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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Boilly Pass and Pay

Boilly’s Passez Payez (Pass and Pay)

This is another Paris street scene by our friend Louis-Leopold Boilly. As always, the artist has much to tell us beyond the depiction of an everyday incident. This takes place in 1803, when the streets of Paris were still mostly unpaved. Any rain shower turned them into torrents of mud. But there the poorest of the […]

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Zurbaran St Francis of Assisi

The sacred made real: 17th century religious art from Spain

The first I heard from this exhibition was from this review in The Independent. What struck me, apart from the critic’s confusion about the religious and historical background, was the obvious emotional impact of the show. Then I saw this better informed review in The Art Tribune and knew I could not afford to miss this […]

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Boilly The Arrival of the Stagecoach

The Arrival of the Stagecoach, by Louis-Léopold Boilly

This will be the second post in a probably long series dedicated to Louis-Léopold Boilly. After specializing in interior genre scenes such as The Sorrows of Love, Boilly felt the need to switch to depictions of urban life. Apart from the artistic merit of his compositions, he offers us a direct, candid view of Paris […]

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Millais Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

This is it: the  trees on the banks of the Seine are still russet and gold, a last flamboyant display of color before the bareness of winter. So to illustrate the turn of the season I chose this painting by John Everett Millais, as apt an illustration of autumn as his Blind Girl is of […]

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Vivant Denon Lefevre

Denon and the Louvre

Thanks to Ellen at Eighteenth Century Worlds for bringing to our attention an article in the New York Review of Books on Dominique Vivant Denon. It is quite interesting in spite of a few errors (the painter Jacques-Louis David did not enjoy “an excellent standing with the Jacobins”, he was one of the foremost Jacobins […]

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Renoir Chrysanthemums

Renoir’s Chrysanthemums

As I noted in last year’s post on All Souls’ Day, chrysanthemums in France are the flowers of the dead. This is a time to remember our departed loved ones, not only to mourn and pray for them, but also to express our gratitude for the all too brief moments spent with them in this […]

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Gustave Dore Cinderella

Perrault’s Cendrillon

About an excerpt of Charles Perrault’s Cendrillon, illustrated here by Gustave Doré? You know the story, of course. Cendrillon, morally abandoned by her father and treated as a servant by her stepmother, is crying her eyes out at home. Her stepsisters, in their best finery, are gone to the Prince’s ball. But Cendrillon’s godmother appears […]

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Marguerite Gerard Madame Ledoux and daughters

A follow-up on the Marguerite Gérard exhibition

Following my prior post on Marguerite Gérard, I wish to call your attention to this article in The Art Tribune on the current exhibition at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, In addition to Didier Rykner’s comments, always pertinent, you can admire more of Mademoiselle Gérard’s diminutive portraits, here that of Madame Ledoux and her daughters. Enjoy!

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Boilly Sorrows of Love

The Sorrows of Love, by Louis-Léopold Boilly

Boilly, during his long and life and career, was the unparalleled witness of everyday life in France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I used several of his paintings as direct inspirations for scenes of my second novel, For the King. I love his down-to-earth style, his sense of observation and humor. And of […]

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Marguerite Gerard exhibition

Marguerite Gérard, painter in 1789

Marguerite Gérard (1761-1837) is remembered, when she is remembered at all, as the sister-in-law, student and collaborator of the great Jean-Honoré Fragonard. She was also an extremely successful painter in her own right, to the point where her fame eclipsed that of her brother-in-law from the 1780s on. Then after her death Mademoiselle Gérard fell […]

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