FINE112 Lecture Notes - Camille Pissarro, The Stone Breakers, Color Theory

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Pre 1875
10:06 AM
Art prior to impressionism was highly political - impressionists not concerned with politics
France in a state of political turmoil with many empires and republics
Jean Inges - Portrait of Napoleon on the Imperial throne
o After Napolean's attempt to change French society, he crowns himself as Monarch
o Painting is a celebration of Napoleon's legacy and power as the monarch
Delacroix - Death of Sardanapalus
o Important to impressionists artists - way he applies colour theory to his work, looseness of
painting and composition
o New developments as how people perceive colour - colour used to create more luminous
o Brightness, loose brush strokes are picked up by impressionists and developed in the 19th
o Subject matter is sexual and sensual; depicts flesh and nude in a state of death, tension
between death and beauty (also interests impressionists)
o Violence of romantic work in general is telling of political turbulence - Delacroix depicts a
violent seen to tell of the kind of violence happening on the streets in Paris (people are killing
each other for their ideals). Political issues transferred to art; violence, death, destruction
Turner - The Slave Ship
o Especially influential for impressionists
o Creates almost an abstraction in the way he paints
o Uses oil paint in water colour technique. Sometimes translucent and sometimes thicker - form
of the painting reminds one of water colours
o Refers to real event that highly publicized. Ship was taking slaves from Africa to new world,
caught in storm and couldn’t survive, threw slaves and animals off the ship in order to survive
o Romantic artists interested in dramatic moments - part of abolishment ideals. Used as political
statement and idea of power of nature.
o Turbulence and changes of time in which he lived.
Turner - Rain Steam and Speed
o Another change in time
o About the coming of the modern age, fundamental transformation of the urban and rural
environment of the western society
o Depicts railroads - being built all over Europe and France. Developing lines and networks of
railroads that connect different parts of Europe, serves as trade routs
o "Speed" implies the speeding up of life in modern times. Wants to evoke reaction from
viewers about a coming of new time where humans rise above limitations of bodies and move
faster than they ever could have
o Realization of the speed of time. No clocks before the railroad because no one needed it;
railroad had to run according to a schedule, brings about the need to measure time exactly.
Life speeds up
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Modern, Modernity, and Modernism
o Modern: means something that is contemporary. Of the moment. Also way to distinguish
oneself from prior ages, distinguishing from today
o Modernity: refers specifically to the time period of enlightenment. Starts at the end of the
18th century. Roughly distinguished as ending in the middle of the 20th century. Particular
historical era, referring to artistic, political
o Modernism: intellectual and cultural/aesthetic production in the time of modernity. Artists
often against it, tenuous and ambiguous relationship to modernism. Defined in terms of
distinguishing characteristic of the western culture in general which developed between
1780's to the mid 20th century
o Enlightenment project: ways in which 18th-19th century people understood themselves. To
create education, legal system
o Individualism: becomes term used often by artists in order to distinguish themselves from the
masses. People are moving from rural areas to urban centers in search of jobs, masses of
people living together in small spaces. Cropping in art tells of the relationship people have in
urban society.
o Industrial revolution: changes the way people work, communicate, relate to the landscape,
use the land and resources.
Joseph niceophone: first photograph. View from window: graininess of photography important for
artists to understand the technique they are using
Courbet - The Stone Breakers
o Considered to be realist
o Political, open to social change, self proclaimed socialist
o Uses large canvases the size of historical paintings to depict every day scenes of workers;
people who would never be depicted in art. Art was for people who were rich, low status
people not usually depicted.
o Commentary is to the circumstances in which workers worked and lived. Conscious about
class environment and speaks against it. Serves political purpose to raise consciousness about
problems of society at the time. Depicts class conflict seen in revolutions in the 19th century
(5 class revolutions in France - working and middle classes rebel against monarchy at the time,
most happening in Paris.
Camille Pissaro - Avenue de l'Opera
o Painting full of light and luminescent qualities - impressionists interested in beautiful quality
post Haussmann Paris offered.
o Reflect life of middle classes - they are now free and safe since all the upheaval. Impressionists
usually part of newly emerging class
o Changing perceptions of class, surroundings, art and what art should be. All part of modernist
art and impressionist works
Eduard Manet
o Influence by Corbet
o Realist in a different sense
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