The Shock of the New

By Robert Hughes

A superbly illustrated hundred-year background of recent artwork, from cubism to pop and avant-guard. greater than 250 colour images.

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His portray announces, ahead of anything, that it's not a unmarried second of imaginative and prescient: that it used to be no longer inbuilt an afternoon. los angeles Grande Jatte is very large, ten toes through approximately seven – the dimensions of a large public portray by means of David, Gros, or Delacroix, a ways larger than any Impressionist canvas. In it, the center class at play will get the ceremonious the Aristocracy of therapy that artwork as soon as reserved for gods and kings. you can still see why a few critics who observed it within the 1886 Salon des Indépendants both teased Seurat for hiding fact lower than a swarm of colored eas (the dots) or made enjoyable of his “Assyrian” gures. For he desired to paint the processional element of contemporary lifestyles – anything formal, rigorous, and ambitious, similar to the heroic dandyism that Charles Baudelaire had noticeable at the boulevards of Paris and written approximately thirty years ahead of. “I are looking to exhibit the moderns relocating approximately on friezes,” he declared, “stripped to their necessities, to put them in work prepared in harmonies of colors, in harmonies of traces, line and color tted to one another. ” a part of his idea for this used to be the paintings of the French artist Puvis de Chavannes (1824–98), whose frescoes nonetheless beautify the Pantheon in Paris; a painter of sober, idealized allegories all’antica. Puvis’s use of professional les and inflexible, formal poses, his chalky mild and analytic compositions, struck more youthful Paris artists as very “modern,” and his in uence will be visible in Renoir, Gauguin, Matisse, Maurice Denis, or even Blue interval Picasso, in addition to Seurat. In a few respects, l. a. Grande Jatte turns out to derive from Puvis’s Arcadian imaginative and prescient of the founding of Marseilles (plate 74). No ask yourself that Seurat’s good friend the critic Felix Fénéon may possibly describe los angeles Grande Jatte in those phrases: “… 40 or so individuals are invested with a hieratic and precis type, handled strictly from the again or in entrance or in professional le, sitting at correct angles, stretched out horizontally, rigidly upright: like a modernized Puvis. ” And so, in los angeles Grande Jatte, the imaginative and prescient of enjoyment takes at the gravity of history-painting. In developing this huge, intricate house, Seurat gave each element the measure of idea one could count on from Raphael or Piero della Francesca. it truly is associated jointly by means of rhymes and chords of form, a few of that are scarcely seen at rst. The. monkey’s tail emulates the hook of the dandy’s cane. the girl shing within the left foreground has a tiny dual within the a ways distance. The decorum of posture and gesture, the distances humans guard among each other on that eco-friendly abstracted garden of Paradise, are become the decorum of classical paintings itself: manners increased to aesthetics. tradition and nature play with each other, as they do within the Giorgione Fěte Champětre while the formal hat of the younger dandy echoes the traces of the villa at the back of him, whereas the uncouth mop-head of his rustic better half resembles the unpruned bushes. Seurat was once mildly ironical approximately his middle-class moderns. They go with the flow at the grass like tin toys on wheels, and appear to foretell the intense, mechanized absurdity that, 40 years later, could increase Charlie Chaplin’s mime to a excessive pitch of artwork.

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