's admonition that the modern artist must extract from the ephemeral and transitory the poetic and eternal qualities of his own age. " (Hanson 1977: 205) Paris in the late nineteenth century became one of the most modern in the world, due to the redesigning by Baron Haussman. By depicting the life of this city, Manet showed a world which is more familiar to people today than any art which had come before it.

The art of Manet shows a window into the life of the people of Paris. His depiction of people of all classes and types, of different occupations, at different times of day shows broadly what life would have been like for people at this time, and shows the leisurely pursuits which many people in cities today enjoy. Manet painted many Parisian activities and places; cafes; restaurants; concerts; skating rinks; races; expositions; balls; picnics; a world of entertainment and fun. Manet broke away from traditional art and depicted the world around him like no-one had before, and in that sense he created some of the first truly modern art. Bibliography Armstrong, C. 2002, Manet Manet, Yale University Press, New Haven, USA Brombert, B. 1996, Edouard Manet.

Rebel in a Frock Coat, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, USA Cachin, F. 1995, Manet. Painter of Modern Life, Thames & Hudson Ltd. , London, UK Clark, T. 1985, The Painting of Modern Life. Paris in the Art of Manet and his followers, Thames and Hudson, London, UK Dorival, B. 1962, The School of Paris in the Musee d'art Moderne, Harry N. Abrams Inc. publishers, New York, USA Duchting, H. 1995, Edourard Manet. Images of Parisian Life, Prestel- Verlag, Munich, Germany Frascina, F.

et al 1993, Modernity and Modernism. French Painting in the Nineteenth Century, Yale University Press, New Haven, USA Hamilton, G. 1969, Manet and his critics, WW Norton & Co. Inc, New York, USA Hanson, A. 1977, Manet and the Modern Tradition, Yale University Press, London, UK Krell, A. 1996, Manet and the Painters of Contemporary Life, Thames and Hudson Ltd. , London, UK Lucie-Smith, E. 1971, A Concise History of French Painting, Thames & Hudson Ltd. , London, UK Pool, P. 1985, The Complete Paintings of Manet, Penguin Books, Orient, S. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, USA. Re, T. 1982, Manet and Modern Paris, National Gallery of Art, Washington, USA Schneider, P. 1972, The World of Manet 1832 - 1883, Time Life International, USA Walter, E. 1983, Manet 1832 - 1883, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Wilenski, R. 1973, French Painting, Dover Publications Inc. , New York, USA


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