The Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary Decade that Gave

The Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary Decade that Gave



10 thoughts on “The Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism

  1. AC AC says:

    This review MAY contain a spoiler I'm not sure it's hard for me to tellIt has taken me uite a while to write this review I wasn't sure why I thought maybe I was just being busy or just being lazy; but I think the reason is deeper than that Anyway this is what I originally wrote and didn't post when I finished the bookThis was the perfect book for me I knew just enough to profit from this informed and intelligent review of the roots of Impressionism and this fascinating history of the Second Empire the Franco Prussian War the Siege of Paris the Commune and its aftermath but not enough to be troubled by the limitations inherent in what is I assume merely a book for the general reader I've learned an enormous amount about the history of 19th century French painting however and recommend the book highly It's a great readThere are some nuances and complexities howeverI had expected this to be a book written in celebration of Manet though in truth King does not as I read it at least have all that high an opinion of Manet as an artist In fact throughout much of the book it is Ernest Messonier who starts out simply as a foil for Manet who appears to be the hero But by the end the catastrophe of Messonier's Friedland the painting so perfect in every minute detail the painting which took 10 years to paint was yet a total failure PRECISELY because with his preoccupation with the parts he couldn't capture the sense of motion in the whole In point of fact King's book is in many ways less about the birth of the new of the 'modern' of Impressionism than it is an elegy for a lost empire and a testimonial to the fugitive and meretricious grandeur of the Second EmpireBut this is what I think I should have written insteadThis is not a book about Impressionism but about the Second Empire and about the death of French Academic art and indeed of an entire way of life The period of Louis Napoleon is key to an understanding the roots and structure of 'modernity' Napoleon III was the first modern authoritarian he ruled by cooption and Spectacle rather than by force In that sense Marx was absolutely right to focus on him The 18th Brumaire and to see in him the initial note and prelude to what later we would call fascist authoritarianism or at least one aspect of fascismhttpwwwSpectacular Polnot a book I have read or am recommending but the title is significant is often said correctly that in 1914 no one could have imagined what the world would look like four years hence It's just as true that no one in 1867 after nearly 20 years of Louis Napoleon and his Regeanesue prosperity and Haussmannization that no one could have imagined what would happen to Paris within a mere 4 yearsMonet's Garden of the Princess 1867Messonier's Ruins of the Tuileries 1871Indeed Sedan and its aftermath was perhaps the first truly modern catastrophe afterwards nothing has uite been the same has it? One might say that the Second Empire meretricious though it was was the final dance of that aging debutante known as l'ancien regimeWell that's not uite right either so I give up At any rate this book got me thinking that's for sure


  2. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    The Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism is a good book but I would not recommend it to everyone It is dense It is chockfull of details and in parts excessively so the information at times verging on gossip A uarter of the way through I was about to dump it for this very reason A discussion of Empress Charlotte’s panties and the mistresses of Second Empire dignitaries annoyed me In the discussion of paintings I uestioned the similarities drawn between the poses of figures in Manet’s Le Bain Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe and Rafael’s The Judgment of Paris I’m stubborn and so I continued On completion I was glad I hadn’t given up There is a lot of miscellanea concerning history and art that is interesting This book is as much about history as it is about art It is about the birth of impressionism in an historical context than the art form itself Techniues and methods employed are only brushed upon We meet Manet Courbet Pissarro Degas Siseley Whistler Cezanne Monet and We are told of their paintings and their frustration when their works failed to be accepted by the annual and then biennial Salons de Paris the official art exhibitions of the Académie des Beaux Arts We meet Comte de Nieuwerkerke who for much of the time between 1863 and 1874 set the rules for these shows It is this decade the book focuses upon We are given a year by year account detailing who sat on the juries how the juries were chosen which paining were accepted to the respective exhibitions even down to where on the walls the paintings were hung In desperation the artists refused demanded alternative exhibitions Impressionism grew from a revolt against earlier aesthetic criteria and the restrictive regulations of the Salons de Paris Initially without recognition at these exhibitions an artist was doomed to obscurity and the artists had families to support The Salons de Paris did not occur in a vacuum and thus historical events need be related too During the period 1863 to1874 we see the Franco Prussian War the Siege of Paris the failed Commune the fall of Louis Napoleon and the Second Empire To understand how impressionism came to be one must understand French history If you are not interested in history don’t read this book The book has two titles One is as given above The other is The Judgement of Paris Manet Meissonier and An Artistic Revolution While the book covers many many artists of the decade the author focuses primarily on Édouard Manet 1832 – 1883 and Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier 1815 1891 two polar opposites Meissonier was a French classicist painter known for his depictions of Napoleon military battles and his early “bonhomme” portraits popular and easier to sell His paintings exhibit fine detail and assiduous craftsmanship In his lifetime he was immensely successful Manet was the polar opposite fame arriving only posthumously Yet he is the artist we today praise while Meissonier is scarcely known Manet is seen as the father of impressionism one of the first 19th century artists to paint contemporary life and a pivotal figure in the transition from realism to impressionism Details about world fairs diverse art forms for example lithography and frescoes the industrial revolution the expansion of railways as well as information about contemporary authors such as Henry James Victor Hugo Baudelaire and Emil Zola are all here within the covers of this book The book is full of all sorts of interesting minutia I really did learn a lot and for this reason I am very glad I read the book For me it was a history book than a book about impressionism The chapters on the Siege of Paris the Commune and “Bloody Week” particularly drew my interest Learning about Meissonier and how he constructed a railroad on his property so he could observe the muscles of horses running was fascinating In fact Meissonier captivated me than what I learned about Manet Actor Tristan Layton‘s reading of the audiobook was too rapid A narrator must take into consideration a book’s content This book is too dense to be read uickly Layton is not French and you here this in his pronunciation French names of both people and cities are indistinct Names are often repeated in the text so in the end you do recognize who or what city is being referred too Given the density of the text the narration is an added challenge one can do without I have given the narration two stars which is to say it was OK but could have been better


  3. HBalikov HBalikov says:

    I believe many of us fall into the category “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like” For those who want to know about Impressionism the style of painting that created a revolution in the world of art this book offers a view of the decade that led up to that shiftIf you love the art of the Impressionists you are not going to be satisfied with what King chooses to include in this book and how his publisher Walker Books chooses to print them Yet to be fair this is not the primary intention of the author King is ambitiously straddling two horses with this book While he is training his focus on the emergence of Impressionism he is also casting a wide net to provide the context of the art world in the 1860s and the larger elements of culture politics and personalities To do otherwise would have given us a very dull book in the nature of These were the artists judged worthy of the Salon of 1863 and these were the artists rejected These were the artists judged worthy of the Salon of 1866 and these were the artists rejected; these were the artists judged worthy of the Salon of 1868 and these were the artists rejected; and so forthThe primary device King employs is to compare and contrast Ernest Meissonier France’s most famous and successful painter with Édouard Manet who had trouble getting a good review of his art even from friends In the decade between Manet’s first appearance on the scene and the first massive show devoted to Impressionist art many changes took place King documents the waning of control by the Emperor’s Académie des Beaux Arts and the gradual freeing of restraints that took place The popularity of Meissonier’s infinitesimally detailed and stylized historical paintings gave way to a subject matter that tended to embrace reality from natural landscapes to gritty urban scenes We are taken from Édouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass Le déjeuner sur l'herbe in 1863 through Claude Monet’s Impression Sunrise Impression soleil levant; the painting that gave its name to the style We learn that Manet almost compulsively flouted convention While Monet was derided for a style that struck most critics as “mere sketching” King’s efforts to provide some context for the emergence of this new style should be considered generally successful However you have to be delighted with mid Nineteenth Century trivia If you are willing to know the name of every artist’s journalist’s general’s and royal’s mistress; if you are curious about which year there was a cholera smallpox or other plague; if you live for who loved or hated whom during this period; then you will certainly enjoy the wrapping of this less than tidy package


  4. Robert Boyd Robert Boyd says:

    Stirring and dramatic The book tells the story of a sea change in art by concentrating on two painters Manet and Messonier If you've never heard of Meissonier don't worry few have He was the most successful French painter in the second half of the 19th century but his reputation collapsed almost instantly after his death But choosing these two artists to focus on doesn't take away from the other artists whose stories intersect in the Paris of the 1960s Courbet is an especially appealing character as are Gerome and Cabanel as are the members of the new generation Whistler Degas Monet Morisot etc Even some elderly old masters make appearances Ingres and Delacroix But perhaps the best part of the book is its explication of the importance and complex politics of the Salon the biannual then annual art competition held in Paris where the best of the best was chosen first by a jury then by public opinion The establishment of the Salon des Refuses by the emperor Louis Napoleon himself is but one surprise in the book Of course economics and international politics play a part culminating in the Franco Prussian war which ends the 2nd empire and the crushing of the Paris Commune This book had a novelistic momentum The birth of modernism turns out to be a very complex human story


  5. Dvora Dvora says:

    I very much enjoyed this history of the beginnings of Impressionism in France It was well written fairly well illustrated there is always the internet for looking up of the paintings mentioned but I hate getting up from my reading to do that and the subject matter and people involved were fascinating to me Thanks AC and the Artist Lovers group on GR for drawing my attention to this book which I doubt I ever would have heard of otherwiseI wanted to add that after reading this I am watching for the second time my DVD of the BBC drama series The Impressionists starring Richard Armitage I enjoyed the series the first time but it's even enjoyable now that I am familiar with the people and the events It's fun seeing it all brought to life


  6. Lori Lori says:

    This is an excellent exploration of the political social and artistic background that led to the birth of Impressionism It is a very detailed in depth look at the artists Manet and Meissonier their work and how that work both exemplified and defied the artistic trends and political environment of 19th century Paris the crucial time period that both shaped and changed the art worldThis is not a book for the casual art observer but an in depth exploration for those seriously interested in the Impressionists andor the evolution of art during the 19th century as well as serious fans of Manet and Meissonier Meissonier who prior to this book was rather unfamiliar to me exemplifies the ultimate classically trained French artist of his time The author contrasts Meissonier with Eduard Manet who was was a key player in challenging the VERY strict dictates of the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris The Academie was the ultimate authority in mid 19th Century Paris as to who did or did NOT get presented during the annual exhibition each year This book gives an excellent in depth exploration of the numerous influences and happenings that resulted in the birth of Impressionism It helps significantly to either be familiar with or have access at least via internet to copies of the paintings discussed here while King explores their significance and import The beauty of reading a book like this today is the almost instant access the internet can provide to these works while reading the book Its a bit like having your own personal docent step you through the foundational works of Impressionism being able to see how one influenced the other I used this as research for a recent study tour I was leading to Paris featuring both the Louvre and the Orsay museums and I found the material here both well presented fascinating and an excellent preparation for my trip I've always loved the Impressionists and studied them for years but this helped to fill in some of the blanks surrounding both their work and its revolutionary effect on the entire world of art


  7. Frank Stein Frank Stein says:

    Ross King author of the pop histories Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling writes another great story that combines artistic and political intrigue This is a tale of the 1860s in France when Edouard Manet and the not yet named Impressionists challenged the artistic establishment while Napolean III's Second Empire teetered on the brink of disaster Most interesting is King's ability to tease out the relations between the political and artistic world which were admittedly closer in Second Empire France than in just about any period in history A section of Napoleon's Ministry of State known as the Ministry of the Imperial House and Fine Arts based at the Louvre controlled artistic exhibitions in Paris most importantly the annual Salon where artists displayed and sold their work In the 1860s the arch conservative Minister of Fine Arts Comte de Nieuwerkerke set the annual regulations which determined who was elected to the Salon's jury and therefore what type of paintings were exhibited and where they got exhibited Manet's revolutionary Olympia was moved from eye level to high above visitors heads at the 1865 Salon One critic said you scarcely knew whether you were looking at a parcel of nude flesh or a bundle of laundry The Comte's strict conservative regulations for the 1863 Salon led to such an outcry that Napoleon in order to gain artistic support sponsored a Salon de Refuses where the rejects could be judged by the people as a whole The 1866 Salon was known for its Jury of Assassins after one artist committed suicide when his art was refused entry In order to gain liberal support along with his liberalization of the censorship laws Napolean in 1868 opened the Salon of Newcomers where previously rejected artists like Pisarro Renoir and Degas exhibited King shows that art functioned as an important art of the state in this periodKing also shows that this political concern about art was not idle or elitist The Salon attracted as many as a million visitors in some years sometimes up to 50000 a day when it was free on Sundays and they were truly visitors of all classes he compares this to the most popular exhibition of 2003 Leonardo Master Draftsman at the Met which drew 400000 attendees or around 6800 visitors a day not even a fraction of the attendance at the old Paris Salons Painting and sculpture were real popular and political entertainmentsHe also relates some great anecdotes such as the confusion among Manet's friends when Monet began to exhibit at the Salon they complimented the angry Manet on his new landscapes generations of art students you have company He also shows that it was the Americans who first showed the full appreciation for the Impressionists Louisine Havemeyer wife of the sugar magnate spent than anyone else buying up Monet Pissarro and Cezanne works in the 1890sOf course there are a few problems King spends too much time comparing Manet and the now forgotten painter Meissonier who was called the greatest artist of his age but who today is so ignored that he even had his statute removed from the Louvre by a recent French Minister of Culture Although it is interesting to know about this oft ignored representative of the conservative establishment it's hard to get excited about the details of his family life Also the endless annual salons tend to blur into one another at some points in the story a little discretion here would have been nice But overall this book gave me a real appreciation for the world that birthed modern art and its importance in its time


  8. Czarny Pies Czarny Pies says:

    I greatly enjoyed the Judgement of Paris because France in the age of impressionists is one of my happy places I love not only the painting of the era but also the sculpture Barye architecture Garnier urban planning Haussman opéra Saint Saens music Berlioz poetry Baudelaire theatre Dumas fils ballet Petitipa and novels Flaubert Zola Albeit with a primary focus on painting King brings the cultural life of the Second Empire brilliantly If you love the period the way I do this book written for the general public not for any academic forum is sure to pleaseI disagree with any number of the points that King made which in no way spoiled the fun One reads The Judgement of Paris for the the mood and ambience created not for any thesis The nominal subject of the book is the struggle between the officially sanctioned Beaux Arts tradition in painting of whom the champion was Ernest Meissonier 1815 1891 and the impressionist young Turks of whom the champion was Édouard Manet 1832 1883 This is of course a somewhat ironic tale Meissonier lived long enough to see the death of his tradition whereas Manet who died a victim of his bohemian ie from complications arising from syphilis never lived to see the full extent of his victoryMuch as I loathe Meisonnier's art I have to concede that King makes a clever defense of it In King's view Meissonier was superbly talented painter of horses who was as committed or to art than any of the impressionists Although he behaved with shocking vindictiveness to Gustave Courbet for having organized the toppling of the Vendome Column as a communard Meissonier was a relatively decent fellow most of the time King argues that Meisonnier's paintings has fallen out of favour because it glorified Bonapartism and armed conflict The museum going public continues to adore Manet and the impressionists because they celebrate the simple pleasures of middle class life I am inclined to believe that King is right on all accounts Nonetheless I still find Meissonier and the glorification of armed conflict to be abominations


  9. Ensiform Ensiform says:

    This densely packed well researched erudite 375 page tome is also somehow an engaging and readable account of the conflicting careers and reversing fortunes of two French painters Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier whose precise detailed studied work makes him the most beloved painter in France and the derided interloper Édouard Manet As Manet's star rises with the emergence of impressionism the art world gradually changes its sympathies and Meissonier's falls It is fascinating to read that Manet now considered one of the towering figures of French art was not only overlooked but so reviled that visitors to his exhibition hit his canvases with their walking sticks; and the barbs of the art critics of the time are uoted with ironic glee by King Meissonier meanwhile was enormously successful admired vain a purist for exactitude but known today to art critics and historians but not the general publicThere isn't as much of an ironic or underdog story here as King tries to make out Meissonier was successful and honored until his death while Manet didn't achieve critical recognition until nearly after his death However it's a useful way to show the human side of the 1860s and '70s of Europe King shows how for example during the Siege of Paris both artists were reduced to eating rats to live but still found time to paint Many other figures of the time pop up in the narrative as the various annual Salons go by Émile Zola Henry James Napoleon III and so on This is a highly engaging and entertaining look at art history and the changing tides of art appreciation


  10. Lisa Lisa says:

    I came across The Judgement of Paris via GoodReads where the Art Lovers group were reading it and it’s a most interesting book It’s the story of the birth of the Impressionist movement and the initial hostile reception by conservative forces in Paris but the book also traverses the tumultuous period of the Franco Prussian War and the Commune so it’s interesting as a work of general history too To represent the opposing forces King focuses on Ernest Meissonier 1815 1891 and Edouard Manet 1832 1883 At a time when the old Paris Salons attracted literally millions of visitors from all walks of life Meissonier was immensely popular and fabulously wealthy because his works sold for a small fortune He had a huge estate which he endlessly renovated and he was able to spend years trying to perfect his paintings because he didn’t have to worry about the wolf at his door Manet wasn’t starving in a garret but it was just as well he had an inheritance and a supportive mother because he could not generate an income from his art and didn’t become popular until after his death Posterity however has reversed these positionsTo read the rest of my review please visit


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The Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism [Read] ➳ The Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism By Ross King – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk With a novelist's skill and the insight of an historian bestselling author Ross King recalls a seminal period when Paris was the artistic center of the world and the rivalry between Meissonier and Man With a novelist's skill and the insight of of Paris eBook ↠ an historian bestselling author Ross King recalls a seminal period when Paris was the artistic center of the world and the rivalry between Meissonier and ManetWhile the Civil The Judgment ePUB ´ War raged in America another revolution took shape across the Atlantic in the studios of Paris The artists who would make Impressionism the most popular art form in history were showing their first paintings amidst scorn and Judgment of Paris PDF/EPUB ç derision from the French artistic establishment Indeed no artistic movement has ever been uite so controversial The drama of its birth played out on canvas and against the backdrop of the Franco Prussian War and the Commune Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary eBook ✓ would at times resemble a battlefield; and as Ross King reveals it would reorder both history and culture and resonate around the world.

10 thoughts on “The Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism

  1. AC AC says:

    This review MAY contain a spoiler I'm not sure it's hard for me to tellIt has taken me uite a while to write this review I wasn't sure why I thought maybe I was just being busy or just being lazy; but I think the reason is deeper than that Anyway this is what I originally wrote and didn't post when I finished the bookThis was the perfect book for me I knew just enough to profit from this informed and intelligent review of the roots of Impressionism and this fascinating history of the Second Empire the Franco Prussian War the Siege of Paris the Commune and its aftermath but not enough to be troubled by the limitations inherent in what is I assume merely a book for the general reader I've learned an enormous amount about the history of 19th century French painting however and recommend the book highly It's a great readThere are some nuances and complexities howeverI had expected this to be a book written in celebration of Manet though in truth King does not as I read it at least have all that high an opinion of Manet as an artist In fact throughout much of the book it is Ernest Messonier who starts out simply as a foil for Manet who appears to be the hero But by the end the catastrophe of Messonier's Friedland the painting so perfect in every minute detail the painting which took 10 years to paint was yet a total failure PRECISELY because with his preoccupation with the parts he couldn't capture the sense of motion in the whole In point of fact King's book is in many ways less about the birth of the new of the 'modern' of Impressionism than it is an elegy for a lost empire and a testimonial to the fugitive and meretricious grandeur of the Second EmpireBut this is what I think I should have written insteadThis is not a book about Impressionism but about the Second Empire and about the death of French Academic art and indeed of an entire way of life The period of Louis Napoleon is key to an understanding the roots and structure of 'modernity' Napoleon III was the first modern authoritarian he ruled by cooption and Spectacle rather than by force In that sense Marx was absolutely right to focus on him The 18th Brumaire and to see in him the initial note and prelude to what later we would call fascist authoritarianism or at least one aspect of fascismhttpwwwSpectacular Polnot a book I have read or am recommending but the title is significant is often said correctly that in 1914 no one could have imagined what the world would look like four years hence It's just as true that no one in 1867 after nearly 20 years of Louis Napoleon and his Regeanesue prosperity and Haussmannization that no one could have imagined what would happen to Paris within a mere 4 yearsMonet's Garden of the Princess 1867Messonier's Ruins of the Tuileries 1871Indeed Sedan and its aftermath was perhaps the first truly modern catastrophe afterwards nothing has uite been the same has it? One might say that the Second Empire meretricious though it was was the final dance of that aging debutante known as l'ancien regimeWell that's not uite right either so I give up At any rate this book got me thinking that's for sure

  2. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    The Judgment of Paris The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism is a good book but I would not recommend it to everyone It is dense It is chockfull of details and in parts excessively so the information at times verging on gossip A uarter of the way through I was about to dump it for this very reason A discussion of Empress Charlotte’s panties and the mistresses of Second Empire dignitaries annoyed me In the discussion of paintings I uestioned the similarities drawn between the poses of figures in Manet’s Le Bain Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe and Rafael’s The Judgment of Paris I’m stubborn and so I continued On completion I was glad I hadn’t given up There is a lot of miscellanea concerning history and art that is interesting This book is as much about history as it is about art It is about the birth of impressionism in an historical context than the art form itself Techniues and methods employed are only brushed upon We meet Manet Courbet Pissarro Degas Siseley Whistler Cezanne Monet and We are told of their paintings and their frustration when their works failed to be accepted by the annual and then biennial Salons de Paris the official art exhibitions of the Académie des Beaux Arts We meet Comte de Nieuwerkerke who for much of the time between 1863 and 1874 set the rules for these shows It is this decade the book focuses upon We are given a year by year account detailing who sat on the juries how the juries were chosen which paining were accepted to the respective exhibitions even down to where on the walls the paintings were hung In desperation the artists refused demanded alternative exhibitions Impressionism grew from a revolt against earlier aesthetic criteria and the restrictive regulations of the Salons de Paris Initially without recognition at these exhibitions an artist was doomed to obscurity and the artists had families to support The Salons de Paris did not occur in a vacuum and thus historical events need be related too During the period 1863 to1874 we see the Franco Prussian War the Siege of Paris the failed Commune the fall of Louis Napoleon and the Second Empire To understand how impressionism came to be one must understand French history If you are not interested in history don’t read this book The book has two titles One is as given above The other is The Judgement of Paris Manet Meissonier and An Artistic Revolution While the book covers many many artists of the decade the author focuses primarily on Édouard Manet 1832 – 1883 and Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier 1815 1891 two polar opposites Meissonier was a French classicist painter known for his depictions of Napoleon military battles and his early “bonhomme” portraits popular and easier to sell His paintings exhibit fine detail and assiduous craftsmanship In his lifetime he was immensely successful Manet was the polar opposite fame arriving only posthumously Yet he is the artist we today praise while Meissonier is scarcely known Manet is seen as the father of impressionism one of the first 19th century artists to paint contemporary life and a pivotal figure in the transition from realism to impressionism Details about world fairs diverse art forms for example lithography and frescoes the industrial revolution the expansion of railways as well as information about contemporary authors such as Henry James Victor Hugo Baudelaire and Emil Zola are all here within the covers of this book The book is full of all sorts of interesting minutia I really did learn a lot and for this reason I am very glad I read the book For me it was a history book than a book about impressionism The chapters on the Siege of Paris the Commune and “Bloody Week” particularly drew my interest Learning about Meissonier and how he constructed a railroad on his property so he could observe the muscles of horses running was fascinating In fact Meissonier captivated me than what I learned about Manet Actor Tristan Layton‘s reading of the audiobook was too rapid A narrator must take into consideration a book’s content This book is too dense to be read uickly Layton is not French and you here this in his pronunciation French names of both people and cities are indistinct Names are often repeated in the text so in the end you do recognize who or what city is being referred too Given the density of the text the narration is an added challenge one can do without I have given the narration two stars which is to say it was OK but could have been better

  3. HBalikov HBalikov says:

    I believe many of us fall into the category “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like” For those who want to know about Impressionism the style of painting that created a revolution in the world of art this book offers a view of the decade that led up to that shiftIf you love the art of the Impressionists you are not going to be satisfied with what King chooses to include in this book and how his publisher Walker Books chooses to print them Yet to be fair this is not the primary intention of the author King is ambitiously straddling two horses with this book While he is training his focus on the emergence of Impressionism he is also casting a wide net to provide the context of the art world in the 1860s and the larger elements of culture politics and personalities To do otherwise would have given us a very dull book in the nature of These were the artists judged worthy of the Salon of 1863 and these were the artists rejected These were the artists judged worthy of the Salon of 1866 and these were the artists rejected; these were the artists judged worthy of the Salon of 1868 and these were the artists rejected; and so forthThe primary device King employs is to compare and contrast Ernest Meissonier France’s most famous and successful painter with Édouard Manet who had trouble getting a good review of his art even from friends In the decade between Manet’s first appearance on the scene and the first massive show devoted to Impressionist art many changes took place King documents the waning of control by the Emperor’s Académie des Beaux Arts and the gradual freeing of restraints that took place The popularity of Meissonier’s infinitesimally detailed and stylized historical paintings gave way to a subject matter that tended to embrace reality from natural landscapes to gritty urban scenes We are taken from Édouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass Le déjeuner sur l'herbe in 1863 through Claude Monet’s Impression Sunrise Impression soleil levant; the painting that gave its name to the style We learn that Manet almost compulsively flouted convention While Monet was derided for a style that struck most critics as “mere sketching” King’s efforts to provide some context for the emergence of this new style should be considered generally successful However you have to be delighted with mid Nineteenth Century trivia If you are willing to know the name of every artist’s journalist’s general’s and royal’s mistress; if you are curious about which year there was a cholera smallpox or other plague; if you live for who loved or hated whom during this period; then you will certainly enjoy the wrapping of this less than tidy package

  4. Robert Boyd Robert Boyd says:

    Stirring and dramatic The book tells the story of a sea change in art by concentrating on two painters Manet and Messonier If you've never heard of Meissonier don't worry few have He was the most successful French painter in the second half of the 19th century but his reputation collapsed almost instantly after his death But choosing these two artists to focus on doesn't take away from the other artists whose stories intersect in the Paris of the 1960s Courbet is an especially appealing character as are Gerome and Cabanel as are the members of the new generation Whistler Degas Monet Morisot etc Even some elderly old masters make appearances Ingres and Delacroix But perhaps the best part of the book is its explication of the importance and complex politics of the Salon the biannual then annual art competition held in Paris where the best of the best was chosen first by a jury then by public opinion The establishment of the Salon des Refuses by the emperor Louis Napoleon himself is but one surprise in the book Of course economics and international politics play a part culminating in the Franco Prussian war which ends the 2nd empire and the crushing of the Paris Commune This book had a novelistic momentum The birth of modernism turns out to be a very complex human story

  5. Dvora Dvora says:

    I very much enjoyed this history of the beginnings of Impressionism in France It was well written fairly well illustrated there is always the internet for looking up of the paintings mentioned but I hate getting up from my reading to do that and the subject matter and people involved were fascinating to me Thanks AC and the Artist Lovers group on GR for drawing my attention to this book which I doubt I ever would have heard of otherwiseI wanted to add that after reading this I am watching for the second time my DVD of the BBC drama series The Impressionists starring Richard Armitage I enjoyed the series the first time but it's even enjoyable now that I am familiar with the people and the events It's fun seeing it all brought to life

  6. Lori Lori says:

    This is an excellent exploration of the political social and artistic background that led to the birth of Impressionism It is a very detailed in depth look at the artists Manet and Meissonier their work and how that work both exemplified and defied the artistic trends and political environment of 19th century Paris the crucial time period that both shaped and changed the art worldThis is not a book for the casual art observer but an in depth exploration for those seriously interested in the Impressionists andor the evolution of art during the 19th century as well as serious fans of Manet and Meissonier Meissonier who prior to this book was rather unfamiliar to me exemplifies the ultimate classically trained French artist of his time The author contrasts Meissonier with Eduard Manet who was was a key player in challenging the VERY strict dictates of the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris The Academie was the ultimate authority in mid 19th Century Paris as to who did or did NOT get presented during the annual exhibition each year This book gives an excellent in depth exploration of the numerous influences and happenings that resulted in the birth of Impressionism It helps significantly to either be familiar with or have access at least via internet to copies of the paintings discussed here while King explores their significance and import The beauty of reading a book like this today is the almost instant access the internet can provide to these works while reading the book Its a bit like having your own personal docent step you through the foundational works of Impressionism being able to see how one influenced the other I used this as research for a recent study tour I was leading to Paris featuring both the Louvre and the Orsay museums and I found the material here both well presented fascinating and an excellent preparation for my trip I've always loved the Impressionists and studied them for years but this helped to fill in some of the blanks surrounding both their work and its revolutionary effect on the entire world of art

  7. Frank Stein Frank Stein says:

    Ross King author of the pop histories Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling writes another great story that combines artistic and political intrigue This is a tale of the 1860s in France when Edouard Manet and the not yet named Impressionists challenged the artistic establishment while Napolean III's Second Empire teetered on the brink of disaster Most interesting is King's ability to tease out the relations between the political and artistic world which were admittedly closer in Second Empire France than in just about any period in history A section of Napoleon's Ministry of State known as the Ministry of the Imperial House and Fine Arts based at the Louvre controlled artistic exhibitions in Paris most importantly the annual Salon where artists displayed and sold their work In the 1860s the arch conservative Minister of Fine Arts Comte de Nieuwerkerke set the annual regulations which determined who was elected to the Salon's jury and therefore what type of paintings were exhibited and where they got exhibited Manet's revolutionary Olympia was moved from eye level to high above visitors heads at the 1865 Salon One critic said you scarcely knew whether you were looking at a parcel of nude flesh or a bundle of laundry The Comte's strict conservative regulations for the 1863 Salon led to such an outcry that Napoleon in order to gain artistic support sponsored a Salon de Refuses where the rejects could be judged by the people as a whole The 1866 Salon was known for its Jury of Assassins after one artist committed suicide when his art was refused entry In order to gain liberal support along with his liberalization of the censorship laws Napolean in 1868 opened the Salon of Newcomers where previously rejected artists like Pisarro Renoir and Degas exhibited King shows that art functioned as an important art of the state in this periodKing also shows that this political concern about art was not idle or elitist The Salon attracted as many as a million visitors in some years sometimes up to 50000 a day when it was free on Sundays and they were truly visitors of all classes he compares this to the most popular exhibition of 2003 Leonardo Master Draftsman at the Met which drew 400000 attendees or around 6800 visitors a day not even a fraction of the attendance at the old Paris Salons Painting and sculpture were real popular and political entertainmentsHe also relates some great anecdotes such as the confusion among Manet's friends when Monet began to exhibit at the Salon they complimented the angry Manet on his new landscapes generations of art students you have company He also shows that it was the Americans who first showed the full appreciation for the Impressionists Louisine Havemeyer wife of the sugar magnate spent than anyone else buying up Monet Pissarro and Cezanne works in the 1890sOf course there are a few problems King spends too much time comparing Manet and the now forgotten painter Meissonier who was called the greatest artist of his age but who today is so ignored that he even had his statute removed from the Louvre by a recent French Minister of Culture Although it is interesting to know about this oft ignored representative of the conservative establishment it's hard to get excited about the details of his family life Also the endless annual salons tend to blur into one another at some points in the story a little discretion here would have been nice But overall this book gave me a real appreciation for the world that birthed modern art and its importance in its time

  8. Czarny Pies Czarny Pies says:

    I greatly enjoyed the Judgement of Paris because France in the age of impressionists is one of my happy places I love not only the painting of the era but also the sculpture Barye architecture Garnier urban planning Haussman opéra Saint Saens music Berlioz poetry Baudelaire theatre Dumas fils ballet Petitipa and novels Flaubert Zola Albeit with a primary focus on painting King brings the cultural life of the Second Empire brilliantly If you love the period the way I do this book written for the general public not for any academic forum is sure to pleaseI disagree with any number of the points that King made which in no way spoiled the fun One reads The Judgement of Paris for the the mood and ambience created not for any thesis The nominal subject of the book is the struggle between the officially sanctioned Beaux Arts tradition in painting of whom the champion was Ernest Meissonier 1815 1891 and the impressionist young Turks of whom the champion was Édouard Manet 1832 1883 This is of course a somewhat ironic tale Meissonier lived long enough to see the death of his tradition whereas Manet who died a victim of his bohemian ie from complications arising from syphilis never lived to see the full extent of his victoryMuch as I loathe Meisonnier's art I have to concede that King makes a clever defense of it In King's view Meissonier was superbly talented painter of horses who was as committed or to art than any of the impressionists Although he behaved with shocking vindictiveness to Gustave Courbet for having organized the toppling of the Vendome Column as a communard Meissonier was a relatively decent fellow most of the time King argues that Meisonnier's paintings has fallen out of favour because it glorified Bonapartism and armed conflict The museum going public continues to adore Manet and the impressionists because they celebrate the simple pleasures of middle class life I am inclined to believe that King is right on all accounts Nonetheless I still find Meissonier and the glorification of armed conflict to be abominations

  9. Ensiform Ensiform says:

    This densely packed well researched erudite 375 page tome is also somehow an engaging and readable account of the conflicting careers and reversing fortunes of two French painters Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier whose precise detailed studied work makes him the most beloved painter in France and the derided interloper Édouard Manet As Manet's star rises with the emergence of impressionism the art world gradually changes its sympathies and Meissonier's falls It is fascinating to read that Manet now considered one of the towering figures of French art was not only overlooked but so reviled that visitors to his exhibition hit his canvases with their walking sticks; and the barbs of the art critics of the time are uoted with ironic glee by King Meissonier meanwhile was enormously successful admired vain a purist for exactitude but known today to art critics and historians but not the general publicThere isn't as much of an ironic or underdog story here as King tries to make out Meissonier was successful and honored until his death while Manet didn't achieve critical recognition until nearly after his death However it's a useful way to show the human side of the 1860s and '70s of Europe King shows how for example during the Siege of Paris both artists were reduced to eating rats to live but still found time to paint Many other figures of the time pop up in the narrative as the various annual Salons go by Émile Zola Henry James Napoleon III and so on This is a highly engaging and entertaining look at art history and the changing tides of art appreciation

  10. Lisa Lisa says:

    I came across The Judgement of Paris via GoodReads where the Art Lovers group were reading it and it’s a most interesting book It’s the story of the birth of the Impressionist movement and the initial hostile reception by conservative forces in Paris but the book also traverses the tumultuous period of the Franco Prussian War and the Commune so it’s interesting as a work of general history too To represent the opposing forces King focuses on Ernest Meissonier 1815 1891 and Edouard Manet 1832 1883 At a time when the old Paris Salons attracted literally millions of visitors from all walks of life Meissonier was immensely popular and fabulously wealthy because his works sold for a small fortune He had a huge estate which he endlessly renovated and he was able to spend years trying to perfect his paintings because he didn’t have to worry about the wolf at his door Manet wasn’t starving in a garret but it was just as well he had an inheritance and a supportive mother because he could not generate an income from his art and didn’t become popular until after his death Posterity however has reversed these positionsTo read the rest of my review please visit

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