In the Salon of 1822, Eugene Delacroix ( 1798-1863), exhibited a scene from the Divine Comedy. But there was nothing in this livid vision of Virgil and Dante in Hell very surprising to a public familiar with Caravaggio, and the Raft of the Medusa. It was not until two years later, before the Massacre of Scio, that the critics inveighed against the “massacre of painting”
Delacroix had, in fact, transformed his pictorial language in the interval; inspired by the English landscape painters he had loaded his palette with brilliant colours and illumined Gros’ robust impasto with the glint of Oriental tissues and the marble tints of putrefaction. This time, the work was frankly revolutionary; the young Romanticists rallied round Delacroix, and the struggle against the classical tradition began; no durable school resulted from it, but the consequences were such as to transform the very conception of art.
To these young Romanticists art was not the realisation of an abstract ideal, but the expression of an individual soul, and the more original the artist, the greater the value of his works. He should not fear to manifest his vigorous personality; on the contrary, he should defend it jealously against external influences, against all the forces that, by limiting his personality, tend to obscure his genius.
Romanticism was the revolt of sensitive faculties, hitherto disciplined by the play of definite ideas. Latent and irresponsible forces rose from unconscious depths to reject classical logic. For logic, with its fixed principles, is identical among all men; it has a sort of eternal existence, superior to the minds which successively exercise it; and the Romanticist affects to despise this faculty which makes individuals similar.
During the second half of the nineteenth century, scholars gradually supplanted poets in the general governance of minds. The Romanticist, Victor Hugo or Delacroix, like Narcissus bending over his fountain, only looked at Nature to see the reflection of himself. To him, the universe was but a storehouse of images on which he drew to give colour to his poetry. When these exuberant personalities had sobered down, reality appeared to them, and interested them.
The landscape painters had set the example; following in their wake, painters and sculptors, as well as writers, began to think that absolute exactitude was the true ambition of art; this submission to the object is a scientist’s virtue, and, indeed, Naturalism is the artistic form of the positive spirit.
During this period, the continuity of French life was interrupted by sudden revolutions. Artists were not, of course, unmoved by the agitations which keep us poised, as it were, between revolution and compression; but the convulsions of social fury did not disturb the radiant summits of art.
Architecture, which always expresses the general character of communities clearly, was at once very prolific, and somewhat lacking in originality; this seems to show that the general existence was not so unstable as it seemed to be, and that society had not yet evolved a new form of collective life. These abrupt changes were after all only a question of political régime, a battle of pure theory or of personal interest. Governments, whatever they are, must always have one and the same object, which is to aid in the increase of riches.
The conflicting movements which agitated superficial France must not be allowed to hide that deep current, the slow pressure of which nothing can resist. Every day, a rather larger number of men achieve a little ease, or in other words, a relative prosperity and an average intellectual culture. This was the great social event of the nineteenth century, and modern art was to manifest this indefinite enfranchisement of the middle classes after its fashion.
Vishnu is the Supreme God in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God.
The Vishnu Sahasranama declares Vishnu as Paramatma (supreme soul) and Parameshwara (supreme God). It describes Vishnu as the All-Pervading essence of all beings, the master of—and beyond—the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within. Vishnu governs the aspect of preservation and sustenance of the universe, so he is called ‘Preserver of the universe’.
In the Puranas, Vishnu is described as having the divine colour of water filled clouds, four-armed, holding a lotus, mace, conch (shankha) and chakra (wheel). Vishnu is also described in the Bhagavad Gita as having a ‘Universal Form’ (Vishvarupa) which is beyond the ordinary limits of human perception or imagination.
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Paul Cézanne was the boldest spirit in the circle of the Ecole de Batignolles that gathered round Manet. The essential principle among all of them was not color–this varied in every case–but flat painting as opposed to modelling in paint. In this Cézanne surpassed even the leader of the group. We may take it for granted that in periods of evolution the matter round which the efforts of all revolve will be fermenting at the same moment in individual minds, and that he who is most articulate will become the leader of the rest.
For this position Cézanne was in no sense fitted. He was a very reserved person; of the younger generation none ever saw him; artists who owe him everything never exchanged a word with him. His very existence has been doubted. Since his sojourn with Dr. Gachet he has never, as far as I know, left the South of France. He lives, I have heard, at Aix. Gachet describes him as the exact antithesis of Van Gogh, utterly incapable of formulating his purposes, absolutely unconscious, a bundle of instincts, which he was anxious not to dissipate.
The result with him was a purely sensuous form of art. He gave what he could and what he would, not a fraction more, and in external things not even so much as this. Occasionally he did not even trouble himself to cover over certain small blank spots on his pictures, and these are the despair of honest owners nowadays–others paint them over. But this superficial defect is really nothing more nor less than the frayed out corner of a splendid old tapestry. Sometimes, indeed, the whole tapestry is reduced to the warp. And even with this we cannot quarrel, for the fabric is always lovely, even when it shows but a few threads.
Cézanne’s whole character made for obscurity. It never occurred to him to sign his pictures, like Guys and Van Gogh; he never gave any sign of life beyond pictures, and these had to be taken from him almost by force. Small wonder, therefore, that he was an old man before it occurred to a few of his friends and compatriots to notice him. It is only for the last few years that he has begun to count at all in the art market.
Like Van Gogh, he owes this recognition to the little shop in the Rue Lafitte owned by Vollard, one of those remarkable dealers only produced by Paris, who are sometimes better connoisseurs, or, rather, have surer artistic instincts, than the connoisseurs themselves. The event that established his reputation was his friend Choquet’s sale at Petit’s in the summer of 1899. For three hot afternoons in the middle of the dead season, when there is not a soul in Paris, purchasers fought for his best things, collected by an oddity who had been laughed at as a madman a short time before.
Bettie Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008) was an American model who became famous in the 1950s for her fetish modeling and pin-up photos. She has often been called the “Queen of Pinups”. Her look, including her jet black hair, blue eyes and trademark bangs, has influenced many artists.
She was also “Miss January 1955” one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine. “I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society,” Playboy founder Hugh Hefner told the Associated Press.
Her later life was marked by depression, violent mood swings and several years in a state psychiatric hospital. In 1959, she converted to Christianity, and later worked for Billy Graham. After years of obscurity, she experienced a resurgence of popularity in the 1980s.
Nefertiti (c. 1370 BC – c. 1330 BC) was the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they started to worship one god only. This was Aten, or the sun disc.
Nefertiti had many titles; for example, at Karnak are inscriptions that read Heiress, Great of Favours, Possessed of Charm, Exuding Happiness, Mistress of Sweetness, Beloved One, Soothing the King’s Heart in His House, Soft-spoken in All, Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt, Great King’s Wife, Whom He Loves, Lady of the Two Lands, Nefertiti.
She was made famous by her bust, now in Berlin’s Neues Museum, shown to the right. The bust is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. It was attributed to the sculptor Thutmose, and it was found in his workshop. The bust is notable for exemplifying the understanding Ancient Egyptians had regarding realistic facial proportions. Some scholars believe that Nefertiti ruled briefly after her husband’s death and before the accession of Tutankhamun as Smenkhkare, although this identification is a matter of ongoing debate.
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By 1890, Paul Gauguin had conceived the project of making Tahiti his next artistic destination. A successful auction of paintings in Paris at the Hôtel Drouot in February 1891, along with other events such as a banquet and a benefit concert, provided the necessary funds. The auction had been greatly helped by a flattering review from Octave Mirbeau, courted by Gauguin through Camille Pissarro.
After visiting his wife and children in Copenhagen, for what turned out to be the last time, Gauguin set sail for Tahiti on 1 April 1891, promising to return a rich man and make a fresh start. His avowed intent was to escape European civilization and “everything that is artificial and conventional”. Nevertheless, he took care to take with him a collection of visual stimuli in the form of photographs, drawings and prints.
He spent the first three months in Papeete, the capital of the colony and already much influenced by French and European culture. His biographer Belinda Thomson observes that he must have been disappointed in his vision of a primitive idyll. He was unable to afford the pleasure-seeking life-style in Papeete, and an early attempt at a portrait, Suzanne Bambridge (fr), was not well liked. He decided to set up his studio in Mataiea, Papeari, some forty-five kilometres from Papeete, installing himself in a native-style bamboo hut. Here he executed paintings depicting Tahitian life such as Fatata te Miti (By the Sea) and Ia Orana Maria (ca) (Ave Maria), the latter to become his most prized Tahitian painting.
Many of his finest paintings date from this period. His first portrait of a Tahitian model is thought to be Vahine no te tiare (Woman with a Flower). The painting is notable for the care with which it delineates Polynesian features. He sent the painting to his patron George-Daniel de Monfreid, a friend of Schuffenecker, who was to become Gauguin’s devoted champion in Tahiti. By late summer 1892 this painting was being displayed at Goupil’s gallery in Paris. Art historian Nancy Mowll Mathews believes that Gauguin’s encounter with exotic sensuality in Tahiti, so evident in the painting, was by far the most important aspect of his sojourn there.
Gauguin was lent copies of Jacques-Antoine Moerenhout’s (fr) 1837 Voyage aux îles du Grand Océan and Edmond de Bovis’ (fr) 1855 État de la société tahitienne à l’arrivée des Européens, containing full accounts of Tahiti’s forgotten culture and religion. He was fascinated by the accounts of Arioi society and their god ‘Oro. Because these accounts contained no illustrations and the Tahitian models were in any case long disappeared, he could give free rein to his imagination. He executed some twenty paintings and a dozen woodcarvings over the next year. The first of these was Te aa no areois (The Seed of the Areoi), representing Oro’s terrestrial wife Vairaumati, now held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His illustrated notebook of the time, Ancien Culte Mahorie (it), is preserved in the Louvre and was published in facsimile form in 1951.
In all, Gauguin sent nine of his paintings to Monfreid in Paris. These were eventually exhibited in Copenhagen in a joint exhibition with the late Vincent van Gogh. Reports that they had been well received (though in fact only two of the Tahitian paintings were sold and his earlier paintings were unfavourably compared with van Gogh’s) were sufficiently encouraging for Gauguin to contemplate returning with some seventy others he had completed. He had in any case largely run out of funds, depending on a state grant for a free passage home. In addition he had some health problems diagnosed as heart problems by the local doctor, which Mathews suggests may have been the early signs of cardiovascular syphilis.
Gauguin later wrote a travelogue (first published 1901) titled Noa Noa (ca), originally conceived as commentary on his paintings and describing his experiences in Tahiti. Modern critics have suggested that the contents of the book were in part fantasized and plagiarized. In it he revealed that he had at this time taken a thirteen-year-old girl as native wife or vahine (the Tahitian word for “woman”), a marriage contracted in the course of a single afternoon. This was Teha’amana, called Tehura in the travelogue, who was pregnant by him by the end of summer 1892.[d] Teha’amana was the subject of several of Gauguin’s paintings, including Merahi metua no Tehamana and the celebrated Spirit of the Dead Watching, as well as a notable woodcarving Tehura now in the Musée d’Orsay.
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