From Realism to ImpressionismFreedom from conformity
Painting in the early 19th Century• Despite a socialist revolution in France at the end of the eighteenth century, it was hard to argue that professional artists in France in 1800 were producing art "for the people".• Beyond local "folk" art and crafts the central artistic establishment in France produced work in the "Grand Historical" style often glorifying ideas of empire and the classical world.
Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1808, Louvre - JeanAuguste Dominique Ingres
Christopher Columbus and His Son at La Rábida, 1838- Eugene Delacroix
Gustave Courbet- The advent ofRealism"I am fifty years old and I have always lived in freedom; let meend my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: Hebelonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to noacademy, least of all to any regime except the regime ofliberty."- Gustave Courbet
Jean Desire Gustave Courbet (10June 1819 - 31 December 1877)• Gustave Courbet lived and worked in France is accepted to be the leader of the Realist Movement that sought to refocus French art towards a celebration of everyday life in France, rather than a vision of a Romanticised past.• Technically adept, Courbet could have produced work in the grand historical style, and some of his canvases are very similar to the classically inspired scenes of previous generations.
Subversive Courbet• However even in his more traditionally themed work we can detect a subversive element to his work, challenging social norms and revealing a side to human affairs that would be considered unaccetable or unpalletable to high society
Courbets New HeroesA large body of Courbets work is depicts common, everydaypeople in France with a degree of psychological realismpreviously unseen in French art- this was to be a significantinfluence on the first generation of impressionist artists.
Edouard Manet- The Reluctant Impressionist• Edouard Manet was born into the Parisian bourgeoisie in 1832.• His mother, Eugenie-Desiree Fournier, was a God-daughter of the Crown Prince of Sweden.• Manet was therefore a gentleman artist painting for his own pleasure rather than as a means of generating income. This gave Manet more freedom in the art he chose to produce.
The Absinthe Drinker- 1858• Manet’s early work betrays an interest in depicting people and scenes of modern life reminiscent of the themes from Courbet
The influence of Baudelaire• Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a poet an art critique, whose idea about the celebration of modern life, inspired Manet.• In an Essay entitled The Painter of Modern Life Baudelaire called for a new kind of artist who could capture the “Ebb and Flow of Modernity”.
Industrialisation- the Impression it left.• The industrialisation of France in the nineteenth century has been understood to have had an important influence over the development of art.• Industrialisation created new technologies, which allowed artists to paint in different ways, for instance the invention of metal paint tubes and synthetic pigments made paint cheaper and easier to carry out.• Painting out doors or “En plein air” became more popular.• Industrialisation also presented new themes.