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« Free Reads -- Polanski trial testimony | Main | Snob Quotient in Sports »

March 14, 2003

Pic of the Day

Michael:

Weíve touched on the strange neglect suffered by 19th century academic painting once or twice, but a picture I came across researching material for my series on Impressionism makes me want to beat this horse a few more times.

The painter, Paul Baudry (1828-1886), was once a fairly well known academician (he was, in fact, Napoleon IIIís favorite painter.) He was primarily a portrait painter, although he essayed mythological scenes as well. Based on the work Iíve seen on Web, he is by no means a member of the Great Painters of History Clubóhis multifigure compositions are weak and a bit confused, and he frankly doesnít seem to have an idea in his head. However, at least in this picture, Baudry illustrates how the technical discipline of academic painting can facilitate the expression of a painterís genuine emotional response to a subject:

P. Baudry, The Wrestler Meissonier, 1848

The handling of the fall of light over the figure is simply magnificent, and the harmonization of the light with the shifting of local skin tones from one part of the body to another to create a maximal aesthetic effect is something that requires, I think itís fair to say, a great deal of practice to deliver. (At least in my experience, nobody picks up a brush for the first time and knocks out something like this.)

Academic painting is like a lot of things in life: if you approach it for what it can give you as opposed to being frustrated by whatís not there, you can have a pretty good night on the town.

Cheers,

Friedrich

posted by Friedrich at March 14, 2003




Comments

What the heck is that on his unit? A washcloth?

Posted by: Yahmdallah on March 14, 2003 2:02 PM



I'm not exactly sure. I believe it stayed in place because when the artist went to remove it, M. Meissonier (identified, as you note, as a wrestler) put him in a headlock and a double nelson and said, "Monsieur, do not ever touch my little piece of cloth."

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on March 14, 2003 3:39 PM



Oh thank you Yahmdallah for asking the question I wouldn't be able to ask myself.

Even the full size picture left me overly confused.

So it's a washcloth. Ahh...I feel much better.

Posted by: laurel on March 14, 2003 8:55 PM




Obviously, that scrap of cloth is a very effective tease!

Posted by: j.c. on March 18, 2003 5:04 AM






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