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le cercueil caché

If you ever wanted to get into the artist Jean-François Millet, the place to start would be “The Gleaners”, 1857. It is probably his best known work and the one of the most cherished examples of Realism painting. The scene depicts the ancient right of poor women to scour the wheat fields after harvest and collect and bits of edible wheat that remain. The painting shows three figures, hunched over in perpetual labour, hard working for a menial meal. The triad and the triangle in painting is one that brings a feeling of balance – the triad of women rise in front of us like a sturdy mountain. Indeed, their own forms are drawn to the ground like mountains, ever rooted in the soil.

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“What does The Gleaners show? [The women] embody an animal force deeply absorbed by a painstaking task. The contrast between wealth and poverty, power and helplessness, male and female spheres is forcefully rendered.” – Liana Vardi

Even if you aren’t familiar with the process of gleaning there are visual cues in the process to tell the story ; we can see the hay being harvested and piled up in the background, indicating to us that the harvest has already occurred and the women are engaged after. In addition, the contrast of the heaping piles of plentiful food hovers over them, almost danging above their heads as a strong reminder of their situation. The gleaners themselves are hunched and tired looking, their skin darkened from the sun as a testament to their unending labour.

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Their faces are obscured from us shrouding their identity and allowing the gleaner to act as a placeholder for all impoverished women. They’ve collected but mere handfuls of grain as the sun is setting, an indicator of the small reward for such a difficult and lengthy task. But the work is not in condemnation of the gleaners, instead the warmth of the golden light shines gracefully upon them as they are presented to us in impressive scale compared to the “privileged” in the background.

“[They] have gigantic pretensions, they pose as the Three Fates of Poverty, their ugliness and their grossness unrelieved” 1.

“Part of the shock value of Millet’s painting was undoubtedly due to the fact that in the past gleaning had usually been represented in art through the Old Testament tale of Ruth the gleaner, in which Ruth is characterized as a modest and virtuous example of the way to God, and not – as it was now – a statement on rural poverty” 2. There is both a literal and metaphorical disconnect between labourer and upper class as exemplified by the master on horseback (top right) who is leading the harvest but not participating. He is shaded and solitary, not involved in the scene, and physically set apart from any work being done, yet he represents the consumer, both in food and class.

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When the Gleaners was submitted to the salon of 1857, the reception was disapproving, even hostile, especially among the upper classes (the usual patrons and audience of art). “To them, it was a reminder that French society was built upon the labor of the working masses, and landowners linked this working class with the growing movement of Socialism” 3.  The work was viewed as a glorification of poor subjects and idolization of rural life, a common theme in Millet’s work. This theme and subsequent raw depiction and admiration is nowadays widely revered and respected but was generally rejected at the time of its debut, and the painting sold for much less than the asking price. Millet desperately needed the money, but in his embarrassment tried to keep the pathetic sale price a secret from the public.

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Two Peasant Women Digging in the Snow, April, 1890
Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zurich, Switzerland.

Not much later, Van Gogh idolized and drew inspiration from Millet. Rural scenes were important in Van Gogh’s work both on a cultural and psychological level. Van Gogh did over twenty copies of Millet, especially during his self-admitted stint in Saint-Paul asylum which his brother thought Vincent created his best work. These paintings interpret the symbolism of Millet’s rural scenes and translate subjects into his own style. Van Gogh did in fact copy the Gleaners but reworked the scene into women digging in a field of snow. The work takes on a futile and uncomfortable aspect, changing what they dig through to something illustrative of that which is barren and hostile.

“One does not expect to get from life what one has already learned it cannot give; rather, one begins to see more clearly that life is a kind of sowing time, and the harvest is not yet here.” 4

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Another very famous work is The Angelus” (Millet), 1859, also at Museé d’Orsay. It depicts a rural scene of two peasants standing in a field with gentle illumination from the sunset. They are gently bowed, praying over a basket of potatoes. This simple painting is another depiction of the humble and righteous peasant. It was commissioned by Thomas Gold Appleton, who never collected it. It is about half the size of the Gleaners, and sold for less than half the price, so you can imagine Millet’s embarrassment. It was finally shown in 1874, a year before Millet’s death, and by the end of the century had completely about-faced in reception. It sold in 1889 for 553 000 francs5 (originally sold for 1000), the highest price for a modern painting to date. Only a month later, The Gleaners sold for 300,000 francs. Posthumous fame is a common theme in art history, and in this case owes itself in part Millet’s oeuvre, which was exhibited and auctioned after his death6. “They presented an artist whose works depicted “the man and the woman of the field in all the states of their lives. [Millet] admirably shows developments from infancy to youth, from youth to maturity, from maturity to old age, with the most solid logic and precise observation, with no more bias toward ugliness than toward beauty” 7.

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An interesting side note is the Dali’s fascination with this painting, which led him to create a series of works and writings exploring his horrific associations and dark obsession with the Angelus. Dali was convinced that the work was sinister on some other level. Dali experienced hallucinations where he could see the painting in his mind but his interpretation was changed and distorted. Dali became convinced the painting was a funeral scene and that the two figures were playing over a child-sized coffin. Dali eventually convinced the Louvre to conduct an x-ray of the painting and discovered a small coffin-shaped object between the figures, which had been painted over with the basket of potatoes, presumably to make it more saleable. In his book The Tragic Myth of Millet’s Angelus Dali “recounts an instance in which a man knifed the Angelus and was put in an insane asylum, and uses that anecdote to make a point about the painting’s unpredictable power: exactly what David Freedberg and Leo Steinberg were to chronicle over forty years later.  [... He also wrote] an essay explaining “Why They Attack the Mona Lisa”; [wherein] it divides assailants into “ultra–intellectuals” such as Duchamp, and “more-or-less Bolivians” who throw “pebbles,” or just steal the image” 8.

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The Angelus is similar in composition to the Gleaners, in that the background extends out and away from the subject. Millet is said to have drawn inspiration by the memory if having to recite the Angelus prayer upon hearing the toll of the church bell9. However the tiny indication of the church, fading away in the background serves to both to indicate the context in which the subject should be considered, but also physically depicts the physical and representational distance between them. “Millet pictured not the rift that modernization had driven between rustics and the land but a nostalgic union of humankind and nature”10. What is foremost delineated are the two figures engaged in solemn thanksgiving within the sustenance borne of the soil. “The shift in attitude toward Millet, The Gleaners, and The Angelus in France owed not to the workings of the marketplace but to nostalgia and to the creation of a fluid republican national identity in France in the generation after the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune” 11. The socio-political upheaval uncertainty in France encouraged the public to take solace in the simple and unchanging rural scene, and the direct relationship between need and satisfaction ie)hunger/food, purpose/job.

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Similarly, there are other examples of rural idolatry from this era, including Ploughing in Nivernais” (Rosa Bonheur), 1850. Bonheur, in contrast to Millet, enjoyed a great deal of success in her lifetime. “Photographic realism is the hallmark of her work, yet she rises far above mere photographic representation. She was intelligent, conscientious, & hard working. She believed in honesty in art & kept as close to nature as she could” 12. Bonheur studied animal anatomy and osteology and dedicated her life to the honest and factual depiction of animals. She was met with wide success of her realistic rural depictions. Nivernais was a commission awarded to her by the Second Republican government of France. “The inspiration for this famous painting may be from a novel by George Sand, the pen-name of Baroness Dudevant (1804-1876). In “The Devil’s Pool” (1846), she wrote about the displacement of peasants and farmers by industrialization, and espoused a return to nature” 13.

boeufsanother example, Boeufs allant au labour, effet de matin (Troyon, Constant) 1855.

In contrast to Millet, however the scene was not interpreted as a critique of the upper and middle classes, it was instead thought of as an loving depiction of simple life and stability, ideals which were yearned for within France. Unlike Millet’s Gleaners and Angelus, they are not bathed in golden warming light, they are illuminated in cold, clear light as if to indicate there is no question to the motivation or appreciation of the subject, it is purely Realism. “It is primarily an animal scene, whose heroes are the horse themselves, leaving little room for the man: the herdsman is very small on the canvas. It is a hymn to work in the fields whose magnitude is even more magnified it is easy to oppose, in the aftermath of revolution, the depravity of the city” 14. The public’s desires for stability and tranquility was reflected in their artistic interests. “They found solace in their image of what they considered unchanging: country life. In Labourage they see the sunny blue sky, the hills and moving oxen create a comfortable flow across the canvas. There is harmony between man and beast” 15.

1 “Story behind the picture – The Gleaners”. University of St. Andrews. Retrieved 2008-01-10.

2 http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~waste/timeline/story-pic1.html

3 Kleiner, Fred; Christian J. Mamiya. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (12 ed.). California: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning. 2005.

4 Erickson, K. At Eternity’s Gate: The Spiritual Vision Of Vincent van Gogh. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdsman Publishing. 1998. pp. 150–151.

5 W. Walton et al., Chefs-d`oeuvre de l`exposition universelle de Paris, 1889 (Philadelphia: George Barrie, 1889), 53.

6, 10, 11 http://www.mutualart.com/OpenArticle/France-Embraces-Millet–The-Intertwined-/65DB908A334354D8

7 Theophile Silvestre. Catalogue des 95 dessins de J.-F. Millet composant la collection de M. Gavet (Paris: Pillet, 1875) ; and Catalogue de la vente qui aura lieu par suite du deces de Jean-Francois Millet, peintre, sale cat., Hotel Drouot, Paris, May 10-11, 1875.

8 http://305737.blogspot.fr/2013/03/chapter-81-salvador-dali.html

9 http://www.musee-orsay.fr/index.php?id=851&L=1&tx_commentaire_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=339

12, 15 http://ringlingdocents.org/pages/bonheur.htm

13 http://www.themasterpiececards.com/famous-paintings-reviewed/bid/18772/Famous-Paintings-Plowing-in-the-Nivernais

14 http://www.musee-orsay.fr/fr/collections/oeuvres-commentees/recherche/commentaire/commentaire_id/labourage-nivernais-31.html

Luxembourg

juste un autre jour à paris

For such lovely weather, it’s good to spend time outdoors. So, we biked down to the 6th and decided to go to the Jardin du Luxembourg for a nice afternoon stroll. The Luxembourg gardens were very nice, very lush and pleasing, with a nice variety of sculptures and long treed avenues.

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riffraff

The central fountain is encircled with an elevated area with lots of shaded seating to relax and enjoy the fresh air. Also, the fountains had cute little sailboats for the kids to play with in the fountain, which is nice. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a little off the beaten path, but it wasn’t completely inundated with tourists and busybodies like The Tuileries. There are also lots of winding paths to enjoy, enclosed graveled areas for bocce, and a kids playground.

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There were also lots of cool  varieties of trees growing, including many different varieties of citrus trees, palm trees and lots of amazing kinds of rhododendrons. There were very vibrant and lavish colour-coordinated gardens, usually surrounding some kind of sculpture. They also had picnicing lawns on rotation to preserve the grass. Royal parks are much better when they let the normal riffraff use them.

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Continuing our adventure we walked over to the nearby Panthèon. Now, today was – everything is free in Paris day – and it’s a good thing too because the Pantheon kinda sucked and I’m glad I didn’t pay money to see it. Granted, it was under construction for good reason, it’s basically falling apart, but I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to pay admission. The dome, probably one of the most amazing things about the Panthèon was not only closed for renovations, but they covered it with this horrible sheet that had a print out of a bunch of people’s faces on it. I don’t really get it. It probably would have looked better and less distracting if they just put a sheet overtop.

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They also removed Foucault’s pendulum (created and installed at the Panthèon by Foucault to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth) though its just a copy and the real one is at Arts et Métiers. It would have been nice to see it set up where it was originally used! They also have huge temporary walls set up with information about various historical figures. This is nice I guess but they’re covering up the massive and awesome frescoes that are in situ! Also, people, please stop touching artworks. I don’t understand why people feel the need to get greasy, dirty fingerprints all over ancient frescoes. Be polite! I managed to see the collection of frescoes depicting Joan of Arc which were very nice, even though they were basically hidden behind these temporary walls!

Jeanne au bûcher

read right to left : angels tell Joan to go fight, Joan goes to fight,
Joan gets Charles VII crowned, Joan is martyred.

The Panthèon was originally intended to be a  church dedicated to St. Geneviève, but after the revolution was changed to a mausoleum for the interment of distinguished French citizens. Many important figures are interred here, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Victor Hugo,  Émile Zola, Louis Braille, Marie Curie, Jean-Paul Marat, and some famous mathies such as Gaspard Monge, Lazare Carnot and Joseph-Louis Lagrange. Unfortunately, all of the adornments were missing from the mausoleum as they just completed refinishing the walls and most of the tombs were either completely empty of being used for storage. For shame! Regardless, Rousseau and Voltaire’s tombs were still available to see and were very impressive. Afterwards, we stopped in at Paroisse Saint-Jacques du Haut-Pas to check out their lovely church and learn about its construction from a lovely woman who spoke to us in really simple terms once we explained we didn’t speak French very well.

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Moving on, we grabbed a quick lunch and biked down the Seine to the Place de la Concorde (the largest square in Paris) to check out its famous fountains and Egyptian Obelisk. We then headed up the Champs d’Élysées and got stuck behind a giant group of cycling enthusiasts who were biking from London to Paris. Good on them, but they were really slow. I’ve heard much about this area and its fabulous high end shopping.. but man did I ever feel poor as I passed haute-couture store after haute-couture store, zipping past personal limos waiting for high class shoppers. Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada.. just one after another like some kind of twilight zone. We ducked away from the  Champs d’Élysées towards that big pointy tower thing.. what’s it called..

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The nice thing about La Tour Eiffel is that you can walk around underneath it and truly appreciate its size. Its not often you can do this at a large building or monument, I think, nor can you look inside the walls to see its structure. That being said it doesn’t make a for a good umbrella, so when the storm rolled in we had to duck in a nearby doorway to escape the downpour. The tower would have been more romantic, I think.

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Sometimes, even when you make the effort to get nice veg on the way home to make a nice dinner, you get home and realize that you’re so fucking hungry you just eat bread and cheese until you pass out to watch Futurama for the rest of the night. I was going to say something judgmental about that.. but it’s pretty good, actually.

IMG_7061just another day in Paris

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le chant interrompu

Usually, long after my SO has gone to bed, I’m up late blogging or editing photos or working working on some kindof arty thing. Unfortunately the little time we have to share together gets minimized when I sleep in and miss breakfast. So after staying up past 4am I woke up around 7:30 with my SO to try and adjust my schedule. Yeah. So to keep myself from lounging around and being sleepy I decided it would be a good idea to go out and see the sights!

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After passing by a few vélib stations that only had seriously broken-down bikes I finally found a mostly usable vélo and made my way downtown. I’m kindof getting the hang of the street layout, but I have to make a serious effort to bear right more than I think I should have to. Otherwise I always end up in the west end. Alas, as they say; All roads lead to.. the Bastille.

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giant lampost-baby mocks your pathetic sense of direction! muhaha!

Oh well. I ditched my vélo and tried to find a landmark that I knew was nearby : Place des Vosges. I had read about it that morning, but didn’t really look into it because I didn’t think I would be in that end of town. After a little searching, we found each other. Places des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris, built in 1612 by Henri IV. There is a fine statue of Louis XIII, erected in 1818 to replace the original which was melted down during the Revolution. The surrounding buildings are all the same, made of red brick with white stone stripes and vaulted arches.

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look at the trees! they match the square’s perfect squareness!

The garden’s weren’t really that impressive, they were tidy but very modest, and all of the fountains were turned off. Even so there were still hordes of art students sitting in the grass drawing the fountain fixtures and possibly the maintenance workers. On my way out I passed a number of expensive restaurants and small art galleries, one of which featured the same kind of optical illusion I saw in the Escher museum in Amsterdam. I love those!!

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Making my way through the fifth, I ended up on Rue Étienne Marcel and biked around for a while looking for a vélib station that had a free spot. My next stop was the Jardin des Tuileries, the much hyped-up 70 acre palace gardens originally created by Catherine de Medici in 1564. The gardens here are absolutely massive and highly manicured. All trees are clipped to a certain size, the flowers are grown in neat rows deposited smack in the middle of neatly trimmed perfectly carpeted grass.. and of course there’s a little fence around anything growing so you cant ever go near it.

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This place is so perfectly organized  I find it a bit stressful rather than relaxing. However the locals seem to love it and there’s no lack of green chair to sit and relax. I don’t know if today was fountain cleaning day or what, but there weren’t any fountains on, except for one you could smell a mile away. It was one of those boring ones where a jet just shoots some water straight into the air, so of course there are lots of tiny particles of water misting around the area. Normally, this would be kindof nice but this was the most disgusting fountain I have ever seen. I believe it was originally some type of koi pond because there were almost imperceptible orange blobs swimming around in the brown muck. It smelled like a stagnant pool /hobo bath house.

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That being said, if you can find a tiny building to duck into on the west end of the garden, it contains a nice garden-related bookstore! I managed to find a book written by a rosa-horticultural genius David Austin discussing the various types of heirloom roses and their history! Awesome! David Austin roses are my favourite and someday… someday I will grow my own!

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you’re welcome for not taking a picture of the hobo bath house

For a garden there was very little beauty of nature. However, there were some nice statues, and the Louvre peeking out at the end of the garden isn’t a bad thing to look at. Also, I really like all the street crossings nearby because you can tell who has been walking around the Tuileries due to the dusty white footprints they leave on the pavement.

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My favourite new saying is “c’est parfait!”. I usually say it as a nicety when people do things for me, like put together my order at the boulangerie, bag my purchases at the magasin, or help me mail things at the post office. I’ve been saying it so much, I even say it when bad things happen, like when the strap on my purse gets caught around a barrier-post and I nearly go flying, or when I get wedged in some inescapable bike lane between trucks and some douche has parked his motorbike directly across the whole lane. C’est parfait! Granted I’ve been known to be a little insincere.

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 Moving on, I then biked down the eastern part of Ave. Champs-Élysées, checking out some nice canal views, while trying to bike as rule-abidingly as I could infront of the massive amounts of police for some reason, and eventually found my way to the Petit Palais. It’s exactly what you might think. It’s a little palace. It’s across the street from a bigger palace. But down the road from the even bigger palace. I don’t know what in Paris wasn’t once a palace.

IMG_6972wait, thats the petit palace? ok don’t look across the street then.

Everything in that neighborhood is just enormous grand architecture built by some king-or-another and probably has some cool history with the revolution(s). I don’t know if you’re meant to tour Paris this long.. because eventually it all just mashes itself into one big fancy building and I’m not impressed anymore. Well, not entirely. If you get tired of looking at nice buildings from the outside, just head on in because damn it’s nice inside too!

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The Petit Palais is now an art gallery and admission is free. Always. There was lots of Courbet, whom I never liked, but I got to spend some time in the courtyard imagining what it might be like to live in a place like this, and in the basement found some really nice paintings made by people I’ve never heard of.

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The first painting that really caught my eye was “Jean Carriès dans son atelier” (Louise Breslau), 1887. Breslau was a German-Swiss painter who achieved much success in Paris until the First World War, and afterwards in Switzerland. She won the World Fairs gold medal in 1900 and in 1901 became a Knight of the Legion of Honor, the third woman and first foreign woman to do so. The subject of her painting was a young artist, Carriès whose imaginative and often horrific sculptures captivated much attention. Carriès’ work is said to be a “junction between tradition and modernity [... and that he] spent his life pursuing an artistic ideal that the plastic covers genuine metaphysical event” 1. The thing that struck me most about this painting is the light and lively treatment of the subject matter, and the depiction of the artist’s process. I don’t know how you can depict creativity, but she’s done it!

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Another lovely work is “Ophélie” (Paul Albert Steck), 1894. The story of Ophelia (Hamlet) is romantic and tragic, and is one depicted frequently in paintings. The majority of these paintings show the drowned (or drowning) Ophelia from above the waterline, however Steck’s depiction is completely submerged, allowing the viewer to be more involved in the experience. The treatment of the underwater scene is gentle and flowing, the tendrils of aquatic plants mimicking her long hair as if to indicate her impending anchoring to the bottom of the lake. The attention paid to the texture of the bubbles, fabric and flower petals is really as lovely as it is haunting.

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man, I didn’t know santa was a dutch woman

Farther on down the basement corridor there is a small chamber adorned with plenty of nice Dutch paintings including “The interrupted song” (Frans van Mieris “the younger”), 1671. The small painting depicts a young woman who previously was preoccupied with singing a song (as indicated by the sheet music in her lap) but is interrupted by a man offering her a drink. There are a number of fine elements in this painting painted in delicate and loving detail, such as the vase of flowers, the sleeping dog on the cushion, the twinkle of light on the glass, and the satiny texture of her gown. The inclusion of a dog in Dutch paintings often is meant to indicate fidelity, and the husband offers his wife a symbolically full glass. Indeed, the entire work is very finely crafted with much love and devotion. “This style of painting has undertones of gallantry, with the association of music and love so common in Dutch painting of the 17th century representing the artist and his wife Cunera van der Cock (1629/1630 – 1700). It also illustrates the theme of the five senses” 2.

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After my palais excursion I decided it would be a good idea to start heading back towards downtown, while following the Seine of course. There are a number of nice parks and greenspace surrounding the petit and grand palais to check out. Included was a nice bas relief with (non smelly) koi pond.. and birds!

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I also managed to find a bagel shop that has fantastically amazing bagels. They also have humerous photos on the wall and signed pictures of celebrities, which I think are jokes because the majority of them just has a funny caption written on. They also say they’ve been in business since 1789 and if you check that out on their website they have a hilarious family tree of “bagelsteins” with photos ranging from astronauts to folks in straight jackets.. and enviably many “paninis” and “sandweeches” married in to the family. Awesome atmosphere, even awesomer food… I managed to get mine just before the queue exploded.

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Oh, and I also managed to find a very cool floral archway. The florists were busy not only creating it but taking pictures for people who wanted to pose with it. I opted for an OP-less photo.

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1 http://www.latribunedelart.com/jean-carries-la-matiere-de-l-etrange

2 http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en/collections/interrupted-song

18headera

obtenez-vous la blague ?

On the top floor of the Louvre, in the corridor opposite the escalators lives many famous and celebrated Dutch paintings. Of these, there are many fine examples of the ever cultivated Dutch Genre painting, which is characterized by detailed realism, moralizing overtones, and simple depictions of common life. Painting in the Netherlands underwent a great change in the 17th century, due in part to the demands of the growing middle class. As trade routes were opening up, and industrial and agricultural advancements allowed for more income and more free time, many people were moving to the cities, especially for commerce. At the same time, the invention of the printing press allowed more accessible eduction, faster and more broad sharing of ideas, and giving a voice to the individual. This, coupled with the Protestant reformation rapidly changed the types of artwork desired and being produced.

The Protestant Reformation, sparked by Martin Luther’s ninety-five point manifesto against the corruption of the Catholic church, namely the sale of “indulgences” (buying a pass to get into heaven). The questioning of corruption and abuse prevalent in the church lead to a split in Christianity into Roman Catholics and Protestants. The reformation took strong roots in northern Europe, where radical changes to churches took place, such as the destruction of any idolatry, ie) sculpture, stained glass, paintings, frescoes, and basically anything that an artist made a living on and generally devoted their life to. Religious works were suppressed, if not banned and works were thoroughly and violently destroyed. This iconoclasm, or “beeldenstorm” led therefore a huge reduction in the amount of religious art created for places of worship. However, one of the principle elements of the Protestant reformation, and largely due to the printing press’ influence, was developing a personal relationship with God rather than relying on a intermediary body to direct you. Therefore a demand grew for private icons and the depictions religious ideals through allegory.

The rise of the middle class and the emergence of Protestantism allowed for a plethora of artists to emerge to create a wide array of works of a considerably different in subject and execution. The Calvinist rejection of iconography all but eliminated the church-funded commissions that were historically an artist’s bread and butter. More and more artists turned to the middle class, who chose to spend their extra income on home furnishings, or commissions of a personal nature (ie. Portraits). An interesting note is that with the rise in literacy and the distribution of personal literature, many 17th century Netherlanders had access to what were called “emblem books” : emblematic images with corresponding text. These emblem books allowed for the average person to be able to interpret visual cues into ideas, or more commonly, moral lessons. Most modern people aren’t able to decipher these mnemonic devices and sometimes it can be hard to “get” the point or appreciate the irony of the works. That being said, there are still a number of works that are pretty obvious in their scathing depictions of debauchery.  One fine example is “La Mauvaise compagnie” (Jan Steen), 1670.

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Voor herberg, achter bordeel

In addition to his practice as an artist, Steen also kept a tavern. “As well as additional income, this provided him with a rich source of material based on the behavior and characters of his customers. In this painting, the depiction of contemporary manners is combined with a serious underlying theme: the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), who squanders away his inheritance on licentious living and prostitutes”1. The scene is laid out fairly clearly; the inebriated man falling into the lap of his enabling companion as he drunkenly gropes for his dropped pipe. The poor fellow gets pickpocketed  by the other lady of the evening, and evidence of their debaucherous stint litters the floor : empty oyster shells, playing cards, cigarette butts and his dropped and subsequently forgotten hat. Yet as the fellow reaches his limit for the night, there is no indication that the activity stops there. There will always be more music, more thieving, more drunken revelry.

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“er.. jes hanggon a sec…onf.. I drop..ped my pipe.. “

To go off on a tangent, these paintings remind me of punk music. Strangely enough, they follow a similar pattern; to compose a song or painting, which on the surface glorifies a atrocious thing, but in it’s obvious horror we see the irony. I’m not really saying they’re the same thing.. punk music prides itself on pushing buttons and making jokes. But the irony of these paintings is pretty evident. Coming very quickly after a time in which only the most revered and beautiful subjects were committed to paint, is it not strange to turn the corner and suddenly all the pictures you see are of drunken bumbling fools, hookers and riffraff?

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© Amos Kennedy

What does it mean to commit something to paint? For many years if you weren’t Jesus or kings or some kind of Greek mythology, you weren’t good enough to go on canvas. Then later, if you were rich enough, you could afford it. Nowadays I have seen all manner of things committed to paint that it seems there is no low too low. It’s within the context of the “joke” that makes these paintings really special, and more importantly worth looking at even though the times have changed quite a bit since their day. The moral lessons of Dutch genre painting often depict interior scenes of loose women and drunken fools, a common occurrence as indicated by the Dutch proverb Voor herberg, achter bordeel.. or, Inn in the front, brothel in the back. Even without knowing historical or biblical stories, or the context of emblems and other iconography, we can read these images like a book and glean a pretty full moral story from it. Don’t get wasted with a bunch of strange women at a party or you might get your pockets picked. No offense, ladies.

Genre painting also depicted scenes from everyday life, such as sprawling landscapes, simple peasant life or seemingly banal personal actions such as pouring milk, reading a letter or taking a stroll. Artists in the 17th century Netherlands “elevated what was critically regarded as a humble form to heights of desirability rivaling more classically esteemed subjects. [...]  Indeed, a large facet of a genre scene’s appeal was the opportunity it afforded to gaze into a private interior much like the one in which it might have hung and, in many cases, to identify with the values expressed by the subject”2. Another fine example of Dutch genre painting is “Joueurs de cartes dans un riche intérieur” (Pieter de Hooch).

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“looking at ones cards is a crutch for players who rely on skill”

This painting is very small, but very rich and velvety in its treatment of the paint, the shining marble floor, imposing fireplace and rich velvet drapes absolutely dripping with luxury. This rich and decadent interior mirrors the indulgent lifestyle the room provides, where they can “discreetly enjoy the company of accommodating young ladies. [...] Here, love is a game that may be cheated at like any other, as the hand proudly displayed by the beautiful courtesan – four aces – seems to suggest”3. The young men are eager to engage the ladies, either in a game of cards or a intimate moment by the window, but the simple young maid, timidly waits to fill their glasses and hesitates at interrupting their goings-on. Indeed the technical expression of opulence lends itself to the interpretation of the sumptuous lifestyle of the young people and the hesitation of the simple maid.

1 Lessing, Erich and Vincent Pomarède. The Louvre All the Paintings. New York : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2011.

2 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/gnrn/hd_gnrn.htm

3 http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/card-players-opulent-interior

dahlia

le jardin de fleurs dans l’après-midi

If you can manage to find your way around Gare St. Lazare and actually manage to get some kind of ticket for Vernon then you must be some kind of wizard. Never underestimate the overwhelming confusion of foreign train stations. We ended up missing our train by about thirty seconds and had to wait around for two hours for the next one. Oops! That being said having to walk to the nearby Eglise de la Trinité courtyard and eat sandwiches while chatting on a lovely Saturday afternoon isn’t that bad at all. The train ride from Paris to Vernon is quite fast if you get a direct train (under an hour) and the trains themselves are pretty nice, which is definitely reflected in the price.

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We arrived in Vernon and, like everyone else on the train, headed for Monet’s estate in Giverny. There are a number of coaches and city buses that shuttle people to and from Giverny (just outside Vernon) but hoping to avoid some of the crowds we decided to walk. Through Vernon the streets are still very old and narrow, and despite heaving bombing during WWII many of the buildings have been maintained since medieval times.

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There are a number of memorials in Vernon commemorating the Second World War, the resistance movement and the liberation of Vernon. In correspondence with D-Day the Seine-Loire bridges were bombed so that German reinforcements and supplies would be impeded. The resistance movement in Vernon had succeed in driving the Germans out but were still under siege from across the Seine in Vernonnet. They held out until British troops arrived whose engineers hastily made a pontoon bridge allowing troops to cross and liberate Vernonnet. There were a number of bouquets laid on the memorials and the memory of the event is still honoured today.

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Crossing the Pont Clemenceau across the Seine, there are nice shaded footpaths and bike paths that go across and down the river, sandwiched between the sprawling banks and the parallel foothills. Finally arriving at Giverny, passing the ancient church and small houses, now converted B&B’s due to the influx of tourists, ducking between the tidy gated yards and wild french poppies, we waited patiently in the long entrance line.

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Monet’s house had fallen into a state of disrepair after his death in 1926. The estate had been left to Monet’s son Michel who then bequeathed the estate to the French Academy of Fine Arts in 1977. The estate and gardens were restored to their historical state and opened to the public. The house itself, that which you are allowed to visit, is set up in a way that is confusing and awkward and cannot handle the massive amounts of visitors. However, if you can stand to, linger around and check out the amazing collection of Japanese prints.

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‘In the West what we admired most of all was this bold way of cropping images; these people taught us to compose differently’, Monet told the Duc de Trévise. The Impressionists’ preference for a light tonality, for treating forms in bold masses, for abruptly juxtaposing patches of colour, and for suppressing unnecessary detail had an echo, or found its justification, in these Japanese prints. So did the screen-like, ‘open’ character of Monet’s compositions. In Japan, the genre of woodblock prints that so affected the Impressionists was called Ukiyo-e – ‘pictures of the floating world’. When Monet laid out his water garden at Giverny, his entire concept was Japanese-inspired – it too was a ‘floating world’. The green, humpbacked bridge over the waterlily pond (The waterlily pond  1900) seems to have had a Japanese prototype, possibly suggested by Utagawa Hiroshige’s woodblock print (Inside Kameido Tenjin shrine Japan, Edo period 1856). Hiroshige (1797–1858), an excellent landscapist, was also attracted to novel, fleeting effects” 1.

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I’m not sure the Monet Foundation has the rights to the prints and there is no photography allowed in the building. The collection was the most complete, stunning collection, particularly of Hiroshige Ando, as well as some Hokusai and other lesser known Ukio-e artists that I have seen!

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Outside the building there are amazingly large, full and sprawling gardens that Monet designed and subsequently hired seven gardeners to maintain. This time of year there are lots of late-bloomers showing off, especially the dahlias, of which there were dozens of varieties. There were lots of favourites that I got to enjoy, such as anemone, scabiosa, clematis, asclepia, celosia, soldiago, zinnias, fuschia, marigold, lady’s mantle, echinops, cosmos, gomphrena, saggitaria, papyrus, cosmos, hollyhocks, and snaps. The camellia bushes were extraordinarily large, though sadly the flowers weren’t open yet. There were also an amazing array of roses: tea roses, garden roses, climbing roses.. all to amazing heights and scents. Of course there were impressively huge and elegant japanese maples and weeping willows.

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The loveliest of all though are really they dahlias. There were so many varieties, with colours ranging from the palest blush to the most vibrant orange or deep blood-red.. and in every size imaginable. There were small almost spheres tightly packed with millions of petals, or enormous “dinner plate” dahlias whose amazing show of petals on such a fragile stem is really amazing. I really love these flowers and it was such a joy to be able to see them in such a lovely and plentiful array.

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There were a few other that are  more rare and I am not accustomed to seeing often, such as nerine, cuphea, oleander, campanula, genistra (what an amazing smell!), azalea, foxglove, nasturtium, and verbena bonariensis. There were also amazing late-blooming giant crosus dappled in the grass, the tallest grove of bamboo I have ever seen, and the lovely abyssinian gladiolus, which is often marketed back home as an orchid.. it’s not!

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Of course there were also  more common ones that are classics for a reason.. and these were surely fine specimens! Asiatic lilies, phlox, pampas grass (the most impressive!) begonia, geranium, heuchera, hyrangea, ipomoea, rudbeckia, aster, sedum, ruscus, salvia, lambs ear, and of course the coveted and jovial sunflower (tournesol).

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The majority of the tourists head straight for the water-lilies and japanese bridge, as these are some of the most famous aspects of Monet’s work. But if you take a stroll between the towering rudbeckia and butterfly-enticing asclepias, you will find many a gentle and nodding flower awaiting your happy gaze. You can also find buzzing bees, fancy chickens and if you’re quiet enough, fieldmice.

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Heading home from sleepy Giverny, we had to take a few transfers on the train but managed to make it back to the city without incident. From Gare St. Lazare we went to the west edge of town to meet some friends to watch the Grand Feu d’Artifice, or Big Fireworks! It’s supposedly the largest display in Europe. So, we stood on the Pont de Saint-Cloud and watched the brilliant display. All in all, a pretty good day for eye candy!

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1 http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/exhibitions/monet/monetslife.japaneseart.aspx

16header

waarom je moet liefde de rijksmuseum

I’ve been to a lot of different art galleries. I’ve been to small spaces where the artist stands up on a milk crate and introduces the work as you eat tiny sandwiches with the artist’s close friends. I’ve been to small galleries in small towns where the you’re the only person around and the complete silence is only interrupted by the click of your shoe and swish of your jacket. I’ve been to large galleries where small pockets of people mill around admiring the works and it’s no consequence for you to usurp an extended private audience with a work. I’ve also been to large galleries where the crowds are so prevalent it’s difficult to walk around or even stand in front of a work without having your personal space sufficiently violated. I’ve also been to galleries where the mass assemblage of pilgrims whip through like a hurricane, cameras flashing, luggage bumping and neon group tour stickers shining. Even in galleries like Musee d’Orsay, where photography of any kind is forbidden, I still saw dozens of eager photographers shamefully snapping away.

The issue of photography in art galleries is very complex and rapidly changing. There is a long tradition of copying in the history of art. It was and still is considered good practice for a student to faithfully copy masterworks. With the invention of the printing press in 1450ad many illustrated copies of paintings were made and easily (and cheaply) distributed within Europe. Artworks that had previously donned only Cathedrals, palaces and private estates were now reaching a larger audience through copying. “Woodcut colour printing helped the rapid circulation of ideas, information and images and led to increased levels of literacy and education. As well as being valuable teaching aids, mass-production of coloured prints also met the demand for high-quality images in the well-established book publishing industry. Many artisans reproduced existing works by some of the finest artists such as Parmigianino, Raphael and Titian. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is a very well-known example. Coveted by connoisseurs for their technical brilliance and visual impact, high-quality reproductions of drawings and paintings became much sought after items”1. As artistic instruction began to shift from apprenticeships (where students would copy their master’s work) to artistic institutions and academies, where students began to attend galleries and public art displays to spend time copying the works. Academies also organized annual Salons, exhibitions of juried artwork which lead for a more social gathering rather than analytical discourse. More and more artwork has become literally more accessible to the general public, and at the same time becoming a more social event. “Why do we go to art galleries? The standard answer is to look at the art. And in theory that ought to be the end of the matter. Except that in practice it is not the whole story – and never has been. Ever since galleries have existed, visitors have flocked to them not just to see but to be seen in the act of seeing. As anyone who has got close to the Mona Lisa will know, the most famous galleries have long been secular cathedrals of mass pilgrimage”2. For the majority of people who visit galleries, I think they want to take something home with them. Increasingly, galleries have relied on gift shop sales to supplement their earnings, with a great number of works entering the public domain and our modern ability to cheaply print and manufacture goods there are any number of items from the most expensive framed print or delicate pendant, to € 2 fridge magnets and printed disposable napkins. Not only do people desire a kind-of souvenir, but a copy of the work.

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oh, look! MonetTM shoe polish!

A great number of people have access to cameras, and in the digital age, each picture is essentially “free”. I highly doubt that people would take as many photos at museums if they had to pay to process said photos. Especially with social media, there is a cultural desire to document. “We’re in an age when people take pictures just about everywhere, an act that photography critic Jörg M. Colberg describes as “compulsive looking.” The phenomenon has created a unique set of challenges for art museums, many of which have historically had strict limitations on photography—either for the purpose of protecting light-sensitive works or because of copyright issues”3. Our need to document our lives is persistent and ever-growing with the simplifying of technology. Nowadays basically everyone has a tiny camera in their pocket with the built in ability to share said photo instantly with friends. “People taking photographs of their food in a restaurant instead of eating it,” says [Antonio] Olmos. “People taking photographs of the Mona Lisa instead of looking at it. I think the iPhone is taking people away from their experiences.[...] Guardian photographer Eamonn McCabe agrees:  I don’t think photography’s dead, it’s just become lazy. People are taking lots of pictures but nobody’s looking at them”4. No longer are we standing back to admire said work. We aren’t even trying to cultivate quality reproductions or works we want to look at again. The act of looking is surely changing. Not only are we becoming more and more removed from the subjects canonized in the annals of fine art, but our pervasive and compulsive drive to experience the world through a lens further cheapens the event.

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“Two studies examined whether photographing objects impacts what is remembered about them. Participants were led on a guided tour of an art museum and were directed to observe some objects and to photograph others. Results showed a photo-taking-impairment effect: If participants took a photo of each object as a whole, they remembered fewer objects and remembered fewer details about the objects and the objects’ locations in the museum than if they instead only observed the objects and did not photograph them”5. Damage to artwork is one of the major problems with photography in museums. It is most common that flash photography is forbidden due to the damaging effect it has on artworks but there is always someone who forgets or for whatever reason is still flashing away. Cameras in museums is also annoying because of the constant clicking sound of real cameras or the horrible TCJHHGRRRTT artificial sound of a camera phone. For some reason people think that this sound is completely acceptable at large volumes. The sad thing is, these photos look like crap. “Instead of reflecting and appreciating brush strokes, technique, perspective, lighting, [...] you’re staring at a 2″ x 2″ display screen on the back of a camera. You might end up with a picture of the Mona Lisa, but you won’t remember having seen it for yourself. The photos you take will be pointless. Without a flash, it will be blurry. With a flash? You’ll get a glare, wash out the painting, and probably do permanent damage to the work”6.

Mona Lisa relocated in the Louvre's Salle des Etats in Paris, France on April 06th, 2005.

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I’ve spent many many uncountably many hours in art galleries and I myself used to take pictures with whatever I had available to me at the time, from super DSLR to 3MP cell phone camera. I took pictures because I wanted to remember. There were particular paintings that I liked and wanted to remember what they looked like. Unfortunately my crummy pictures do very little justice to the original work and they end up in some mass graveyard folder or digital art images that I rarely look at. I’ve instead opted to buying postcard-sized reproductions to jog my memory, or in recent years, downloading official photos (better ones than I could ever take). A great number of galleries will offer free images of their collection on their website. There has been a definite push to get galleries and museums to participate in the digital age, between tweets and facebook updates to installing wifi and downloadable content in museums. But it also encourages and sometimes facilitates the sharing of media. “Museums often do not hold the copyrights to the works they display, which creates legal problems when visitors start snapping away. [...] But the deluge of cameras, along with the fact that the vast majority of visitors simply want to snap a pic for a Facebook album, has led some institutions—such as MoMA, the Indianapolis Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum—to ask [for permission]”7. The accessibility of artworks in digital format has lead me to change my method of documentation of art galleries. I usually just write down the name of the work, and look it up on the museum’s website later. Not only do they often have very good images of the work there are usually notes from the curator, giving you the change to learn a little more about the work. The subjet matter is oftentimes so removed from modern life that artwork is difficult to approach. Museum-goers will often look to the thumbnails of the gallery guide to determine what they want to (read: feel they should) see, or rely on the level of compaction of people in front of a work to determine whether it’s revered enough to join in. Art has become so inaccessible that the average person feels they cannot connect on virtually any level with a work and abandon any hope in having any kind of personal experience with a work. What is artwork without viewers? If a painting is locked in a windowless room, does it exist as art at all? Or merely as an artifact that blossoms into art once exhibited?

tumblr_l6z55rJdaG1qar0xt© John Hughes / Paramount

“One attendant [at the British National Gallery] told The Times there were flashes every 10 minutes as tourists snapped the Arnolfini Portrait, an oil painting on oak panel dated 1434 by the Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck. “You have people taking photos all the time – selfies, pictures of their kids, everything. Some of the staff are seething,” he said. “People take pictures with flashes and you can’t stop them because by the time the flash goes off it’s too late.” She said she had seen people trip over plinths when they had their backs to the works trying to take a selfie. “We have got plinths with a sculpture on and they knock into them. It also distracts security. While two people are being silly with a selfie somebody else can go and stick a pen through a painting,” Ms Ward said. “Perhaps we need to change the rules. Allowing people to interact physically with a work of art by taking pictures would probably increase the risk but if you can’t do that how are you going to attract people? How we interact with people has got to change”8. There is always a mix of viewers at any gallery, a full spectrum between the quiet, musing aficionados who linger contemplatively around works, and the high-energy loud and bustling tour group snapping cellphone pictures or pointing and giggling at the sculpted Greek nudes. But, without participation and patronage there wouldn’t be many galleries to speak of.

While the artist is burdened with the task or painting or sculpting something in such a way to give you a particular experience upon viewing the work, once it’s out there it’s up to the audience to validate that work’s existence. That’s the beauty of art. It’s not stuffy old men shushing you for giggling at the Greek sculpture’s tiny wiener. Art is what you perceive it to be. Quite often, a great number of people agree on a work’s impact and why it should be appreciated but as we know these things change over time. Sometimes hundreds of years later we change our mind that something that was bad is now good. There isn’t anything wrong with going to a gallery and not “knowing anything” in the academic sense. Granted, I would argue it’s more interesting to have some kind of back story. But if your experience is different that someone else’s, that’s okay too.

“So extensive and subtly pervasive are the ideas that set Art upon a remote pedestal, that many a person would be repelled rather than pleased if told that he enjoyed his casual recreations, in part at least, because of their esthetic quality. The arts which today have more vitality for the average person are things he does not take to be arts: for instance, the movie, jazzed music, the comic strip, and, too frequently, newspaper accounts of love-nests, murders, and exploits of bandits. For, when what he knows as art is relegated to the museum and gallery, the unconquerable impulse towards experience enjoyable in themselves finds such outlet as the daily environment provides. Many a person who protests against the museum conception of art, still shares the fallacy from which that conception springs. For the popular notion comes from a separation of art from the objects and scenes of ordinary experience that many theorists and critics pride themselves upon holding and even elaborating. The times when select and distinguished objects are closely connected with the products of usual vocations are the times when appreciation of the former is most rife and most keen. When, because of their remoteness, the objects acknowledged by the cultivated to be works of fine art seem anaemic to the mass of people, esthetic hunger is likely to seek the cheap and the vulgar” 9.

The way we interact with and experience artwork is definitely changing with the times. Our personal experience is perpetually changing, coupled with the inaccessibility of historical “fine art” and the strive to create something “new” and the strangeness of modern artworks. There pretension in the art world that leaves the average person saying “I don’t get it” and the artist pretending that artistic expression exceeds the realm of understanding for those not imbued with artistic aptitude by saying “you wouldn’t get it”. The relationship with art is strained and strange; we are happier to take some kind of small ownership over it with shitty photos and giftshop napkins than to admit our own participation in events.

Of course this leaves me to believe there is a separation of camera-wielding-museum-goers: one half trying to document their day and sharing their experiences of all kinds with others, and those who really do just want a photographic copy of said work so that they can look at it again at home. So next time you see a work that you really actually do want a copy of, do yourself a favour and spend some money on a reproduction. Either that or go on the internet, where the vast majority of galleries post way better pictures that you could take. Speaking of which, while feeling quite sad that my digital photo of “A Windmill on a Polder Waterway” by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël had turned out so crummy, I turned to the website of the newly-renovated Rijksmuseum and lo and behold they had an amazing high-resolution photo of it (and every single painting in the museum) available for anyone to download. All 25812864 glorious pixels.

1 http://decodedpast.com/renaissance-impressions-royal-academy-art/7259

2 http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/15/unthinkable-no-photographs-art-galleries

3 http://www.artnews.com/2013/05/13/photography-in-art-museums/

4 http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/dec/13/death-of-photography-camera-phones

5 A “Present” for the Future: The Unexpected Value of Rediscovery Psychological Science, August 29, 2014. http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/08/28/0956797614542274.full

6 http://www.everywhereist.com/ten-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-take-photos-in-museums/

7 http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/15/unthinkable-no-photographs-art-galleries

8 http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/flash-and-selfies–the-art-gallery-dilemma-20140823-107esq.html

9 Dewey, John. Art as experience. New York, New York: Penguin group 1934.

montmartre

mons martis

After spending the morning working on my two-row painting, I took a break to walk around my favourite neighbourhood and artist’s historical refuge, Montmartre. I grabbed a vélo and began my journey, stopping at Bassin de la Villette the along the way for a photo of the canal.

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Once in the 18th, I ditched my vélo in favour of breaking in my newly-cobbled heels. And break-in I did. If you don’t head for the funiculaire, or the grand stairway at the square Louise Michel at base of the Sacré Cœur, you can always take the stairs at the top of Rue Chappe.

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colourful!

All told, it’s over 300 steps up. Now, I used to live on the 14th floor of a university residence and had to go down and up the 15 flights of stairs every time the fire alarm went off. Let me tell you, I eventually decided that the slim chance there was actually a fire was a risk worth taking by staying in bed instead. This is how much I like stairs.That being said, It’s all worth it when you get to the top, because it doesn’t matter which way you turn, there is something beautiful to see.

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pretty sure I saw saw a post card with this photo on it

At the very tip top is the Basilica Sacré Cœur, built between 1875 and 1919, is Romano-Byzantine style architecture, and is made of “travertine stone, known as ‘Château-Landon’, [which] comes from the Souppes-sur-Loing quarry in Seine et Marne and is particular in that it is extremely hard with a fine grain and exudes calcite on contact with rainwater, making it white” 1. Montmartre, or mount-martyr is supposedly named after St. Denis, patron saint of France, who was martyred around 250ad.  Denis is said to have picked his head up after being decapitated, walked ten kilometres and preached a sermon the entire way. There was a small shrine and later Basilica in the location where he eventually died.

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wait, what did St. Denis do?!

Looking away from the Basilica there is a very nice and very famous view of the city. If you want to avoid the crowds I would suggest taking a little walk around the square Louise Michel because there are nice winding paths just off of the main staircase that offer very lovely views without the hassle of cameras on sticks waving in your face. Plus the shade of the greenery with the scent of roses on the gentle breeze, paired with the lovely pristine Basilica peeking around every tree is a really nice experience.

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Around the back of the Basilica is the lovely square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet. Here there is a gorgeous shaded walkway, a simple fountain and many shaded benches to sit and admire the equally lovely view from the rear. hehehe.

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daaamn, gurl

Moving on, I found Place du Tertre, which is a famous square in which artists come and set up their easels and sell paintings. I had moderately high hopes for this square, but unfortunately it was an unabashed ad hoc display of immoral commercialism and tourist-trapping. Seriously if these “artists” aren’t sell outs I don’t know anything. It was wholly consisting of cheap stylized eiffel-tower images done hastily and without care, and caricature or other while-u-wait drawings.

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oh look, honey! wild art! poor little guy looks hungry.
let’s give him some money for this shit-smear on canvas.

It’s a cash grab is what it is. And I hated it! My problem isn’t with artists making money, it’s anyone without talent learning a few tricks and churning out enough stuff in a popular enough place with enough tourists that they will make some money off of it. And people think they’re supporting the arts. Come on!

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pretty, though

http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/history-and-visit/article/architecture

BONUS PICTURES!!!~

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