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French Art Classic and Contemporary Painting and Sculpture   By: (1851-1928)

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First Page:

FRENCH ART

CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY PAINTING AND SCULPTURE

BY W.C. BROWNELL

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1892

Copyright, 1892, by CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

TO AUGUSTE RODIN

CONTENTS

PAGE

I. Classic Painting, 1 I. Character and origin. II. Claude and Poussin. III. Lebrun and Lesueur. IV. Louis Quinze. V. Greuze and Chardin. VI. David, Ingres, and Prudhon.

II. Romantic Painting, 47 I. Romanticism. II. Géricault and Delacroix. III. The Fontainebleau Group. IV. The Academic Painters. V. Couture, Puvis de Chavannes, and Regnault.

III. Realistic Painting, 89 I. Realism. II. Courbet and Bastien Lepage. III. The Landscape Painters; Fromentin and Guillaumet. IV. Historical and Portrait Painters. V. Baudry, Delaunay, Bonvin, Vollon, Gervex, Duez, Roll, L'Hermitte, Lerolle, Béraud, The Illustrators. VI. Manet and Monet. VII. Impressionism; Degas. VIII. The Outlook.

IV. Classic Sculpture, 139 I. Claux Sluters. II. Jean Goujon. III. Style. IV. Clodion, Pradier, and Etex. V. Houdon, David d'Angers, and Rude. VI. Carpeaux and Barye.

V. Academic Sculpture, 165

I. Its Italianate Character. II. Chapu. III. Dubois. IV. Saint Marceaux and Mercié. V. Tyranny of Style. VI. Falguière, Barrias, Delaplanche, and Le Feuvre. VII. Frémiet. VIII. The Institute School in General.

VI. The New Movement in Sculpture, 205 I. Rodin. II. Dalou.

I

CLASSIC PAINTING

I

More than that of any other modern people French art is a national expression. It epitomizes very definitely the national æsthetic judgment and feeling, and if its manifestations are even more varied than are elsewhere to be met with, they share a certain character that is very salient. Of almost any French picture or statue of any modern epoch one's first thought is that it is French. The national quite overshadows the personal quality. In the field of the fine arts, as in nearly every other in which the French genius shows itself, the results are evident of an intellectual co operation which insures the development of a common standard and tends to subordinate idiosyncrasy. The fine arts, as well as every other department of mental activity, reveal the effect of that social instinct which is so much more powerful in France than it is anywhere else, or has ever been elsewhere, except possibly in the case of the Athenian republic. Add to this influence that of the intellectual as distinguished from the sensuous instinct, and one has, I think, the key to this salient characteristic of French art which strikes one so sharply and always as so plainly French. As one walks through the French rooms at the Louvre, through the galleries of the Luxembourg, through the unending rooms of the Salon he is impressed by the splendid competence everywhere displayed, the high standard of culture universally attested, by the overwhelming evidence that France stands at the head of the modern world æsthetically but not less, I think, does one feel the absence of imagination, opportunity, of spirituality, of poetry in a word. The French themselves feel something of this. At the great Exposition of 1889 no pictures were so much admired by them as the English, in which appeared, even to an excessive degree, just the qualities in which French art is lacking, and which less than those of any other school showed traces of the now all but universal influence of French art. The most distinct and durable impression left by any exhibition of French pictures is that the French æsthetic genius is at once admirably artistic and extremely little poetic.

It is a corollary of the predominance of the intellectual over the sensuous instinct that the true should be preferred to the beautiful, and some French critics are so far from denying this preference of French art that they express pride in it, and, indeed, defend it in a way that makes one feel slightly amateurish and fanciful in thinking of beauty apart from truth... Continue reading book >>




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