Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Impressions

(Not the Alistair McGowan sort of impressions, by the way. Not even first impressions really.)

Caillebotte, Laundry Drying, Petit Gennevilliers. From here

I am not artistic in the slightest- I can't draw a realistic person to save my life, I can doodle an elephant if I must, and the number of times I have tried (and failed) to sketch something more interesting for my blog header is laughable. I just can't draw or paint. And I'm not an art buff by any stretch of the imagination- I can happily spend hours wandering around art galleries, but modern art leaves me cold (other than Kandinsky- I spent a solid half an hour staring at his Composition VII in the Hermitage in St Petersburgh). I know what I like, and for the most part that's things I sort of understand. And I love Impressionism.

Caillebotte, Les Raboteurs de Parquets. From here

I remember once, when I was probably about 7, my class and I were painting sunsets (I have no idea why). Now while everyone else in the class did your typical stripes of colour, I did splodges of all different colours all through the sky (this is really hard to explain but I promise it's going somewhere)- pinks, oranges, splodges of yellow and blue, and some navy to show that it was nearly night-time. And the class all laughed at me- but a teacher looked at it and said "No children, don't laugh- Alice's painting is like Impressionism" (for the record, it wasn't). 

Monet, Woman With A ParasolFrom here

So I went home, and asked Mama CupAndSaucer what Impressionism was. We looked it up in one of the encyclopaedias we seem to have in the house (being the days before the internet and all), and from then I was hooked.Put me in the Musée d’Orsay, with their wonderful Impressionist collection (and beautiful arched ceiling) and I am a girl enchanted. 

(Mostly because I hope I'll have a Blair Waldorf/ Prince Louis moment- but my Prince Louis won't turn out to be an absolute tool)
From here
I've studied Impressionism from any possible way that doesn't involve actually trying to paint like an Impressionist. For instance, I did an entire speech about Claude Monet and Impressionism for my AS-Level French oral (it went horribly, but the fact were there). In my first year of university I wrote on Impressionism and the Paris Commune- about how after the terrifying instances of the Commune, and how France was seen as a woman and suddenly women were les petroleuses who were terrifying and awful, painting traditional calm French women was a form of healing (or something like that). And how there were few paintings of people involved in the Commune or the Franco-Prussian War- except this one by Manet, who was pretty ballsy to say the least.

Manet, Rue Mosnier Decorated With Flags. See the one-legged man? From here

So yes. I love Impressionism. Particularly Caillebotte, who is one of my favourites and who is seriously unsung. But let's be honest- who doesn't love a Monet painting of some waterlilies?

Monet, Water Lilies. From here






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