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Friday, 16 August 2013


Intermission, part 9


The narrative began with Act 1, scene 1 on April 10, 2013.
To access all scenes, scroll to blog archive at the bottom of the page.

This intermission attempts to track the connected artistic 'lineage' of some influential painters, from the early 15th century to the present. To follow this thread and to see all images mentioned, 
go back to part 1 of this intermission.


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) has been acknowledged by some (both Matisse and Barnett Newman among them) as having an important role in the birth of abstract painting. Ingres sometimes took liberties with the natural appearance of his subjects, for instance exaggerating or moving into view bits of anatomy that otherwise would have remained hidden.

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, La Grande Odalisque, 1814


This kind of confident experimentation – an ancestor of Picasso's creative approach to anatomy – emboldened Edgar Degas, a particular admirer of Ingres' work, and Edouard Manet. 

Degas' The Tub, of 1886, with some objects cut off snap-shot style, by the edges of the painting, demonstrates the artist's interest in photography as well as his fascination with the idea of playing with spatial perceptions. The pitchers on the right are shown in full profile, whereas in a "natural" view, we would see them from slightly above, as we see the shelf and the female model. (The question of misogyny will be left for debate in a later posting.)

Edgar Degas, The Tub, 1886

Manet's Olympia is often seen as a re-interpretation, if not an homage to Ingres' earlier Odalisque.

Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863

But it is this revolutionary painting that particularly stunned the art-going public in that same year, 1863.

Edouard Manet, Le D√©jeuner sur l'herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), 1863

Manet holds a pre-eminent position among artists as a founding father of modern art. However, before continuing, I'd like to list the names of artists we have discussed to this point, as well as the others I consider to be part of this lineage, but who have not yet been mentioned here.

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Historically accurate anecdotes are especially welcome.