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Painter of Modern Life (1863) - Charles Baudelaire
Related: 1863 - Charles Baudelaire - Constantin Guys - modern - painting
The Painter of Modern Life (1863) - Charles Baudelaire (Author) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
“The world—and even the world of artists—is full of people who can go to the Louvre, walk rapidly, without so much as a glance, past rows of very interesting, though secondary, pictures, to come to a rapturous halt in front of a Titian or Raphael—one of those that would have been most popularized by the engraver’s art; then they will go home happy, not a few saying to themselves, ‘I know my Museum.‘” --The Painter of Modern Life (1863), Charles Baudelaire --via http://www.idst.vt.edu/modernworld/d/Baudelaire.html
Related authors and works: Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project - The Painting of Modern Life (1985) - Timothy J. Clark
Related: aura - aesthetics - culture theory - media theory - mass production - kitsch - modernism
DescriptionThe Painter of Modern Life is a 1863 essay by Charles Baudelaire in which he heroizes the work of Constantin Guys and comments on the mass reproducibility of art.
The Painting of Modern Life is also the title of a 1985 book by Timothy J. Clark on modern art in Paris of the 1860s. [Mar 2006]
The Painter of Modern Life was about Constantin Guys, not Manet
Many people think that Baudelaire's essay The Painter of Modern Life was about Manet, when in fact it was about Constantin Guys.It is Manet, however, whom subsequent history has tended to identify as the paradigmatic ‘painter of modern life', though his work was not known to Baudelaire when the essay was composed. --Art in Theory 1815-1900 - Page 493
Baudelaire argued in favor of artificialityIn The Painter of Modern Life Baudelaire argued in favor of artificiality, stating that vice is natural in that it is selfish, while virtue is artificial because we must restrain our natural impulses in order to be good. The snobbish aesthete, the dandy, was for Baudelaire the ultimate hero and the best proof of an absolutely purposeless existence. He is a gentleman who never becomes vulgar and always preserves the cool smile of the stoic. --http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/baudelai.htm [Mar 2006]
Relation between Baudelaire's essay and the idea of kitsch
Il y a dans le monde, et même dans le monde des artistes, des gens qui vont au musée du Louvre, passent rapidement, et sans leur accorder un regard, devant une foule de tableaux très intéressants, quoique de second ordre, et se plantent rêveurs devant un Titien ou un Raphaël, un de ceux que la gravure a le plus popularisés; puis sortent satisfaits, plus d'un se disant: "Je connais mon musée."
“The world—and even the world of artists—is full of people who can go to the Louvre, walk rapidly, without so much as a glance, past rows of very interesting, though secondary, pictures, to come to a rapturous halt in front of a Titian or Raphael—one of those that would have been most popularized by the engraver’s art; then they will go home happy, not a few saying to themselves, ‘I know my Museum.‘” -- Charles Baudelaire
In this essay from 1863 Charles Baudelaire comments on the fact that works of art have lost their aura (a term I borrow here from Walter Benjamin) because of the technique of engraving. For the first time in history, engraving allowed images of works of art to be mass-popularized in posters and postcards. Baudelaire's comments are a precursor to Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
It is precisely this mass-reproducibility of works of art, in two-dimensional (postcards of the Mona Lisa) as well as three-dimensional forms (plastic statues of the Venus of Milo), which has given birth to the concept of kitsch.
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