The Art World : A Mirror Of Modern Paris Essay

The Art World : A Mirror Of Modern Paris Essay

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were able to buy property and country homes—sowing the seeds for the landscape that Monet would amble down in his studio-boat, trying to capture the ways the light kissed the riverfront.
The Canvas as a Mirror of Modern Paris

Noting the changes in Parisian society, the art world was changing as well. For the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth centuries, the Academie des Beaux-Arts and The Salon, both state sponsored institutions, governed the art society. From brushstrokes to subject matter, the only way an artist could create a name for themselves, bring in steady commissions, and live comfortably was by receiving recognition from The Salon and The Academy. The Realists, an art movement that came directly before the Impressionists, had already weakened The Salon’s hold on the art market at the time. Many of the Realists received rejections from these institutions. They wanted to portray a truthful, objective vision of life at the time. They broke away from the traditional landscapes, historical and religious paintings that The Salon so highly rated. Painters like Gustave Courbet brought grit and reality into his paintings of the lower, poorer class of society. Once this movement began to decline, the Impressionists would inherit the Realists’ legacy of representing a contemporary life. Art became more about documenting life as it was, not of telling stories from long ago.
Along with Realism, another shift that kindled the Impressionist movement was the charged atmosphere of Parisian cafes. Cafés had long been grounds for intellectual conversation since as early as the 1680s. Haussmann’s redesign, however, enhanced their power by placing them in open spaces where citizens could aimlessly wander streets in the latest fashion....


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...n created a world where the Impressionists could thrive. The Impressionists followed the Realists in breaking from the tradition of The Academy and The Salon, much at the same time as the city was breaking from its Medieval roots.
Even today, over a two centuries later, the ‘modernity’ captured by the Impressionists still speaks to people around the world. Largely by design, the paintings of the Impressionist feel like a step back in time within one of the world’s most loved cities. Today we can still ride down the river, imagining Monet’s boat-studio, and witness the same rays of sunlight that Monet tried to freeze. We can walk down the boulevards with Caillebotte and experience a rainy day. The paintings of the impressionists, while at the time controversial, set the mood for the development of modern art and captured a key moment in history—the rebirth of Paris.

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