Events | Painting Modern Life – The Courtauld Impressionists

Painting Modern Life – The Courtauld Impressionists

  • Location: The Ned, 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ, 020 3828 2000
  • Date: 19.12.18 | 7:00pm
  • Book Now: Please note that this is a members only event unless a guest of Nick Nelson at Arcadia Education.
  • Contact:
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Designed to coincide with the National Gallery of London exhibition ‘The Courtauld Impressionists: from Manet to Cézanne,’ this talk focusses on a generation of avant-garde artists who sought to capture modern Parisian life in the second half of the nineteenth century. Spurred on by the advent of the camera and the unique compositions of the Japanese print, Monet and his contemporaries embarked upon capturing ‘a slice of life.’ Following the French capital’s facelift during ‘Haussmannisation’ from 1853 to 1870, an anonymous group of painters, sculptors and engravers exhibited their small and seemingly inchoate canvases in the former studio of photographer Félix Nadar on the Boulevard des Capucines, Paris to a bemused public. The inaugural show of 1874 caused unanimous consternation, yet seven further exhibitions ensued as alternatives to the official annual Salon show in Le Louvre. Impressionist subjects concerned themes drawn from the immediacy of the modern world: city life, café life, middle-class leisure pursuits, the landscape, atmospheric effects of light and weather conditions. Charles Baudelaire had called for painters to depict ‘the heroism of modern life,’ and Manet, Degas and co. duly obliged. Given this new generation of painters eschewed academic conventions, they were subsequently derided by critics and lampooned by hack caricaturists alike; yet their legacy is immense. In fact, is there a school of art so ubiquitously reproduced in multi-media format, adorning the very gallery shops one is drawn to at the end of a blockbuster exhibition of their works? Well, this talk separates your Manets from your Monets and assesses the undisputed pulling power of forces of the past.

The Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne’ is at the National Gallery, London until 20 January 2019