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Chapter 6

Neo-Classicism, Romanticism and Realism

Key Words and Phrases:
1. noble simplicity and quiet grandeur,高贵的单纯,静穆的伟大。 2. imagination and individual,想象力与个性化。 3. truth and beauty,真与美。 4. improvisation, 即兴创作。

In the late 1700's, Europe experienced another return to classicism neoclassicism, or new classicism. To leaders of the Enlightenment, Greek and Roman classicism represented the order and reason they strived for in European life. Especially in France, Jacques Louis David and Jean Auguste Ingres were the recognized leaders of the movement. Neoclassical painting was simple, balanced, and clear. It expressed the values of the coming period of revolution - values such as patriotism, duty, and sacrifice. Neo-Classicism is the name for the stylistic movement that began in Italy and England around the mid eighteenth century, developing fully during the last quarter of that century to reach its highest point at the turn of the century and in the years that followed, before going into a gradual decline after the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. It took as its aesthetic model the art of the ancient Greek and Roman world and its renaissance in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century humanism. Neo-Classicism was the last of the styles that were international, as all of the successors of Romanesque and Gothic had been, in the sense that it came to prominence almost simultaneously all over Europe and also in the United States, which, from the eighteenth century onward, could reasonably be regarded as an integral part of European culture. It made itself felt not only in architecture, painting and sculpture but, as happened with the Baroque and Rococo. A number of painters who were active in Rome during the first half of the eighteenth century are authoritatively regarded as precursors of Neo-Classicism, their paintings remain a product of eighteenth-century Roman Classicism; however, it also played a definite part in preparing the ground for the Neo-Classical revolution. What should be borne in mind is that the eighteenth century was the time when public enthusiasm was at its height for a literary genre that in our own time is perhaps the most often overlooked: tragedy. Taking its cue from the tragedies of the Grand siecle in France, everything of any importance that had happened in ancient times found

itself becoming the favourite subject for plays, as well as being held in great esteem in the new climate of moral and political regeneration, and even directing the attention of intellectuals to the world of antiquity. All of these ideas being distilled in the celebrated phrase that held that art should tend to a "noble simplicity and quiet grandeur." Winckelmann also said that art was no place for the representation of truth, but rather of the beautiful ideal, in other words, the bringing together of the many instances of beauty in nature, ideally united in a single, perfect form. These notions, which came to fruition over a long period during the second half of the eighteenth century, led in 1785 to the completion in Rome of the Oath of the Horatii by the French painter Jacques-Louis David, figure 1, a work that is thought to have triggered the Neo-Classical movement. This painting commemorates a courageous event from the days of ancient Rome when three brothers swore an oath, that they would either be victorious or die for their country. The architecture in the background, Doric columns without bases, surmounted by arches without cornices, was intended as a counterpoint to the resolution of the male figures, while the female figures are sunk in dejection.
1. Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784-5. Oil on canvas, about 4.27×3.35m. Louvre, Paris.

David's Oath of the Horatii was taken to Paris and shown at the Salon in 1785, where it met with enormous acclaim and was responsible for the emergence of a new school of painting that occupied center stage in the artistic life of the next thirty years and was often instrumental in portraying the Napoleonic era. David himself, who had during the turbulent period of the French Revolution professed some extremist ideas, including an endorsement of the notion that a revolutionary was a martyr of his own country and the victim of clerical fanaticism (see his painting The Murdered Marat in his Bath, figure 2) turned his attention, during the years of the Empire, to the celebrating of glorious Napoleonic events. He was commissioned to paint a vast canvas of Napoleon I's coronation, figure 3, and his portraits of the emperor and many of the dignitaries and ladies of his court were often magnificent.
2. Jacques-Louis David, The Murdered Marat in his Bath. 1793. Oil on canvas, 165×128.3cm. Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels. 3. Jacques-Louis David, The Coronation of Napoleon. Oil on canvas. 610×931 cm. 1805-1808. Musée du Louvre.

But none of them achieves the intensity of his portrait Madame R camier, figure 4, in which the art of the neo-Classical period reaches its high point. The background is a neutral green and was intentionally left unfinished - something David often did;

this colour was specially chosen to blend with the reddish-yellow of the exquisitely decorated chair. This is the setting for a beautiful woman to whom the artist gives a serene presence, but does not show any psychological insights about her. The sideways-on position of the chair, the three-quarters figure, and the frontal view of the woman's face combine to suggest a slow, interrupted movement and derives from the positions of figures painted on ancient vases This work by David celebrates the rebirth of Classical art regenerated and renewed after centuries of the evolution of art.
4. Jacques-Louis David, Portrait of Madame Récamier. Oil on canvas. 173 × 243 cm. 1800, Louvre, Paris.

The most dramatic episodes in this development took place in Paris. For it was Paris that became the artistic capital of Europe in the nineteenth century much as Florence had been in the fifteenth century and Rome in the seventeenth. Artists from all over the world came to Paris to study with the leading masters and, most of all, to join in the discussion about the nature of art, where the new conception of art was painfully hammered out. The leading conservative painter in the first half of the nineteenth century was Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. He had been a pupil and follower of David, and like him admired the heroic art of classical antiquity. In his teaching he insisted on the discipline of absolute precision in the life-class and despised improvisation. The Valpincon bather (figure 5) shows his own mastery in the rendering of forms and the cool clarity of his composition. It is easy to understand why many artists envied Ingres his technical assurance and respected his authority even where they disagreed with his views. But it is also easy to understand why his more passionate contemporaries found such smooth perfection unbearable, figure 6.
5. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Valpincon bather. 1808. Oil on canvas, 146×97.5cm. Louvre. 6. Ingres, Jupiter and Thetis. 1811. Oil on canvas, 328×253cm. Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, France.

The sculptor Antonio Canova lived at about the same lime as David and appears to have shared with him the absolute fundamentals of neo-Classical art, it is in Canova that the great flowering of neo-Classical sculpture had its source. Canova already enjoyed widespread fame at the time when David was working on his Horatii. Canova left behind him sacred works, tombs, fantasies from mythology, portraits, and even some painting, which seems to have been a hobby. Many of his sculptures became celebrated, such as the groups Eros and Psyche (figure 7), Venus and Adonis and Hercules and Lichas, the monumental portrait Napoleon the Warrior-Peacemaker, Venus, Hebe and, most famous of all, the sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte as Venus. Canova's pupils brought these works to a degree of finish that was faultless in order

that, unlike the sort of thing that happened in the Baroque, it would be impossible to detect in them any of those "happy chances" in which the artist has not decided what he is working toward, and his hand just happens to produce something worthwhile. Nothing prevents the light from playing on the surfaces of Canova's sculptures, and the skin of his figures (mainly nude, following the conventions of statuary in ancient times) is as perfectly smooth as their drapes.
7.Eros (Cupid) and Psyche, 1787-93. Marble, 1.55m high. Louvre, Paris.

In the mid-1700's, archeologists began to dig out the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which had been buried by a volcano. Discoveries there helped to inspire a new interest in classical styles of architecture. Neoclassical architects used simple forms, such as arches (figure 8), squares and circles, rather than the elaborate swirls of the baroque style of architecture.
8. Jean-Francois Chalgrin and others, Arc de Triomphe, Paris. 1806-36. Height 49.2m.

During the years which saw the unfolding of Romantic art, Europe was undergoing a political and social upheaval which was to be decisive for the development of nineteenth-century history: the course of the French Revolution, which ended with the Napoleonic adventure and then in 1815 the Restoration, the war between the Greeks and the Turks, the Nationalist movements in what were to become Italy and Germany, the first manifestations of modern class-consciousness.

In Mediterranean countries like France, Italy, and Spain, these forces were not represented in the same way as in the north - that is, by nature and by silent spectators of her landscapes - but instead adopted the more concrete forms of men and women, executions, battles, unbridled passions. The Spaniard Francisco Goya (1746-1828) covered the length of the road leading from the world of the Rococo to the collapse of the Napoleonic dream; from that faith in reason characteristic of the Age of Enlightenment to the consciousness of negative and irrational forces which act upon single men and whole peoples and which in the end are part of nature herself. There is a work belonging to the so-called "black period" during which the artist, deaf and alone, had retired to his country property, the House of the Deaf Man, leaving on its walls expressions of his fears, of that which he saw beneath the surface. In earlier years Goya had been the official painter to the king, a famous portraitist, designer of tapestries, etcher and lithographer. He had painted The Family of Charles IV (figure 9) with an irony worthy of Voltaire and with a sense of composition and colour which derived from Velázquez and Tiepolo; but what most caught his interest were the habits of daily life: the squares and courtyards where people gossip and chatter; the bullfights, as later were Picasso and Hemingway. Goya had seen the

ferment of irrational impulses, the ghostly forms of the unconscious, which rise to the surface in the engravings of the Caprichos (figure 10) and the Disparates (1819) in the form of owls, bats, lynxes, witless grimaces and gestures, half-human creatures. If Fuseli's basic suggestion had been that the shadowy regions and the inhabitants of our sleep are part of us, at times more inviting than the light of day. Goya, in the famous caprichos The Sleep of Reason Spawns Monsters, invites us not to lose our frail control of reason; indeed, only if the two coexist will it be true that "imagination is the mother of the arts."
9. Francisco Goya, The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Oil on canvas, 2.79 x 3.36m. Museo del Prado, Madrid. 10. Francisco Goya, The Sleep of Reason Spawns Monsters, No.43 from The Caprices. 1796-98. Etching and aquatint, 21.6x15.2cm. The Hispanic Society of America, New York.

In 1808 his sympathies for the liberal ideas of the French vanished in the wake of the invasion by Napoleon's troops. The Spanish fought back, and in 1814 Goya commemorated the death of his compatriots in The Execution of 3 May, figure 11. It emphasizes the weight of Goya's contribution to the evolution of nineteenth-century pictorial language. In the absence of precise outline the forms are not drawn but rather suggested, implied; we decipher the details - the eyes, the clothes - out of the mesh of brushwork, which is used not to describe figures but simply as a means of expression for the artist. Goya is the explorer of the lands of magic and sleep, of the collective delirium, of the "incubus full of mysteries," as Baudelaire calls it. But he is also the author of a kind of painting made up primarily of coloured matter which especially in his last years in exile in Bordeaux(1824-28) - concentrates on the relationships between areas of colour, the brightness of hues, atmospheric reflections, leaving behind him in France an inheritance which was to affect, above all, Edouard Manet.
11. Francisco Goya, The Execution of 3 May 1808, 1814. Oil on canvas, 2.6×3.45m. Prado, Madrid.

In the 1820s and 1830s, romantic painters like romantic writers, used subjects from the past and depicted episodes bursting with action and drama. John Constable(1776-1837) and J. M. W. Turner(1775-1851) in Great Britain, both landscape painters, reflected the romantic interest in nature, figure 12. Their works, had color and vitality, partly because they often went outdoors to paint instead of working in their studios, which were to have a certain influence on the twenty-six-year-old Delacroix, establishing a seed in France which would later be cultivated by the landscape painters of the Barbizon School.
12. John Constable. The Hay Wain. 1821. Oil on canvas, 51×73’ . The National Gallery, London.

In France, the stance which we have so far recognized as Romantic is embodied in the works of Géricault and his pupil Eugène Delacroix(1791-1863). The two great illusory renaissances - the Revolution and the Empire - had vanished, putting into motion mechanisms which were erratic in their attempts to propel the history of France. They unleashed unstoppable social and psychological energies which, paradoxically, sought space and order. Like a man dying of thirst, Géricault drew his subjects from the crudest parts of reality, visiting slaughterhouses, morgues, asylums, delving into the morbid events reported in newspaper, observing the devastating corporeal strength of wild animals. These themes would be reconstituted into paintings which reveal a strong compositional order, whether based on Michelangelo or Caravaggio, Titian or Rubens. In The Raft of the Medusa (1819), figure 13, his use of nude and half-clothed figures is evidence of the Classical framework which Gericault attempted to superimpose on the violent subject matter of his paintings and of his inspiration. Overwhelmingly attracted by the clashes between individuals, he investigated their various forms in journeys which in England (where he exhibited The Raft) led him to observe the human debris of industrial London, then to plan a huge composition on the theme of the black slave trade, and lastly, in his final years in Paris, to paint the series of lunatics. Gericault focused, with new and lucid insight, on that quality of madness exuded by Goya's mass scenes and visible in the haunted looks of some of Fuseli's figures, figure 14. The heroic tone of his work, which lent his subject matter, however brutal, an epic dimension, gave way to the depiction of the "reality" of things. The artist no longer gave imaginary shape to forms of madness but allowed the disturbed inner worlds of these sick people to permeate through the very flesh of their faces - precisely what we see when we "clinically" observe the world.
13. Géricault. The Raft of the Medusa. 1818-19. Oil on canvas. The Louvre, Paris. 14. John Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare. Oil on canvas. 101.6×127 cm. 1781. Institute of Fine Arts, Detroit.

Eugene Delacroix, made his debut in the Salon of 1822 with Dante and Virgil Crossing the Styx, figure 15, a variation on the theme of The Raft of the Medusa, passed through the screen of literary inheritance, which the artist always felt should play an important role in the figurative process; referring now to Dante and Shakespeare, now to Byron or Sir Walter Scott. Until 1830 he confined himself to historical subjects, choosing episodes from contemporary conflicts. The war between the Greeks and the Turks, which had inflamed the spirits of European intellectuals, united them in a philhellenic movement which involved Victor Hugo and Byron (who was to die in 1824 in Greece) and provided the inspiration for the Massacre at Chios(figure 16): the objects in the foreground, the garments and the faces of the

figures, which also reveal a strong attraction toward the exotic (this would become a constant element in French painterly sensibility, from Gauguin to Matisse).
15. Delacroix, Dante and Virgil Crossing the Styx. 1822. Oil on Canvas. Louvre. 16. The Massacre at Chios. 1822-24. Oil on canvas, 4.22×3.53m. Louvre.

They are also ambiguous images subject to pressure in the direction: toward the ideals of liberty, passion, and death - which is a determining factor for the composition - and toward the reality of the objects embodied in these ideals. The same is true in Liberty Leading the People (1830), figure 17; in fact the barricade and the gun-toting Parisians are dominated by the female figure of Liberty bearing a flag, which is, one might say, an apparition in the flesh. It is a kind of allegorical personification inserted into a painting which is in many ways a Realist painting, an allegory which is made real whilst reality itself is made sublime, so that the overall effect is, once again, the result of this double tension between the stylistic and the ideological. Moreover, the movement which we call Realism is not something which suddenly emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century but is an attitude which was born "from the rib" of Romantic art, which focused on the outer shell of the conflict between the artist and the external world.
17. Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People. Canvas. 325 × 260 cm. 1830. Louvre.

Delacroix's journey to Morocco in 1832 physically allowed him to reach that exotic world of which he had sung as a faraway land and which he had read about and imagined in Byron's Sardanapalus, figure 18. In North Africa Delacroix filled notebooks full of sketches of wild Arab horses, odalisques and sultans and intensified the warm colours of his palette. On his return to France he transformed these sketches into paintings such as The Women of Algiers, figure 19.
18. Delacroix, La mort de Sardanapale. 392 × 496 cm. 1827. Louvre. 19. Delacroix, The Women of Algiers .1834. Oil on canvas, 1.8×2.29m. Louvre.

Delacroix belonged to the long line of great revolutionaries produced in the country of revolutions. He himself was a complex character with wide and varied sympathies, and his beautiful diaries show that he would not have enjoyed being typed as the fanatical rebel. If he was cast in this role it was because he could not accept the standards of the Academy. He had no patience with all the talk about the Greeks and Romans, with the insistence on correct drawing, and the constant imitation of classical statues. He believed that, in painting, colour was much more important than draughtsmanship, and imagination than knowledge. The powerful and emotional surge of Romanticism is evident in the enormous

high-relief sculpture, by Francois Rude, that decorates one of the piers of the Arc de Triomphe. An angry and determined figure representing the Genius of Liberty urges the people forward with a vigorous right-to-left movement. Despite the specific title, Rude depicts the soldiers in classical nudity or wearing ancient armor to express a universal theme - humanity’s fight for liberty, figure 20.
20. Francois Rude, The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792. (popularly known as “La Marseillaise”). 1833-36. Limestone, height about 42’. Arc de Triomphe, Paris.

As architectural sculpture. The Dance, figure 21, by Carpeaux, is part of a tradition that includes the Parthenon and Gothic cathedrals. Charles Garnier designed the Opera (figure 22) with large reliefs by the main entrances representing the various arts. Carpeaux, however, went beyond Garnier's intention, making his figures virtually freestanding, an effect further enhanced by their energetic movement. The winged male allegory of Dance leaps upward and outward, while the smiling female nudes encircle him, moving outward into our space in a dance.
21. Carpeaux, The Dance. 1867-68. Plaster, height approx 7.1m. Musée de L’opera, Paris. 22. Charles Garnier, The Opera, Paris. Second Empire Italianate Neo-Renaissance/ Baroque style. 1861-75. Commissioned by Emperor Napoleon II as one of the focal points for his rebuilding of the center of Paris.

A new attitude to nature was expressed in German art, by the romantic pantheism of Philipp Otto Runge and especially in the withdrawn landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich. Friedrich often encourages a quiet meditation before nature, as in his Abbey in an Oak Forest, figure 23, in which a funeral procession of monks is moving slowly past the ruins of a Gothic structure. The barren, skeletal branches of the towering oak trees, their linear patterns echoing the window tracery of the Gothic ruins, are set against the somber, leaden sky, suggesting the void of death. Friedrich has captured one of the moods of nature, filling it with melancholy by the addition of the procession. Winter and time have blanketed nature and the product of human endeavors. Friedrich and other nineteenth-century landscape artists sought to communicate the grandeur of nature and to thus inspire an almost religious reverence. Friedrich's work is symbolic, but is more remarkable for its imaginative depiction of an arctic scene. Nature is seen more passively than with Turner, but again mankind dwindles before it into insignificance: seeming merely a spectator of its moods, though once more it is human mood which colours the landscape.
23. Caspar David Friedrich. Abbey in an OakForest. 1809-10. Oil on canvas. Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin.

In Britain, the poet and artist William Blake. Blake's revulsion from the art of the

eighteenth century, and his loathing of Reynolds, were inevitable. His own deeply visionary nature resulted in poems and pictures (often water-colour drawings) of almost private significance. Here the artist is not concerned with fashionable portraiture; Blake preferred to paint 'The Ghost of a Flea.' He turned in on his mystical imagination and sought to express his own concept of Ancient of Days (figure 24) or Satan arousing the rebel Angels with a hallucinatory intensity itself repugnant to the 'nothing too much' philosophy of many of his contemporaries. Blake lived and died poor. He stood outside everything usually called 'society', being too honest for it and too occupied as a creator.
24. William Blake, Ancient of Days. Etching or watercolour,23.3 x 16.8 cm. 1794. British Museum, London.

Later in the nineteenth century, while European art was opening its doors to new onslaughts of the imagination and further projections of the unconscious, the drive toward Realism returned in the works of the Swiss painter Arnold B?cklin (1827-1901), a late Romantic who, in a certain sense, closed the cycle of this journey from Romanticism to Realism. In him the Classical world, far from being a formal model, has become the psychological substance of his work, figure 25; the figures from Greek mythology, now physical beings, take part in a present-day archetypal drama which is reflected onto the landscape with forms identical to those used by Friedrich - looking toward the horizon - set in artificial surroundings, such as a theater, in which each detail is nevertheless physically true, as in reality. Which reality it is reflecting, an inner or an outer one, is no longer of consequence.
25. Arnold B?cklin, Die Kapelle, oil on canvas, 95 x 70 cm.1898.

Romanticism in architecture expressed itself first in the so-called Gothic revival of the mid-1800's. This was an attempt to recreate a great period of the past. The British Houses of Parliament, figure 26. American churches and college buildings, and other public structures were built in the Gothic style.
26. Charles Barry & A.Welby Pugin, Houses of Parliament, London. 1835.

In the United States, the Greek style was gradually supplanted in popularity by the Gothic Revival style. The house by Alexander Jackson Davis in New Bedford, Massachusetts, figure 27, is decorated with the architectural vocabulary invented in the later Middle Ages for the great French Gothic cathedrals. The scalloped decoration along the eaves and the lacy patterns of the porch posts - cut from wood - are an American version of the gilded ornamentation on a medieval Gothic reliquary. The widespread popularity of this “carpenter” Gothic movement and other revival styles can be explained in part by the cheap pattern books produced by architects and publishers that brought such fantasy within the range of every pioneer with a saw.

27. Alexander Jackson Davis, House for William Rotch, New Bedford, Massachusetts. 1845. Commissioned by William J.Rotch.

The Romantic affirmation of the artist himself as subject matter had opened up to painting the inner world of the imagination and of individual mythology and symbolism. This exploration of new territories, hidden behind the veil of traditional representation, had not only produced the turbulent visions of Turner (figure 28) or the physical metamorphoses of Goya but had often also taken place through an immersion in reality, which had brought to the fore the disconcertingly physical presence of objects, whether the decapitated heads of Gericault, the flesh of Goya's majas, Constable's trees, or Delacroix's tigers.
28. Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Slave Ship. 1840. Oil on canvas. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

So elements of Realism had already flourished in the wake of Romantic experience, whilst during the first half of the century cultural and scientific reflection had focused more and more intently upon reality, on that world of phenomena which occurs before man's eyes; no longer seeking, as did Runge, to join in a mystic unity with the spirit of the cosmos but, having taken stock of man's separation, using this very thing as a positive means of knowledge. The yearning for the synthesis of nature and the "self" or for the creation of new forms which would express the "discovery" of the unconscious became weaker as it was realized that the artist himself was the focal point of artistic experiences: that it was his schemes of perception, his psychological make-up and his means of expression which were the true parameters of worth and truth in modern art. Thus between 1830 and 1848 the desire to capture the world around us grew and its representation acquired meaning through contact with the individual personality of the artist. This was a general movement in the figurative arts and in science throughout Europe and America, which spread a positivistic spirit of observation into literature - one need only look at the objective language of the Goncourt brothers, at the coincidence of character and author proclaimed by Flaubert, and at the affirmation of the physical presence of the "self" in Walt Whitman's poetry. Once again the sphere of mythical and religious subjects, of allegorical compositions, is pushed away from the horizons of art, so that what one sees and the manner in which this is translated into forms is the repository not only of one's self but of that principle of truth which is not understood as an objective absolute but comes to fruition and is refined in the meeting of language and experience. Thus the French artist Corot, active for many years in Italy, was moved by a Romantic

sensibility to nature, not loading it with cosmic symbolism but transforming it into an investigation, an attentive record of variations of the psyche and the retina, which corresponded in his painting to variations in light and form. He was not a painter of sublime landscapes, nor a view-painter belonging to the eighteenth-century tradition, but an artist who transposed a portion of nature, casually, as it fell before his eyes, figure 29.
29. Corot, Remembering to Mortefontaine. 1864. 65 × 89 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

In painting, the kind of realism that portrayed people and everyday life in the industrial age characterized the works of the French artists Gustave Courbet and Honoré Daumier. The works of Honore Daumier, engraver, lithographer, sculptor, and collaborator in satirical newspapers, contained the iconography of modern times. He observed nocturnal streets, theaters, circuses, promenaders, shop windows and fairs, people sitting in their local cafes gambling with ferocious concentration - people in whom Baudelaire saw the epic dimension of the contemporary epoch, people who would strike C zanne and Van Gogh with equal power. Side by side with the forms of theater-land, Daumier represented images of class warfare, bearing witness to repressions and massacres, ridiculing judges and politicians, ministers and rulers. But Daumier also captured the double face of the modern mob, and if in Third-class Carriage (figure 30) he shows the dreary lot of this new third estate. Stylistically, Daumier, who is mainly a graphic artist, makes an efficacious use of colour which tends toward the monochrome, a swift and synthetic stroke to abbreviate forms, which he then exaggerates in ways which were to become typical of Expressionism.
30. Honoré Daumier, Third-Class Carriage. c. 1862. Oil on Canvas, 65.4 x 90.2cm. The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

If Daumier leaves us with his reporter's notebook on the spectacle of modern society, Gustave Courbet encapsulated that same reality, with all its tensions, in a loftier and much more self-conscious art form. He was a committed artist, well acquainted with the current socialist anarchic ideas of Fourier and Proudhon (who in 1865, taking Courbet's art as his model, wrote On the Principle of Art and Its Social Purpose and retained his convictions throughout his life, Courbet paying dearly for them with exile in his final years to Switzerland). Courbet's painting is based on the study of Rembrandt, Hals, Van Dyck. and Velásquez, from whom he learned his sense of colour and light and the almost physical presence of his figures, figure 31 .
31. Gustave Courbet, The Stone Breakers. 1849. Oil on canvas, 158 x 255cm. Formerly Dresden (destroyed in 1945).

The stone breakers he met along the road wholly occupy the foreground of the

vast canvas of 1849, while his grandfather's funeral at Ornans is celebrated in a broad composition, it depicts an entire section of French provincial society, from clerics to women, with the dignity and emphasis associated with historical painting. Thus, one hears echoes of Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine, figure 32, in which the two country girls and their physical torpor adopted the pose of Classical figures.
32. Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine. 1857. Oil on canvas. Musée du Petit Palais, Paris.

Rejected at the Universal Exhibition of 1855. Courbet was responsible for gathering together the "Pavilion of Realism." in which he exhibited the Funeral at Ornans and The Artist's Studio, figure 33, a complex painting which depicts - on the left - the real-life figures to be portrayed in the painting, and - on the right - the group of friends, amongst them Proudhon, Baudelaire and Champfleury, who participated, each in his own way, in the affirmation of Realism as the movement which overcame the clash between the Classic and the Romantic, through the physical emphasis of the reality of objects, of the present, of the self. In his subsequent years Courbet continued to explore reality, dedicating himself to animals, which had always occupied an important place in his canvases, to flowers, still lifes, and marine scenes.
33. G.Courbet, The Artist’s Studio. A Real-life Allegory, which is a Resume of Seven Years of my Moral and Artistic Life. 1855. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Realism as an interest in things close at hand - whether the poor of the suburbs, the leaves in a garden, or the pet dog - as an exploration of a method of reproduction which would make these things real in ways other than photography, which was beginning to leave its mark on aesthetic taste, had already asserted itself. And in this sense it runs throughout the nineteenth century, becoming a psychological category of both perception and interpretation from which one cannot stand apart and which one finds in the works of Jean Francois Millet, figure 34.
34. Jean-Francois Millet, The Angelus. 1858-59. Oil on canvas, 55.5×66cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Millet not only rejected the popular romanticized style of his day - the 1850's and 1860's - but also used peasants and workers as his subjects. Gleaners are the poorest peasants, who gather the leavings from a field after reaping; here they appear noble and dignified. That The Gleaners (figure 35) seems sentimental and idealized today is evidence of constantly changing tastes and values in art.
35. Jean-Francois Millet, The Gleaners. 1857. Oil on canvas, 83.8×111.8cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Following the French lead, artists of other Western European nations also

embraced naturalism and realism in the period after 1850. The works of the Pre-Raphaelites William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and then Edward Burne-Jones, attracted through their ethics toward a truthful representation of nature, inspecting it as though with a magnifying glass; at times using techniques and methods adapted from miniature painting, at others carrying out a dialogue with photography, thus establishing a world of emotional nuances, which borrowed from literature, spellbound admiration, the imagination, fairytale-making, and reality, figure 36.
36. J.E. Millais, The Blind Girl. 1856. Canvas. City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham.

The motto of the Realists - one must be of one's own time - was in origin a Romantic idea, the counterpart of the new sense of history or historicism. Justifying a rejection of superficially Romantic themes, it encouraged artists and writers to select unpicturesque, unconventional and sometimes sordid subject-matter. But this did not necessarily involve any break with the past in the manner of painting as sharp as that made by Courbet, nor did it inevitably imply a rebellious attitude towards the social system. The picture of an iron rolling-mill by the German painter Adolf von Menzel is a case in point Menzel's sympathy with the spirit of the 1848 revolution is commemorated in his unfinished painting of the funeral of those killed in the March uprising in Berlin. Despite the industrial subject, the Iron Rolling-Mill (figure 37) is painted with the same studied accuracy of detail, the same virtuoso command of oil paint and the same ability in organizing large figurative compositions to give an impression of spontaneity. It is a highly dramatic and at the same time realistic celebration of what Menzel called the 'Cyclopean world of modern engineering', a description of, rather than a comment on, man's relationship with the machine.
37. Iron Rolling-Mill. 1875. Oil on canvas, 1.58×2.54m. Staaliche Museum, Berlin.

Wilhelm Leibl was a fairly conventional academician until Courbet's visit in 1869 to the Munich International Exhibition. Inspired by Courbet's work, and on his advice, Leibl went to Paris to familiarize himself with its naturalist currents. After Leibl's return to Germany he lived in Munich for several years before moving to rural Bavaria, in southern Germany, where he dedicated himself to peasant subjects. Leibl's best-known painting is Three Women in a Village Church, figure 38, which was based on countless sittings by villagers he used as models. The work features a young woman, whose fresh beauty stands in sharp contrast to the weathered faces of the women next to her. The contrast is emphasized by the different backgrounds behind the older women and the young woman. The work is more than a reverie on youthful beauty, however. It also extols the conservative customs and values of these peasants. Carrying on the practices of her elders, the young woman

manifests the enduring strength of her culture, also embodied in the traditional dress and ardent piety of the three women. Even the elaborately carved pews, which seem to date from the Baroque period, suggest a faithfulness to the past. The scene is rendered with a minute care that owes more to the example of Hans Holbein (figure 39) and Jan Vermeer than to that of Courbet.
38. Wilhelm Leibl, Three Women in a Village Church. 1878-81. Oil on canvas, 73.7×63.5cm. Kunsthalle, Hamburg. 39. Hans Holbein, Erasmus. 1523. Oil on wood, 43×33cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

In Russia a realist movement was launched with the publication in St Petersburg in 1855 of an essay by Nikolai Chernyshevskii entitled The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality, demanding that the arts concern themselves with current social and moral problems. This involved style as well as content for, he wrote, 'a work of art must contain as little of the abstract as possible; everything must be expressed concretely in living scenes and individual images'. An outspoken critic of the autocratic Czarist regime, he was sentenced to hard labour in Siberia but managed to write a novel, What Is To Be Done?, which circulated clandestinely and inspired a generation of artists during the following decades of revolutionary terrorism and government repression. Russian painting of the nineteenth century, like Russian literature of the same era, is singularly original and unprecedented. The essential, distinctive features of this period’s painting are its deeply penetrating identification with the life of the people and its carefully postulated tenets on realism, a realism that exposed the unjust elements of society’s hierarchy but also affirmed the plenitude and beauty of the world and the human condition. The highest achievements in Russian painting in the late 1800s are connected with the work of the artists affiliated with the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions [the Circle of the Itinerants], the largest organization of its kind and the only alliance of Russian artists in the nineteenth century. It would be no exaggeration to say that the history of Russian painting of that time was the history of the Itinerants; the history of the Itinerants was the history and future of Russian realism. The Circle of the Itinerants and their exhibitions date from 1870. A group of young, realist painters from Moscow and Petersburg developed tenets for the new brotherhood and in 1871 organized its first traveling exhibition of works by member artists. These traveling exhibitions were consistently mounted in Moscow and Petersburg, as well as in a number of other cities in Russia, such as Kiev, Odessa, and Riga. As the Itinerants' understood their stated objective - "to serve the serious interests

of the people" - they were free from narrow-mindedness. Far from limiting their art solely to the portrayal of scenes from the common man's life, they realized that their tableaus would not be complete without the depiction of the contemporary man whose inner world was perturbed, a man "living in the age of newspapers and issues," as Kramskoi said. Portraits, always one of the most popular types of art in Russia, became the leading genre of the 1870s and 1880s. Almost every major artist of those years painted portraits: Perov, Kramskoi (figure 40), Repin, and Surikov, among others.
40. Ivan Kramskoi , Unknown Woman. 1883. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Landscape paintings genuinely fascinated the Russian realist artists of the late nineteenth century. Through them, artists recognized the look of their native land and its importance to the people and their way of life. In this way, the Itinerants' landscapes directly related to their paintings of genre scenes. Even when the landscapes do not actually include people, human presence is nearly always felt in them. Here is nature inhabited by man, mastered and changed by his labors. Inasmuch as the subject of the Itinerants' works was "native and familiar nature," figure 41, their landscapes assumed a lyrical "expression" about the fate of one’s country and its people.
41. Ivan Shishkin, Pine Trees in Sunlight. Oil on canvas, 102×70.2cm. 1886. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

The landscapes of the 1870s and 1880s clearly reveal two fundamental tendencies - a lyrical, poetic line, and a more objective strain. The "forester" Ivan Shishkin aspired to a greater objectivity in his presentations of landscape imagery. At the apogee of Russian landscape painting of the second half of the nineteenth century stands the work of Isaak Levitan, who belongs to the younger generation of Itinerants. Levitan's paintings present the manifestations of nature in a variety and richness not seen before in Russian art. Nature harmonizes with the human soul. His landscapes portray nature just as they express the subtle conditions of man's psyche. His landscapes often include a hidden psychological message, figure 42, and in that sense Levitan's art approaches the creative manner of his close friend, Chekhov.
42. Isaak Levitan, Silence. Oil on canvas, 96×128cm. 1898. The State Russian Museum, Leningrad.

The powerful development of democratic and realist tendencies in Russian painting between 1860 and 1870 prepared the way for the flourishing of the Itinerants' art and the activity of the most famous masters of the 1880s, Repin and Surikov. Their work gave the Itinerants' realism its long-awaited union of "truth" and "beauty."

Ilya Repin, the central figure of Russian art during the last quarter of the nine teenth century, was an artist exceptionally gifted in painting and was perhaps the most talented of the Itinerants, working in almost every genre. Besides the paintings on themes from his contemporary Russian society mentioned above, Repin also created a series of significant historical compositions, as well as many portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. Perhaps his favorite genre was portraiture, for there his main creative gifts were revealed with particular brilliance: his insatiable love of and avid curiosity about life, his interest in and attention to man, and his capacity to recognize the uniqueness of each person's inner world and to find repeatedly artistic devices capable of recreating that world, evidenced by Portrait of the Pianist, Conductor, and Composer, A. G. Rubinstein; Portraitof Vera Repina; and Portrait of Semenov-Tian-Shanskii. More than his fellow artists, Repin comprehended the aesthetic objectives of contemporary European art. Repin's influence on Russian art was enormous.
43. Repin, They Did Not Expect Him. 1884. Canvas, 1.61×1.68m. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Repin turned his attention to revolutionary subjects at the time of the mass arrests of Populists in the 1870s, painting works with such titles as The Arrest of a Propagandist, Revolutionary Meeting and Revolutionary Woman Awaiting Execution which were, however, too explicitly political to be exhibited. So they failed to carry their message beyond his studio. Although not an active revolutionary, he recognized that 'all the slavery, the merciless punishment, the arbitrariness of power call torth such horrible opposition and such horrifying events' as the assassination of the Czar Alexander II in 1881. In a letter to a friend in 1883 he remarked: 'With all my meagre strength I strive to embody my ideas in truth. The life around me upsets me too much; it gives me no rest, but demands the canvas. Reality is too shocking to allow one to embroider its patterns peacefully, like a well-bred young lady.' At the time he was beginning work on his large-painting They Did Not Expect Him, figure 43, which he showed in 1884.
43. Repin, They Did Not Expect Him. 1884. Canvas, 1.61×1.68m. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Among politically motivated realist pictures this work is unusual in the calculated obliqueness of its approach. It shows an obviously middle-class interior rendered in great detail, quite neutrally, including a maidservant wearing an apron. The man with haggard features whose return is unexpected is one of the Populists imprisoned or exiled to Siberia but amnestied by Alexander III, whose police concentrated on rounding up more potentially violent revolutionaries. On the wall there is a portrait of a Populist writer who had collaborated with Chernyshevskii. But there is also a photograph of Alexander II which suggests that the exile's family had remained loyal to the Czar while he had followed Bakunin's demand to 'stifle all tender feelings of family life, of friendship, love and gratitude ... by a single cold

passion for the revolutionary cause'. Repin focused on the moral problem confronted by revolutionaries whose activities could endanger their families as well as themselves, figure 44. Although he had been in sympathy with the Populists he was by this date politically a moderate, a friend of the great advocate of passive resistance, the thinker, social reformer and novelist Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, figure 45.
44. Repin, Bargehauliers on the Volga. 1870-73.Oil on canvas, 1.3×2.81m. Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg. 45. Repin, Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy.1887. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

In contrast to Repin, an artist who was intimately connected to contemporary life, Surikov was above all else an historian, the greatest of the Russian masters of history painting, and the best in expressing the concepts of the new realist historicism. His works presented history as a reality that could not be doubted or altered. Surikov had a gift for representing past events as if he had witnessed or participated in them. In this, Surikov's point of departure was not his archaeology but rather his powerful, creative-imagination, his vivid and immediate vision of the past. Surikov was particularly interested in the sudden, critical moments in Russian history. His best paintings, such as The Boyarina Morozova (figure 46) and The Morning of the Execution of the Streltsi in the State Tretyakov Gallery, were devoted to events in the seventeenth century, the time of many rebellions and mass revolts.
46. Surikov, The Boyarina Morozova. 1887. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Indeed, Surikov viewed an historical event not through the eyes of a particular person, no matter the importance of that person, but through the eyes of the people, who were always the central, genuine heroes of the artist's works. His paintings, temperamental and powerful, were alien to documentary archaeology or to illusory imitations of antiquity. Surikov's sense of poetic, expressive details from the costumes and lives of the people linked the Itinerants' realism with the creative searchings conducted by the next generation of artists. The majority of artists of the Moscow school were young Itinerants greatly influenced by Polenov and Levitan. As a rule, these Itinerants began practicing a type of plein air painting that approached Impressionism, and they ultimately developed their own style, which was marked by a combination of certain impressionistic devices with distinctive decoration. Many Itinerants preferred broad, free brushstrokes and bright paintings saturated with color. Toward the beginning of the 1900s, the majority of the plein air artists severed their ties with the Circle, although they remained true to the end of their days to the general realist and democratic traditions of the late nineteenth century. The human mind is celebrated in works of the uncompromising American

naturalist of the era, Winslow Homer. His works were full of dramatic and serious themes involving the heroic human struggle against natural adversity. During his stay in England, he was particularly impressed with the breeches buoy, a mechanical apparatus developed by the British to rescue those aboard foundering ships. Homer spent part of the summer of 1883 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, because the lifesaving crew there had imported one of the new devices. He had the crew demonstrate its use while he made sketches, from which he painted The Life Line (figure 47) early the following year on the roof of his New York tenement. The painting is a testament not simply to human bravery but to its ingenuity as well.
47. Winslow Homer, The Life Line. 1884. Oil on canvas, 73×113.3cm. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

1. How about your opinions on the Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David? 2. Please conclude the artistic achievements of Francisco Goya and Eugene Delacroix. 3. Analyse the work The Artist’s Studio by Gustave Courbet.


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