Term Paper: Baroque Romantic Age

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Impressionist Art

Masters Of Impressionism:

edouard manet and edgar degas

In artistic terms, the immediate aim of Impressionist artists was to render a painting or a piece of sculpture which reflected "the sense impression of the artist," meaning that a painter or sculptor of this period was heavily influenced by the events that were occurring around them. In essence, almost all Impressionist painters "were greatly concerned with the course of events in Paris," where the development of an urban industrial system was well under way between 1860 and 1880 and which created "acute political and social unrest" some seventy years after the French Revolution (Tinterow, 1994, 134). Two outstanding artists exemplify this period in France, being Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas, especially in their paintings Dejeuner sur l'Herbe, Bar at the Folies-Bergere and Ballet Rehearsal.

In the first painting by Manet entitled Dejeuner sur l'Herbe (1863, oil on canvas), also known as "Luncheon on the Grass," the portrayal of a nude woman seated in the woods along with two clothed men shocked the citizens of Paris for its boldness and outright exploitation of human nudity and emotional casualness. At first, this painting was thought to have "reported a true public indecency which offended many," but Manet was only attempting to express his own personal feelings toward nudity and the public display of it. The woman in this painting is obviously "not a nymph or a Venus but a modern Parisienne of dubious profession," meaning that she is probably a prostitute and from the look on her face, it is clear that she "cares little for what people think" (Pool, 1967, 245). Overall, this painting reflects the social atmosphere of Paris in the 1860's and reveals that most citizens of that city were quite open-minded when it came to sexuality and free expression, even in a location with free access to everyone. Similarly, Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergere (1882, oil on canvas) focuses on an ordinary-looking female barmaid reflected in a mirror to her right. Although she seems to be employed in a rather upscale drinking establishment, she is very reminiscent of novelist… [END OF PREVIEW]

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