Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in. Think about these artists in relat

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Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in.

Think about these artists in relation to your own culture.  Try to pose an interesting question about the work and your thoughts around it.

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Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in. Think about these artists in relat
European and American Art in the 18th and 19th Centuries Top of Form Search for: Bottom of Form Photography Development of Photography Camera photography was invented in the first decades of the 19th century. Learning Objectives Create a timeline of the development of photography throughout the 19th century Key Takeaways Key Points A photograph is created when light falls on a light-sensitive surface. Before the first camera was ever invented, Chinese and Greek philosophers described the ” pinhole camera.” Nicephore Niepce was a French inventor known for producing the first permanent photoetching in 1822. Daguerre invented the Daguerrotype in 1837. Many chemical and physical photographic advances were made throughout the mid-19th century including the invention of the cyanotype, ambrotype, tintype, and negative on albumen. Photography represents the first instance of an artistic medium being used widely by the masses as a mode of visual expression. The American Civil War (1861–65) was the first war in American history to be photographically documented. Photographs in the first half of the 19th century were very expensive to produce. In the 1860s, a series of cheaper photographic technologies allowed for the middle class to take part in commissioning and purchasing photographs. Key Terms calotype: An early photographic process introduced in 1841 by William Henry Fox Talbot that used paper coated with silver iodide; also known as a talbotype photoetching: A photolithographic etching process. It uses light to transfer a geometric pattern from a photomask to a light-sensitive chemical on the substrate. cyanotype: An early photographic process employing paper sensitized with a cyanide. ambrotype: An early type of photograph in which a glass negative appears positive when displayed on a black background. camera obscura: A darkened chamber in which the image of an outside object is projected and focused onto a surface. tintype: A mid-19th century photographic technology that created a direct positive image onto a thin piece of tin. daguerreotype: An early type of photograph created by exposing a silver-coated copper surface previously exposed to either iodine vapor or iodine and bromine vapors. Background The word “photograph” is based on the Greek phos meaning light and graphe meaning drawing, together meaning drawing with light. Essentially, a photograph is created when a light-sensitive surface is exposed to light, leaving a mark on said surface. Camera photography was invented in the first decades of the 19th century, and even at this early point, it was able to capture more information, and with greater speed, than painting or sculpture. There are a number of important precursors to photography. In the 5th century BCE, before the first camera was ever invented, Chinese and Greek philosophers described the “pinhole camera,” a lightproof box with a tiny hole in one side that allowed light to pass through and project an inverted image one side. The camera obscura is a version of the pinhole camera, and was often used as a tool by artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci as a technique to create paintings. The process of photography was effectually engaged in creating a permanent image from the process outlined originally by the camera obscura. Camera obscura design: This diagram illustrates the components of a camera obscura. Nicephore Niepce was a French inventor who is known to have produced the first permanent photoetching in 1822. However, his process took a great deal of time; up to eight hours were needed to expose a single image. Niepce began to work with Louis Daguerre and the two conducted experiments with silver compounds, based on a theory of Johann Heinrich Schultz, who proved that the mixture of silver and chalk darkens when it is exposed to light. Niepce died in 1833 but Daguerre continued on this path and eventually invented the daguerreotype in 1837. The daguerreotype was an incredibly important discovery for photography due to its speed and ease of use. It represents the first commercially successful photographic process. Eventually, France agreed to pay Daguerre for his formula in exchange for announcing his discovery as the gift of France, which he did in 1839. The Earliest Photography The earliest photography consisted of monochromatic or black and white shots. Even after color photography was invented, black and white photography still prevailed due to its lower cost and preferable appearance. During the mid-19th century, many scientists and inventors began working on the development of photography. A number of chemical and physical photographic variations were made during the mid-19th century including the invention of the cyanotype, ambrotype, tintype, and negative on albumen. John Herschel was an important figure to the development of photography. He is credited with creating the first glass negative, and was among the first to use the terms photography, negative, and positive. In addition, he discovered a solution that could be used to “fix” photographs in order to make them more permanent. William Fox Talbot worked to refine Daguerre’s process in order to make the new photographic medium more available to the masses. He also invented the calotype process, which produces a paper print from a negative image. Talbot’s photograph of the Oriel window in Lacock Abbey is the oldest negative in existence. The 1860s were a defining decade for photography. In addition to the American Civil War (1861–65), the first war in American history to be documented with photographs, the 1860s also brought photography to the middle class. While the first half of the century introduced expensive daguerreotypes, the latter half of the century is defined by the development of cheaper photographic techniques. For example, the ambrotype mimicked the look of the daguerreotype with its reflective surface; however, the newer technology used a light-sensitized glass surface instead of copper, which made for a much cheaper photograph to produce and purchase. Likewise, the tintype eclipsed the ambrotype later in the decade by replacing glass with tin, an even cheaper material, and one that dried much quicker than glass. However, it was the albumen print, paper positives that retained the image quality of metal surfaces, that proved to be the winning technology, lasting well into the 20th century. Albumen print by Alexander Gardner, 1862: This print by Alexander Gardner depicts bodies of Confederate artillerymen near Dunker church. Since the earliest photographic developments, many scientists and artists have taken great interest in photography’s inherent abilities. Artists have used photography to study movement and motion, details that before this point could not be seen by the naked eye, as we see in Eadweard Muybridge’s studies from 1887. Photography represents the first instance of an artistic medium being used widely by the masses as a mode of visual expression. The Horse in Motion, 1886, Eadweard Muybridge: The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge illustrates the artist’s preoccupation with documenting motion and his use of photography as a sequential art form. Flying Gallop Hypothesis Falsified: Galloping horse, animated in 2006 using photos by Eadweard Muybridge.
Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in. Think about these artists in relat
European and American Art in the 18th and 19th Centuries Top of Form Search for: Bottom of Form Rococo Rococo in French Decoration Rococo salons are known for their elaborate detail, serpentine design work, asymmetry and predisposition to lighter, pastel, or gold-based color palettes. Learning Objectives Discuss the importance of the Rococo salon in France and its typical design Key Takeaways Key Points After the reign of Louis XIV, the wealthy and aristocratic moved back to Paris from Versailles and began decorating their homes in the new Rococo style that was associated with King Louis XV. The notion of the salon is an Enlightenment era ideal that transformed the salon, or living room, into the central space for aristocracy to entertain guests and engage in intellectual conversation. Rococo interiors are highly unified in nature, and represent the coming together of a number of decorative arts. As with other Rococo art forms, the color palette is lighter, the lines are curvaceous (‘S’ curve), and the decoration is excessive. Furniture rose to new heights in the period and emphasized lighthearted frivolity. Furniture, friezes, sculpture, metalwork, wall, and ceiling decoration are woven together stylistically in the Rococo salon. Key Terms asymmetry: Lacking a common measure between two objects or quantities; incommensurability. serpentine: Sinuous; curving in alternate directions. mahogany: Any of various tropical American evergreen trees, of the genus Swietenia, having a valuable hard red-brown wood. palette: The range of colors in a given work or body of work. In 18th century Europe, the Rococo style became prevalent in interior design, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. A reaction to the rigidity of Baroque style, the frivolous and playful Rococo first manifested itself with interior design and decorative work. In French, the word salon simply means living room or parlor, and Rococo salons refer to central rooms that are designed in the Rococo style. In addition, the notion of the ‘salon’ is an Enlightenment era ideal that transformed the living room into the central space for aristocracy to entertain guests and engage in intellectual conversation. The idea that one’s architectural surroundings should encourage a way of life, or reflect one’s values, was the philosophy of the time. The Rococo interior reached its height in the total art work of the salon. Rococo salons are characterized by their elaborate detail, intricate patterns, serpentine design work, asymmetry, and a predisposition to lighter, pastel, and gold-based color palettes. Bureau Danton de l’Hôtel de Bourvallais: This example of a Rococo salon exemplifies the serpentine design work and heavy use of gold that were both typical of the Rococo style. As another means of reflecting status, furniture rose to new heights during the Rococo period, emphasizing the lighthearted frivolity that was prized by the style. Furniture design became physically lighter, so as to be easily moved around for gatherings, and many specialized pieces came to prominence, such as the fauteuil chair, the voyeuse chair, and the berger et gondola. Furniture in the Rococo period was freestanding, as opposed to wall-based, in order to accentuate the lighthearted and versatile atmosphere that was desired by the aristocracy. Mahogany became the most widely used medium due to its strength, and mirrors also became increasingly popular. Rococo salons often employed the use of asymmetry in design, which was termed contraste. Interior ornament included the use of sculpted forms on ceilings and walls, often somewhat abstract or employing leafy or shell-like textures. Two excellent examples of French Rococo are the Salon de Monsieur le Prince in the Petit Château at Chantilly, decorated by Jean Aubert; and the salons in the Hotel Soubise, Paris, by Germain Boffrand. Both of these salons exhibit typical Rococo style with walls, ceilings, and moulding decorated with delicate interlacings of curves based on the fundamental shapes of the ‘S,’ as well as with shell forms and other natural shapes. Salon de la Princesse: A Rococo interior from the Hotel de Soubise, Paris that demonstrates highly elaborate ceiling work. In France, the style began to decline by the 1750s. Criticized for its triviality and excess in ornament, Rococo style had already become more austere by the 1760s, as Neoclassicism began to take over as the dominant style in France and the rest of Europe. Rococo in Painting and Sculpture Rococo style in painting echoes the qualities evident in other manifestations of the style including serpentine lines, heavy use of ornament as well as themes revolving around playfulness, love, and nature. Learning Objectives Identify themes and qualities commonly associated with Rococo art Key Takeaways Key Points Rococo style developed first in the decorative arts and interior design, and its influence later spread to architecture, sculpture, theater design, painting, and music. Rococo style is characterized by elaborate ornamentation, asymmetrical values, pastel color palette, and curved or serpentine lines. Rococo art works often depict themes of love, classical myths, youth, and playfulness. Antoine Watteau is considered to be the first great Rococo painter who influenced later Rococo masters such as Boucher and Fragonard. In sculpture, the work of Etienne-Maurice Falconet is widely considered to be the best representative of Rococo style. Rococo sculpture makes use of very delicate porcelain instead of marble or another heavy medium. Key Terms Rococo: A style of baroque architecture and decorative art, from 18th century France, having elaborate ornamentation. pastel: Any of several subdued tints of colors, usually associated with pink, peach, yellow, green, blue, and lavender. serpentine: Sinuous; curving in alternate directions. Rococo Painting Painting during the Rococo period has many of the same qualities as other Rococo art forms such as heavy use of ornament, curved lines and the use of a gold and pastel-based palette. Additionally, forms are often asymmetrical and the themes are playful, even witty, rather than political, as in the case of Baroque art. Themes relating to myths of love as well as portraits and idyllic landscapes typify Rococo painting. Antoine Watteau Antoine Watteau is considered to be the first great Rococo painter. His influence is visible in the work of later Rococo painters such as Francois Boucher and Honore Fragonard. Watteau is known for his soft application of paint, dreamy atmosphere, and depiction of classical themes that often revolve around youth and love, exemplified in the painting Pilgrimage to Cythera. Pilgrimage to Cythera by Antoine Watteau: Watteau’s signature soft application of paint, dreamy atmosphere, and depiction of classical themes that often revolve around youth and love is evident in his work Pilgrimage to Cythera. Francois Boucher Francois Boucher became a master of Rococo painting somewhat later than Watteau. His work exemplifies many of the same characteristics, though with a slightly more mischievous and suggestive tone. Boucher had an illustrious career, and became court painter to King Louis XV in 1765. There was controversy later in his career as Boucher received some moral criticism from people such as Diderot for the themes present in his work. The Blonde Odalisque was particularly controversial, as it supposedly illustrated the extra marital affairs of the King. Blond Odalisque by Francois Boucher: Blond Odalisque was a highly controversial work by Francois Boucher as it was thought to depict an affair of King Louis XV. The work employs serpentine lines, a reasonably pastel palette and themes of love indicative of Rococo artwork. Rococo Sculpture In sculpture, the work of Etienne-Maurice Falconet is widely considered to be the best representative of Rococo style. Generally, Rococo sculpture makes use of very delicate porcelain instead of marble or another heavy medium. Falconet was the director of a famous porcelain factory at Sevres. The prevalent themes in Rococo sculpture echoed those of the other mediums, with the display of classical themes, cherubs, love, playfulness, and nature being depicted most often as exemplified in the sculpture Pygmalion and Galatee. Pygmalion and Galatee by Etienne-Maurice Falconet: Pygmalion and Galatee is indicative of Etienne Maurica Falconet’s Rococo style in its depiction of lighthearted love, including a cherub indicating its predisposition to mythology. Rococo Architecture 18th century Rococo architecture was a lighter, more graceful, yet also more elaborate version of Baroque architecture. Learning Objectives Distinguish Rococo architecture from its Baroque predecessor Key Takeaways Key Points Rococo architecture was a lighter, more graceful, yet also more elaborate version of Baroque architecture, which was ornate and austere. Rococo emphasized the asymmetry of forms, while Baroque was the opposite. The Baroque was more serious, placing an emphasis on religion, and was often characterized by Christian themes; Rococo was more secular and light-hearted. Rococo architecture brought significant changes to the building of edifices, placing an emphasis on privacy rather than the grand public majesty of Baroque architecture. Key Terms jocular: Humorous, amusing or joking. motif: A recurring or dominant element in a work of art. cherub: A statue or other depiction of an angel, typically in the form of a winged child. Rococo architecture was a lighter, more graceful, yet also more elaborate version of Baroque architecture, which was ornate and austere. While the styles were similar, there are some notable differences between both Rococo and Baroque architecture, such as symmetry; Rococo emphasized the asymmetry of forms, while Baroque was the opposite. The styles, despite both being richly decorated, also had different themes; the Baroque was more serious, placing an emphasis on religion, and was often characterized by Christian themes (the Baroque began in Rome as a response to the Protestant Reformation); Rococo architecture was an 18th century, more secular, adaptation of the Baroque that was characterized by more light-hearted and jocular themes. Other elements belonging to the architectural style of Rococo include numerous curves and decorations, as well as the use of pale colors. There are numerous examples of Rococo buildings as well as architects. Among the most famous include the Catherine Palace in Russia, the Queluz National Palace in Portugal, the Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces in Brühl, the Chinese House in Potsdam, the Charlottenburg Palace in Germany, as well as elements of the Château de Versailles in France. Architects who were renowned for their constructions using the style include Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, an Italian architect who worked in Russia and who was noted for his lavish and opulent works, Philip de Lange, who worked in both Danish and Dutch Rococo architecture, or Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann, who worked in the late Baroque style and who contributed to the reconstruction of the city of Dresden in Germany. Rococo architecture also brought significant changes to the building of edifices, placing an emphasis on privacy rather than the grand public majesty of Baroque architecture, as well as improving the structure of buildings in order to create a more healthy environment. Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, Saint Petersburg: The residence originated in 1717, when Catherine I of Russia hired German architect Johann-Friedrich Braunstein to construct a summer palace for her pleasure. In 1733, Empress Elizabeth commissioned Mikhail Zemtsov and Andrei Kvasov to expand the Catherine Palace. Empress Elizabeth, however, found her mother’s residence outdated and incommodious and in May 1752 asked her court architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli to demolish the old structure and replace it with a much grander edifice in a flamboyant Rococo style. Construction lasted for four years, and on July 30, 1756 the architect presented the brand-new 325-meter-long palace to the Empress, her dazed courtiers, and stupefied foreign ambassadors. What is Rococo? Why do I care? (The Stolen Kiss, Jean-Honore Fragonard) One time in college I was zoning-out in the dimly lit art history classroom amidst napping undergrads and filling out one of my countless  “artist / date / movement / significance” flashcards. When all of a sudden my ears perked up– My prudish teacher began spouting off about trysts! debauchery! sex! infidelity! and immoral behavior!  Shelve the triptychs, let’s do this!   She was referring to Rococo, a movement which developed during the Late Baroque(18th century) period in France when artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, floral, and playful. Rococo first developed in the decorative arts and interior design and was often associated with the excesses of Louis XV’s reign.  “Rococo rooms were designed as total works of art with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings.”(via Wikipedia) The use of delicate complex forms and intricate patterns spread among French artists and engraved publications and was readily received in Catholic parts of Germany and Austria where the movement merged with lively German Baroque traditions.  Because the style was always thought of as “French taste”, Rococo was not as well received in Great Britain yet its influence was felt in the areas of silverwork, porcelain and silks. William Hogarth helped develop a theoretical foundation for Rococo beauty. Though not intentionally referencing the movement, he argued in his Analysis of Beauty that the undulating lines and S-curves prominent in Rococo were the basis for grace and beauty in art or nature (unlike the straight line or the circle in Classicism).  The beginning of the end for Rococo came in the early 1760s as figures like Voltaire and Jacques-François Blondel(prominent French architect) began to voice their criticism of the superficiality and degeneracy of the art. Blondel condemned the “ridiculous jumble of shells, dragons, reeds, palm-trees and plants” in contemporary interiors and the style began to fall out of fash… …ion. Oh, right.  “Though Rococo originated in the purely decorative arts, the style showed clearly in painting. These painters used delicate colors and curving forms, decorating their canvases with cherubs and myths of love. Portraiture was also popular among Rococo painters. Some works show a sort of naughtiness or impurity in the behavior of their subjects, showing the historical trend of departing away from the Baroque’s church/state orientation. Landscapes were pastoral and often depicted the leisurely outings of aristocratic couples.” Jean-Honore Fragonard was ALL over this.    (Blindman’s Bluff, Jean-Honore Fragonard) During the 18th century, art and literature depicted courtship with encoded gestures and rituals because the society they reflected also used them. Everything people did or said had a meaning behind it, and often it was not the obvious one. Many Rococo artists, including Fragonard, used symbols in their work. New symbols were developed for art, revolving around love and mythology. Statues of Venus, Cupid, and Psyche represented different aspects of love and were usually painted in the background to mirror the actions and sentiments of couples in the foreground. Flower gardens are symbols of blossoming love, while a floral crown is a symbol of sexual consummation or commitment. A woman’s shoeless foot or parted skirts mean that she is unchaste; the same thing may be said about a man without a hat. The presence of a cat represents promiscuity while the dog is a symbol of fidelity. The presence of a letter often indicates letters of love.  The Rococo movement enabled Fragonard and others to express themselves in a new way and cover subject matter that was a bit more selacious than the landscapes, still lives, and pious family scenes depicted in earlier works from this time. Sex sells. (The Meeting, Jean-Honore Fragonard) One of Fragonard’s more famous pieces, The Meeting is exemplary of an idealized aristocratic view of young love. This representation of love may be seen in the iconography of the painting which depicts two lovers meeting in a garden(which was a common setting for such trysts) below a statue of Venus and Cupid. By presenting a fantasy of love for the upper classes Fragonard was also building on the tradition of idealization seen in French art set by previous artists such as Claude Lorraine and Antoine Watteau. The glamorization of love seen in The Meeting comes about through its formal composition, which gives the painting a warm, feminine quality.  But there are questions surrounding the couple’s expressions, were they unexpectedly interrupted? Are they looking to the left because they are concerned they will be caught? Scandy! Fragonard exploits the sense of drama and heightened excitement which permeates The Meeting in order to portray the exuberance of new love. One must remember that in 18th-century France among the nobility marriages routinely were of convenience, with both men and women often having extramarital love interests. This cultural zeitgeist of decadent living among the aristocracy caused the commissioning of paintings with whimsical natures to flourish during the Rococo, and Fragonard had visited similar frivolous erotic subject matters in previous works such as The Swing from 1767. (The Swing, Jean-Honore Fragonard) The Swing depicts a lady in a pink dress seated on a swing on which she floats through the air, her skirts billowing, while a hidden gentleman observes from a thicket of bushes; the landscape setting emphasizes a bluish, smoky atmosphere, foaming clouds, and foliage sparkling with flickering light. Pictures like The Swing brought Fragonard harsh criticism from Denis Diderot, a leading philosopher of the Enlightenment. Diderot charged the artist with frivolity and admonished him to have “a little more self-respect.” Set in a rich landscape, an aristocratic young woman, identified as the patron’s mistress, is being pushed on a swing by a bishop. Facing her, lying on the ground, is her lover; she kicks up her leg, lifting her skirts and tossing him her shoe, symbolizing the sexual favors she bestowed upon him. (via enlightenment-revolution) (Autumn Pastoral, Francois Boucher) While this post focuses primarily on the work of Fragonard, artists such as François Boucher and the aforementioned Antoine Watteau were covering the subject of impropriety as well.  Boucher is known for his Odalisque series of paintings which sparked controversy over “prostituting his wife”(in the dark-haired version) and spotlighting the extramarital affairs of the King(in the blonde version).  After harsh criticism primarily from Diderot(what a buzzkill!), Boucher fell out of favor and his reputation was tarnished during the last of his creative years. (Pilgrimage on the Isle of Cythera, Antoine Watteau) The aforementioned Antoine Watteau(who is probably the most well known of the Rococo painters) created his famous “fête galante”(defined:an amorous celebration or party enjoyed by the elite aristocracy of France during the reign of Louis XV) piece Pilgrimage on the Isle of Cythera which captured the frivolity and sensuousness most often associated with this style of painting. (Self Portrait in a Straw Hat, Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun I would be remiss if I did not mention that during this time Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun was a force to be reckoned with as a prominent female artist and is recognized as the most famous female painter of the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, while Élisabeth was highly skilled, she primarily focused on aristocrat portraiture which doesn’t make for an engaging FLUX. post/Maury Povich show, but feel free to check out additional information on her here. (The Love Letter..with a few adjustments, Jean-Honore Fragonard)
Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in. Think about these artists in relat
European and American Art in the 18th and 19th Centuries Top of Form Search for: Bottom of Form Neoclassicism and Romanticism Romanticism Romanticism, fueled by the French Revolution, was a reaction to the scientific rationalism and classicism of the Age of Enlightenment. Learning Objectives Discuss the political and theoretical foundations of Romanticism Key Takeaways Key Points The ideals of the French Revolution created the context from which both Romanticism and the Counter- Enlightenment emerged. Romanticism was a revolt against the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and also a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. Romanticism legitimized the individual imagination as a critical authority, which permitted freedom from classical notions of form in art. The Industrial Revolution also influenced Romanticism, which was in part about escaping from modern realities. Romanticism was also influenced by Sturm und Drang, a German Counter-Enlightenment movement that emphasized subjectivity and intense emotion. Key Terms Romanticism: 18th century artistic and intellectual movement that stressed emotion, freedom, and individual imagination. Sturm und Drang: “Storm and Stress,” a German proto-romantic movement signifying turmoil and emotional intensity. Counter-Enlightenment: A movement that arose primarily in late 18th and early 19th century Germany against the rationalism, universalism, and empiricism commonly associated with the Enlightenment. Overview Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. In most areas the movement was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 CE to 1840 CE. Romanticism reached beyond the rational and Classicist ideal models to elevate a revived medievalism. The Influence of the French Revolution Though influenced by other artistic and intellectual movements, the ideologies and events of the French Revolution created the primary context from which both Romanticism and the Counter-Enlightenment emerged. Upholding the ideals of the Revolution, Romanticism was a revolt against the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and also a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. Romanticism elevated the achievements of what it perceived as heroic individualists and artists, whose pioneering examples would elevate society. It also legitimized the individual imagination as a critical authority, which permitted freedom from classical notions of form in art. The Passion of the German Sturm und Drang Movement Romanticism was also inspired by the German Sturm und Drang movement (Storm and Stress), which prized intuition and emotion over Enlightenment rationalism. This proto-romantic movement was centered on literature and music, but also influenced the visual arts. The movement emphasized individual subjectivity. Extremes of emotion were given free expression in reaction to the perceived constraints of rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment and associated aesthetic movements. Sturm und Drang in the visual arts can be witnessed in paintings of storms and shipwrecks showing the terror and irrational destruction wrought by nature. These pre-romantic works were fashionable in Germany from the 1760s on through the 1780s, illustrating a public audience for emotionally charged artwork. Additionally, disturbing visions and portrayals of nightmares were gaining an audience in Germany as evidenced by Goethe’s possession and admiration of paintings by Fuseli, which were said to be capable of “giving the viewer a good fright.” Notable artists included Joseph Vernet, Caspar Wolf, Philip James de Loutherbourg, and Henry Fuseli. The Shipwreck by Claude Joseph Vernet, 1759: Vernet participated in the proto-Romantic Sturm und Drang movement. The Industrial Revolution also had an influence on Romanticism, which was in part an escape from modern realities of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism. Indeed, in the second half of the 19th century, “Realism” was offered as a polarized opposite to Romanticism. Painting in the Romantic Period Romanticism was a prevalent artistic movement in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. Learning Objectives Discuss Romanticism as seen in the paintings from this period Key Takeaways Key Points ” History painting,” traditionally referred to technically difficult narrative paintings of multiple subjects, but became more frequently focused on recent historical events. Gericault and Delacroix were leaders of French romantic painting, and both produced iconic history paintings. Ingres, though firmly committed to Neoclassical values, is seen as expressing the Romantic spirit of the times. The Spanish artist Francisco Goya is considered perhaps the greatest painter of the Romantic period, though he did not necessarily self-identify with the movement; his oeuvre reflects the integration of many styles. The German variety of Romanticism notably valued wit, humor, and beauty. Key Terms Romanticism: 18th century artistic and intellectual movement that stressed emotion, freedom, and individual imagination. Neoclassicism: The name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theater, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the “classical” art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome. history painting: A a genre in painting defined by its subject matter rather than artistic style. These paintings usually depict a moment in a narrative story, rather than a specific and static subject. Romanticism While the arrival of Romanticism in French art was delayed by the hold of Neoclassicism on the academies, it became increasingly popular during the Napoleonic period. Its initial form was the history paintings that acted as propaganda for the new regime. The key generation of French Romantics born between 1795–1805, in the words of Alfred de Vigny, had been “conceived between battles, attended school to the rolling of drums.” The French Revolution (1789–1799) followed by the Napoleonic Wars until 1815, meant that war, and the attending political and social turmoil that went along with them, served as the background for Romanticism. History Painting Since the Renaissance, history painting was considered among the highest and most difficult forms of art. History painting is defined by its subject matter rather than artistic style. History paintings usually depict a moment in a narrative story rather than a specific and static subject. In the Romantic period, history painting was extremely popular and increasingly came to refer to the depiction of historical scenes, rather than those from religion or mythology. French Romanticism This generation of the French school developed personal Romantic styles while still concentrating on history painting with a political message. Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa of 1821 remains the greatest achievement of the Romantic history painting, which in its day had a powerful anti-government message. The Raft of the Medusa by Jean Louis Theodore Gericault, 1818–21: This painting is regarded as one of the greatest Romantic era paintings. Ingres Profoundly respectful of the past, Ingres assumed the role of a guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style represented by his nemesis Eugène Delacroix. He described himself as a “conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator.” Nevertheless, modern opinion has tended to regard Ingres and the other Neoclassicists of his era as embodying the Romantic spirit of his time, while his expressive distortions of form and space make him an important precursor of modern art. Achilles Receiving the Envoys of Agamemnon by Ingres, 1801: Ingres, though firmly committed to Neoclassical values, is seen as expressing the Romantic spirit of the times. Delacroix Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) had great success at the Salon with works like The Barque of Dante (1822), The Massacre at Chios (1824) and Death of Sardanapalus (1827). Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People (1830) remains, with The Medusa, one of the best known works of French Romantic painting. Both of these works reflected current events and appealed to public sentiment. Liberty Leading the People, by Delacroix, 1830: The history paintings of Eugene Delacroix epitomized the Romantic period. Goya Spanish painter Francisco Goya is today generally regarded as the greatest painter of the Romantic period. However, in many ways he remained wedded to the classicism and realism of his training. More than any other artist of the period, Goya exemplified the Romantic expression of the artist’s feelings and his personal imaginative world. He also shared with many of the Romantic painters a more free handling of paint, emphasized in the new prominence of the brushstroke and impasto, which tended to be repressed in neoclassicism under a self-effacing finish. Goya’s work is renowned for its expressive line, color, and brushwork as well as its distinct subversive commentary. The Milkmaid of Bordeaux by Goya, ca. 1825–1827: Though he worked in a variety of styles, Goya is remembered as perhaps the greatest painter of the Romantic period. German Romanticism Compared to English Romanticism, German Romanticism developed relatively late, and, in the early years, coincided with Weimar Classicism (1772–1805). In contrast to the seriousness of English Romanticism, the German variety of Romanticism notably valued wit, humor, and beauty. The early German romantics strove to create a new synthesis of art, philosophy, and science, largely by viewing the Middle Ages as a simpler period of integrated culture, however, the German romantics became aware of the tenuousness of the cultural unity they sought. Late-stage German Romanticism emphasized the tension between the daily world and the irrational and supernatural projections of creative genius. Key painters in the German Romantic tradition include Joseph Anton Koch, Adrian Ludwig Richter, Otto Reinhold Jacobi, and Philipp Otto Runge among others. The Hulsenbeck Children by Phillip Otto Runge, oil on canvas: Runge was a well-known German Romantic painter. Landscape Painting in the Romantic Period Landscape painting in Europe and America greatly increased in prominence during the 18th and particularly the 19th century. Learning Objectives Describe the emergence of landscape painting in France, England, Holland, and the United States during the years of the Enlightenment Key Takeaways Key Points The decline of explicitly religious works, a result of the Protestant Reformation, contributed to the rise in the popularity of landscapes. English painters, working in the Romantic tradition, became well known for watercolor landscapes in the 18th century. Artists in the Barbizon School brought landscape painting to prominence in France, and were inspired by English landscape artist John Constable. The Barbizon school was an important precursor to Impressionism. The glorified depiction of a nation’s natural wonders, and the development of a distinct national style, were both ways in which nationalism influenced landscape painting in Europe and America. The Hudson River School was the most influential landscape art movement in 19th century America. Key Terms Romanticism: 18th century artistic and intellectual movement that stressed emotion, freedom, and individual imagination plein air: En plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air,” and refers to the act of painting outdoors. In the mid-19th century, working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon School and Impressionism. Dutch and English Landscape Painting Landscape painting depicts natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, in which the main subject is typically a wide view and the elements are arranged into a coherent composition. During the Dutch Golden Age of painting of the 17th century, this type of painting greatly increased in popularity, and many artists specialized in the genre. In particular, painters of this era were known for developing extremely subtle, realist techniques of depicting light and weather. The popularity of landscape painting in this region, during this time, was in part a reflection of the virtual disappearance of religious art in the Netherlands, which was then a Calvinist society. In the 18th and 19th centuries, religious painting declined across all of Europe, and the movement of Romanticism spread, both of which provided important historical ingredients for landscape painting to ascend to a more prominent place in art. In England, landscapes had initially only been painted as the backgrounds for portraits, and typically portrayed the parks or estates of a landowner. This changed as a result of Anthony van Dyck, who, along with other Flemish artists living in England, began a national tradition. In the 18th century, watercolor painting, mostly of landscapes, became an English speciality. The nation had both a buoyant market for professional works of this variety, and a large number of amateur painters. By the beginning of the 19th century, the most highly regarded English artists were all, for the most part, dedicated landscapists, including John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, and Samuel Palmer. The Hay Wain by John Constable, 1821: Constable was a popular English Romantic Painter. French Landscape Painting French painters were slower to develop an interest in landscapes, but in 1824, the Salon de Paris exhibited the works of John Constable, an extremely talented English landscape painter. His rural scenes influenced some of the younger French artists of the time, moving them to abandon formalism and to draw inspiration directly from nature. During the revolutions of 1848, artists gathered in Barbizon to follow Constable’s ideas, making nature the subject of their paintings. They formed what is referred to as the Barbizon School. During the late 1860s, the Barbizon painters attracted the attention of a younger generation of French artists studying in Paris. Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille among others, practiced plein air painting and developed what would later be called Impressionism, an extremely influential movement. In Europe, as John Ruskin noted, and Sir Kenneth Clark confirmed, landscape painting was the “chief artistic creation of the 19th century,” and “the dominant art.” As a result, in the times that followed, it became common for people to “assume that the appreciation of natural beauty and the painting of landscape was a normal and enduring part of our spiritual activity.” Nationalism in Landscape Painting Nationalism has been implicated in the popularity of 17th century Dutch landscapes, and in the 19th century, when other nations, such as England and France, attempted to develop distinctive national schools of their own. Painters involved in these movements often attempted to express the unique nature of the landscape of their homeland. The Hudson River School In the United States, a similar movement, called the Hudson River School, emerged in the 19th century and quickly became one of the most distinctive worldwide purveyors of landscape pieces. American painters in this movement created works of mammoth scale in an attempt to capture the epic size and scope of the landscapes that inspired them. The work of Thomas Cole, the school’s generally acknowledged founder, seemed to emanate from a similar philosophical position as that of European landscape artists. Both championed, from a position of secular faith, the spiritual benefits that could be gained from contemplating nature. Some of the later Hudson River School artists, such as Albert Bierstadt, created less comforting works that placed a greater emphasis (with a great deal of Romantic exaggeration) on the raw, terrifying power of nature. The Oxbow by Thomas Cole, 1836: Thomas Cole was a founding member of the pioneering Hudson School, the most influential landscape art movement in 19th century America. Discovering Literature: Romantics & Victorians The Pre-Raphaelites Top of Form British library Bottom of Form Article written by: Dinah Roe Theme: Fin de siècle Published: 15 May 2014 Dr Dinah Roe introduces the unique band of artists, poets and designers known as the Pre-Raphaelites, charting their formation and evolution from the 1850s to the late 19th century. La Ghirlandata by Dante Gabriel Rossetti Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting La Ghirlandata (1873) depicts women playing musical instruments, as many of his paintings did. Usage terms © De Agostini Picture LibraryHeld by© De Agostini Picture Library The Pre-Raphaelites were a loose and baggy collective of Victorian poets, painters, illustrators and designers whose tenure lasted from 1848 to roughly the turn of the century. Drawing inspiration from visual art and literature, their work privileged atmosphere and mood over narrative, focusing on medieval subjects, artistic introspection, female beauty, sexual yearning and altered states of consciousness. In defiant opposition to the utilitarian ethos that formed the dominant ideology of the mid-century, the Pre-Raphaelites helped to popularise the notion of ‘art for art’s sake’. Generally devoid of the political edge that characterised much Victorian art and literature, Pre-Raphaelite work nevertheless incorporated elements of 19th-century realism in its attention to detail and in its close observation of the natural world. Driven by, as Oscar Wilde put it, ‘three things the English public never forgives: youth, power and enthusiasm’, Pre-Raphaelitism found itself paradoxically poised between nostalgia for the past and excitement about the future.[1] 19th-century disagreements over whether their art was forward-thinking or retrogressive set a precedent for current critical debates about the extent to which their work should be considered ‘avant-garde’. The Awakening Conscience by William Holman Hunt As typical of many Pre-Raphaelite artworks, William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience (1853) displays meticulous attention to detail and is full of symbolism. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Pre-Raphaelitism began in 1848 when a group of seven young artists banded together against what they felt was an artificial and mannered approach to painting taught at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. They called themselves the ‘Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’ (PRB), a name that alluded to their preference for late medieval and early Renaissance art that came ‘before Raphael’. The painters were: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, James Collinson and Frederic George Stephens. The non-painters were sculptor Thomas Woolner and Brotherhood secretary William Michael Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s brother. Inspired by the work of old masters such as Van Eyck, Memling, Mantegna, Giotto and Fra Angelico, and following a programme of ‘truth to nature’, the artists advocated a return to the simplicity and sincerity of subject and style found in an earlier age. Their aims were vague and contradictory, even paradoxical, which was only to be expected from a youthful movement made up of strong-minded individuals who sought to modernise art by reviving the practices of the Middle Ages. The Blue Closet by Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Blue Closet (1857) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is a prime example of the Pre-Raphaelites’s use of Medieval imagery. Usage terms  © De Agostini Picture LibraryHeld by© De Agostini Picture Library Characterised by flattened perspective, sharp outlines, bright colours and close attention to detail that flouted classical conventions of symmetry, proportion and carefully controlled chiaroscuro, early PRB paintings of religious subjects such as Hunt’s A Converted British Family’, Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents and Rossetti’s Ecce Ancilla Domini (1850) shocked critics with a hyper-realism perceived to be at odds with the sacred events portrayed. The 1850 Royal Academy Exhibition inaugurated what would remain an antagonistic relationship between establishment critics and the Pre-Raphaelites. Critics were particularly dismayed at the hints of Tractarianism and Romishness[2] they detected in the detailed, ecclesiastic symbolism of Millais’ picture. They were further horrified by the painter’s blasphemous depiction of the Christ child as a red-headed member of an unidealised labouring-class family. Both Hunt’s and Millais’s paintings hinted at the breakdown of the social order, a worrying subject during a period where recent revolutions in Europe threatened to spread to Britain. Christ in the House of His Parents by John Everett Millais John Everett Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents (1849-50) shocked critics when it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1850. Usage terms © De Agostini Picture LibraryHeld by© De Agostini Picture Library Ecce Ancilla Domini! (The Annunciation) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti Like Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents, Ecce Ancilla Domini (1850) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti provoked strong opinions from critics for its depiction of a religious subject. His sister, the poet Christina Rossetti, was the model for Mary, right. Usage terms © TateHeld by© Tate Though the Brotherhood was vilified in the press by such notables as Charles Dickens, who detected in Millais’s painting ‘the lowest depths of what is mean, odious, repulsive and revolting’[3], from 1851, the painters were vigorously defended by critic and Pre-Raphaelite patron John Ruskin, from whose Modern Painters I & II (1843, 1846) Hunt later claimed that the group had derived its ideas about the importance of truthfully representing nature. Review of Royal Academy exhibition of 1850 A damning review of the Pre-Raphaelites’s artworks on display at the 1850 Royal Academy exhibition. Usage terms Public Domain Literature was always as important as fine art to the Pre-Raphaelites; their paintings are often inspired by subjects from the bible, medieval romances, Arthurian legends, Ovid, Chaucer and Shakespeare. However, it is in their relationship to contemporary poetry that their avant-garde spirit is indisputably evident. In 1848, Rossetti and Holman Hunt drew up a list of ‘Immortals’, or artistic heroes, which included not only canonical writers such as Homer, Dante Alighieri and Boccaccio, but also recent predecessors and contemporaries such as Byron, Keats, Shelley, Longfellow, Emerson, Poe, Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, Robert Browning and Thackeray. Ophelia by John Everett Millais Ophelia (1851-52) by John Everett Millais, inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Shakespeare was admired by the Pre-Raphaelites and was on their list of ‘Immortals’. Usage terms © De Agnosti Picture LibraryHeld by© De Agostini Picture Library The Pre-Raphaelite passion for modern writing was reflected in the PRB journal The Germ (1850), which contained not only pictures, but also reviews, essays and original poetry. Interested in the beauty and sound of language, Pre-Raphaelite verse experimented with forms such as the ballad, lyric and dramatic monologue. The Germ only survived for four issues, but this experimental periodical is an important forerunner of the Modernist ‘little magazine’. Its eagerness to explore the interactions between words and images set a precedent for subsequent high-profile Pre-Raphaelite projects; Rossetti’s, Millais’s and Hunt’s illustrations for an edition of Tennyson’s poems brought a collaborative spirit and a new respectability to the commercial art of book illustration.[4] Pre-Raphaelite journal, The Germ Front cover of Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ, 1850, which set out the group’s vision and included art, poetry and essays. Usage terms Public Domain The Moxon illustrated edition of Tennyson’s Poems William Holman Hunt’s illustration to ‘The Lady of Shalott’ from the Moxon edition of Tennyson’s Poems, 1857. Hunt later turned the image into a painting. Usage terms Public Domain Though its goals were ‘serious and heartfelt’, the PRB was founded in a spirit of waggish male camaraderie which expressed itself in pranks, late-night smoking sessions and midnight jaunts around London’s streets and pleasure gardens. Yet the formative female presence in the group’s early years should not be overlooked. Artists’ model and Rossetti’s wife Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal not only posed for many Pre-Raphaelite works, but also produced them herself. Patronised by Ruskin, she painted, drew and wrote poetry. Other women artists associated with the Pre-Raphaelites include: photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and painters Rosa Brett, Barbara Leigh Smith, Anna Mary Howitt, and Marie Spartali Stillman. Significant Pre-Raphaelite female models include: Annie Miller, Fanny Cornforth, Jane Morris and Marie Zambaco, among others. Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s sister Christina was the only woman to publish with the group, contributing poems to The Germ (1850). Her sonnet, ‘In an Artist’s Studio’ (1856) sounded a prescient note of caution about the dangers of Pre-Raphaelite worship of the female muse. Christina Rossetti would become one of the greatest poets of her age. Notebook of Christina Rossetti (two of six), 18 December 1856-29 June 1858 Manuscript copy of ‘In an Artist’s Studio’ by Christina Rossetti, copied into one of her notebooks, 1856. A comment on the female muse, the poem remained unpublished during her lifetime. Usage terms Public Domain Pre-Raphaelitism’s Second Phase Pre-Raphaelitism survived the Brotherhood’s dissolution in the early 1850s, resurfacing in 1857 when Oxford undergraduates William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones teamed up with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and painters Arthur Hughes, Valentine Prinsep and others to decorate the Oxford Union debating chamber with Arthurian murals. In London, Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Ruskin, Prinsep and painter Ford Madox Brown taught art classes at the Working Men’s College, a Christian Socialist institution that sought to give working class men access to a liberal education. These adventures put the wind back in the sails of the Pre-Raphaelite movement; in 1861, Ford Madox Brown and architect Philip Webb (among others) joined Morris, Burne-Jones and Rossetti in founding a decorative arts firm which would become Morris & Co. As a protest against mass-production in the industrial era, the firm’s designers revived hand-crafting and old techniques in order to emphasise the unique qualities and the beauty of natural materials, inaugurating the Arts and Crafts Movement. Literary Success and Controversy Important literary developments of this period included a volume of William Morris’s poems, The Defence of Guenevere (1858), and George Meredith’s Modern Love (1862), a scandalous sonnet sequence about marital breakdown. Christina Rossetti’s poetry collection, Goblin Market (1862), was the first unqualified Pre-Raphaelite literary success. Illustrated by her brother Dante Gabriel in a style that would become widely imitated, it was also a landmark publication in terms of Victorian book illustration. Critical reaction against Algernon Charles Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads 1866, whose subjects included necrophilia, sado-masochism and blasphemy, caused the publisher to withdraw the volume. Championed first by the Pre-Raphaelites and later by the Aesthetes of the fin-de-siècle, Swinburne’s controversial ideas about poetry’s purpose evolved into an aesthetic philosophy that elevated artistic quality over moral, political or social content. Pre-Raphaelitism’s Later Stages & Influence Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Poems, 1870 attracted the critical ire of Robert Buchanan. His excoriating review, entitled ‘The Fleshly School of Poetry’, attacked Pre-Raphaelite poetry for its eroticism, medievalism and general rebellion against cultural norms.[5] The very qualities derided by Buchanan attracted influential critic Walter Pater, who took over from John Ruskin as defender of the Pre-Raphaelites. Pater’s essays praising the art and poetry of Morris and Rossetti would become seminal works of Aestheticism. They were reprinted in various versions and editions from 1868 to the late 1880s, including Appreciations: With An Essay on Style (1889). Proto-aesthetic qualities were also evident in Pre-Raphaelite paintings of the 1870s and 1880s which featured striking, sensual figures in narratively ambiguous situations. Examples include Rossetti’s and Astarte Syriaca (1877) and The Day-Dream (1880) and Burne-Jones’s Laus Veneris (1875) and The Golden Stairs (1880), works which anticipated Symbolist art. During the 1880s, the Arts and Crafts Movement’s celebration of natural forms, artisanal craftsmanship and collaboration informed Morris’s developing socialism. In publications, lectures and addresses to striking workers, he called for a social revolution, arguing that industrial capitalism had exploited labourers by alienating them from their work and from each other. In 1884 Morris founded The Socialist League and become editor of its journal, The Commonweal, where his utopian novel News from Nowhere (1890) was initially serialised. The novel imagines a post-revolutionary England that has returned to the simplicity of a pre-industrial era, where class distinctions have been abolished, and mankind has been reconnected with the natural world. Today this novel is seen as a foundational text of the environmental movement. William Morris’s News from Nowhere News from Nowhere by William Morris, 1890. Frontispiece illustration depicts a Socialist ideal of freedom, equality and fraternity across the globe. Usage terms Public Domain Examining the interactions of word, image and design remained a preoccupation of late Pre-Raphaelitism. In 1891, William Morris founded the Kelmscott Press where he designed and manufactured beautifully illustrated books. The Press’s crowning achievement was The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (1896), illustrated by Edward Burne-Jones. Literary Pre-Raphaelitism found new admirers in Aesthetes and Decadents like Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, Arthur Symons and Ernest Dowson. The spirit of The Germ informed magazines such as The Yellow Book (1894-7) and The Savoy (1896), publications which presented work by Yeats, Beardsley, Symons, Walter Sickert and Joseph Conrad. A Book of Fifty Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley Aubrey Beardsley’s cover design for magazine The Savoy, here reprinted in 1897. The Aesthetes and Decadents were strongly influenced by Pre-Raphaelitism. Though the extraordinary amount of negative criticism they attracted (and still attract) might lead us to think otherwise, it is important to remember that the Pre-Raphaelites were not only dreamers, but also innovators. Though part of a complex and protean movement, the Pre-Raphaelites were united in their refusal to recognise boundaries between literature and fine art, their insistence on experimenting with material, form and technique, and their irrepressible, unrespectable spirit in an age that prized conformity. Footnotes [1] Oscar Wilde, ‘The English Renaissance of Art’, Essays and Lectures by Oscar Wilde (London: Methuen, 1908), p.120. [2] Tractarianism grew out of the Oxford Movement (1833-41), which advocated, among other things, the restoration of religious rituals long abandoned by the Church of England. Its views were widely regarded as uncomfortably sympathetic to Roman Catholicism. [3] Charles Dickens, ‘Old Lamps for New Ones’, Household Words, 12 (15 June 1850), p.12. [4] The ‘Moxon illustrated edition’ of Tennyson’s Poems (London: Moxon, 1857). [5] Robert Buchanan, ‘The Fleshly School of Poetry: Mr D G Rossetti’ first published in The Contemporary Review, 18 (August-November 1871). Written byDinah Roe Dr Dinah Roe is a Senior Lecturer in 19th century literature at Oxford Brookes University. She specialises in Victorian poetry, specifically that of the Pre-Raphaelites and is planning a book on the interactions of literary and visual arts in Pre-Raphaelite art. The text in this article is available under the Creative Commons License. POE Edgar Allan Poe & Gothic Horror Published by Melanie on 12th October 2020 Edgar Allan Poe, one of my favourite writers, deserves more than one post. He had an extortionary and miserable life, a mysterious death, wrote detective fiction, gothic horror, gothic romance and an early form of sci-fi. Edgar Allan Poe is a fascinating character of history and I will be returning to him again and again on this blog. But for now, let’s look at his influence on Gothic Horror. Gothic Horror Gothic fiction is a sub-genre of horror and has a very recognizable style. Think dark and moody scenery, bleak and hopeless, often with religious elements and a general downer on life and humanity. It often combines the intensely realistic characters with the paranormal. Perhaps the example most know is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Edgar Allan Poe is one of the great gothic writers you have to know. Death, death and more death Even just a glance over Poe’s works suggests he had a preoccupation with several themes. His work tends to focus on death, insanity, guilt and is often from the murderer’s perspective. Poe’s preoccupations were pretty standard for the time. In the Victorian era, they had a somewhat unusual relationship with death. Perhaps most markedly, people would take photographs with recently deceased family members as mementoes. You can find a lot of these online. They’re sad and a little disturbing to a modern audience. But, back in the Victorian era, death was closer and, if not more accepted, then frequent enough that it was better endured. And disease was naturally a big killer. There were frequent cholera outbreaks in North American and Europe. Consequently, death seemed always around the corner. And it wasn’t until 1895 that cholera was discovered to pass through water. That fun fact was discovered by John Snow (no, not that one) and Extra Credits does a great video about it you can watch here. Presumably, it was the frequent cholera outbreaks which likely inspired the Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, a short story about a plague wiping out a ball held by Prince Prospero, ending on the upbeat note: And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar is one of Poe’s more interesting stories. The story is really very chilling, even to a modern reader. It’s often described as hoax fiction. In many ways, it’s the same kind of fake fiction thing you’d find randomly posted on the internet for views. Though far better written. The narrator claims to be giving a true account of his actions, which the public had started gossiping about. A student of mesmerism, the narrator is interested in what would happen if someone was mesmerised at the moment of death. Victorians had too much free time, apparently. After finding out a friend of his, Ernest Valdemar is dying of phthisis (tuberculosis), he asks him if he can perform the mesmerism. The experiment goes ahead. What follows is a dead creepy description of a not alive but not a dead man begging to be allowed to pass on. When the mesmerism is lifted, he dies in a pretty gruesome and spectacular way. The final paragraph, and the one that everyone quotes, is not for the squeamish. …within the space of a single minute, or even less, shrunk –crumbled –absolutely rotted away beneath my hands. Upon the bed, before that whole company, there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome –of detestable putridity. As incredible as it sounds, may readers took the story as a scientific report. It’s important to remember that mesmerism was terribly in fashion in this era. Many took the article as fact. George C. Eveleth, a medical student, even wrote to Poe saying: “I have strenuously held that it was true. But I tell you that I strongly suspect it for a hoax.” Sharp man that George. The Tell-Tale Heart iT’s TRue! yes, i have been ill, very ill. But why do you say that I have lost control of my mind, why do you say that I am mad? Can you not see that I have full control of my mind? Is it not clear that I am not mad? Indeed, the illness only made my mind, my feelings, my senses stronger, more powerful. My sense of hearing especially became more powerful. I could hear sounds I had never heard before. I heard sounds from heaven; and I heard sounds from hell! Edgar Allan Poe Tell Tale Heart Listen! Listen, and I will tellyou how it happened. You will see, you will hear how healthy my mind is. It is impossible to say how the idea first entered my head. There was no reason for what I did. I did not hate the old man; I even loved him. He had never hurt me. I did not want his money. I think it was his eye. His eye was like the eye of a vulture, the eye of one of those terrible birds that watch and wait while an animal dies, and then fall upon the dead body and pull it to pieces to eat it. When the old man looked at me with his vulture eye a cold feeling went up and down my Edgar Allan Poe: Storyteller back; even my blood became cold. And so, I finally decided I had to kill the old man and close that eye forever! So you think that I am mad? A madman cannot plan. But you should have seen me. During all of that week I was as friendly to the old man as I could be, and warm, and loving. Every night about twelve o’clock I slowly opened his door. And when the door was opened wide enough I put my hand in, and then my head. In my hand I held a light covered over with a cloth so that no light showed. And I stood there quietly. Then, carefully, I lifted the cloth, just a little, so that a single, thin, small light fell across that eye. For seven nights I did this, seven long nights, every night at midnight. Always the eye was closed, so it was impossible for me to do the work. For it was not the old man I felt I had to kill; it was the eye, his Evil Eye. And every morning I went to his room, and with a warm, friendly voice I asked him how he had slept. He could not guess that every night, just at twelve, I looked in at him as he slept. The eighth night I was more than usually careful as I opened the door. The hands of a clock move more quickly than did my hand. Never before had I felt so strongly my own power; I was now sure of success. The old man was lying there not dreaming that I was at his door. Suddenly he moved in his bed. You may think I became afraid. But no. The darkness in his room was thick and black. I knew he could not see the opening of the door. I continued to push the door, slowly, softly. I put in my head. I put in my hand, with the covered light. Suddenly the old man sat straight up in bed and cried, “Who’s there??!” I stood quite still. For a whole hour I did not move. Nor did I hear him again lie down in his bed. He just sat there, listening. Then I heard a sound, a low cry of fear which escaped from the old man. Now I knew that he was sitting up in his bed, filled with fear; I knew that he knew that I was there. He did not see me there. He could not hear me there. He felt me there. Now he knew that Death was standing there. Slowly, little by little, I lifted the cloth, until a small, small light escaped from under it to fall upon — to fall upon that vulture eye! It was open — wide, wide open, and my anger increased as it looked straight at me. I could not see the old man’s face. Only that eye, that 65 trouble me no more! Edgar Allan Poe hard blue eye, and the blood in my body became like ice.Have I not told you that my hearing had become unusually strong? Now I could hear a quick, low, soft sound, like the sound of a clock heard through a wall. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. I tried to stand quietly. But the sound grew louder. The old man’s fear must have been great indeed. And as the sound grew louder my anger became greater and more painful. But it was more than anger. In the quiet night, in the dark silence of the bedroom my anger became fear — for the heart was beating so loudly that I was sure some one must hear. The time had come! I rushed into the room, crying, “Die! Die!” The old man gave a loud cry of fear as I fell upon him and held the bedcovers tightly over his head. Still his heart was beating; but I smiled as I felt that success was near. For many minutes that heart continued to beat; but at last the beating stopped. The old man was dead. I took away the bedcovers and held my ear over his heart. There was no sound. Yes. He was dead! Dead as a stone. His eye would So I am mad, you say? You should have seen how careful I was to put the body where no one could find it. First I cut off the head, then the arms and the legs. I was careful not to let a single drop of blood fall on the floor. I pulled up three of the boards that formed the floor, and put the pieces of the body there. Then I put the boards down again, carefully, so carefully that no human eye could see that they had been moved. As I finished this work I heard that someone was at the door. It was now four o’clock in the morning, but still dark. I had no fear, however, as I went down to open the door. Three men were at the door, three officers of the Edgar Allan Poe: Storyteller police. One of the neighbors had heard the old man’s cry and had called the police; these three had come to ask questions and to search the house. I asked the policemen to come in. The cry, I said, was my own, in a dream. The old man, I said, was away; he had gone to visit a friend in the country. I took them through the whole house, telling them to search it all, to search well. I led them finally into the old man’s bed- room. As if playing a game with them I asked them to sit down and talk for a while. My easy, quiet manner made the policemen believe my story. So they sat talking with me in a friendly way. But although I answered them in the same way, I soon wished that they would go. My head hurt and there was a strange sound in my ears. I talked more, and faster. The sound became clearer. And still they sat and talked. Suddenly I knew that the sound was not in my ears, it was not just inside my head. At that moment I must have become quite white. I talked still faster and louder. And the sound, too, became louder. It was a quick, low, soft sound, like the sound of a clock heard through a wall, a sound I knew well. Louder it became, and louder. Why did the men not go? Louder, louder. I stood up and walked quickly around the room. I pushed my chair across the floor to make more noise, to cover that terrible sound. I talked even louder. And still the men sat and talked, and smiled. Was it possible that they could not hear?? No! They heard! I was certain of it. They knew! Now it was they who were playing a game with me. I was suffering more than I could bear, from their smiles, and from that sound. Louder, louder, louder! Suddenly I could bear it no longer. I pointed at the boards and cried, “Yes! Yes, I killed him. Pull up the boards and you shall see! I killed him. But why does his heart not stop beating?! Why does it not stop!?”
Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in. Think about these artists in relat
European and American Art in the 18th and 19th Centuries Top of Form Search for: Bottom of Form Neoclassicism Neoclassicism Neoclassicism refers to movements in the arts that draw inspiration from the “classical” art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Learning Objectives Identify attributes of Neoclassicism and some of its key figures Key Takeaways Key Points The height of Neoclassicism coincided with the 18th century Enlightenment era, and continued into the early 19th century. With the increasing popularity of the Grand Tour, it became fashionable to collect antiquities as souvenirs, which spread the Neoclassical style through Europe and America. Neoclassicism spanned all of the arts including painting, sculpture, the decorative arts, theatre, literature, music, and architecture. Generally speaking, Neoclassicism is defined stylistically by its use of straight lines, minimal use of color, simplicity of form and, of course, an adherence to classical values and techniques. Rococo, with its emphasis on asymmetry, bright colors, and ornamentation is typically considered to be the direct opposite of the Neoclassical style. Key Terms Grand Tour: The traditional tour of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s. Enlightenment: A concept in spirituality, philosophy, and psychology related to achieving clarity of perception, reason, and knowledge. Rococo: A style of baroque architecture and decorative art, from 18th century France, having elaborate ornamentation. The classical revival, also known as Neoclassicism, refers to movements in the arts that draw inspiration from the “classical” art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. The height of Neoclassicism coincided with the 18th century Enlightenment era, and continued into the early 19th century. The dominant styles during the 18th century were Baroque and Rococo. The latter, with its emphasis on asymmetry, bright colors, and ornamentation is typically considered to be the direct opposite of the Neoclassical style, which is based on order, symmetry, and simplicity. With the increasing popularity of the Grand Tour, it became fashionable to collect antiquities as souvenirs. This tradition of collecting laid the foundations for many great art collections and spread the classical revival throughout Europe and America. Neoclassicism grew to encompass all of the arts, including painting, sculpture, the decorative arts, theatre, literature, music, and architecture. The style can generally be identified by its use of straight lines, minimal use of color, simplicity of form and, of course, its adherence to classical values and techniques. In music, the period saw the rise of classical music and in painting, the works of Jaques-Louis David became synonymous with the classical revival. However, Neoclassicism was felt most strongly in architecture, sculpture, and the decorative arts, where classical models in the same medium were fairly numerous and accessible. Sculpture in particular had a great wealth of ancient models from which to learn, however, most were Roman copies of Greek originals. Rinaldo Rinaldi, Chirone Insegna Ad Achille a Suonare La Cetra: Executed in a classical style and adhering to classical themes, this sculpture is a typical example of the Neoclassical style. Neoclassical architecture was modeled after the classical style and, as with other art forms, was in many ways a reaction against the exuberant Rococo style. The architecture of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio became very popular in the mid 18th century. Additionally, archaeological ruins found in Pompeii and Herculaneum informed many of the stylistic values of Neoclassical interior design based on the ancient Roman rediscoveries. Villa Godi Valmarana, Lonedo di Lugo, Veneto, Italy: Villa Godi was one of the first works by Palladio. Its austere facade, arched doorways and minimal symmetry reflect his adherence to classical stylistic values. Neoclassical Paintings Neoclassical painting, produced by men and women, drew its inspiration from the classical art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Learning Objectives Discuss the overarching themes present in Neoclassical painting Key Takeaways Key Points Neoclassical subject matter draws from the history and general culture of ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. It is often described as a reaction to the lighthearted and “frivolous” subject matter of the Rococo. Neoclassical painting is characterized by the use of straight lines, a smooth paint surface, the depiction of light, a minimal use of color, and the clear, crisp definition of forms. The works of Jacques-Louis David are usually hailed as the epitome of Neoclassical painting. David attracted over 300 students to his studio, including Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Marie-Guillemine Benoist, and Angélique Mongez, the last of whom tried to extend the Neoclassical tradition beyond her teacher’s death. Key Terms Enlightenment: A philosophical movement in 17th and 18th century Europe. Also known as the Age of Reason, this was an era that emphasized rationalism. Background and Characteristics Neoclassicism is the term for movements in the arts that draw inspiration from the classical art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. The height of Neoclassicism coincided with the 18th century Enlightenment era and continued into the early 19th century. With the advent of the Grand Tour—a much enjoyed trip around Europe intended to introduce young men to the extended culture and people of their world—it became fashionable to collect antiquities as souvenirs. This tradition laid the foundations of many great collections and ensured the spread of the Neoclassical revival throughout Europe and America. The French Neoclassical style would greatly contribute to the monumentalism of the French Revolution, with the emphasis of both lying in virtue and patriotism. Neoclassical painting is characterized by the use of straight lines, a smooth paint surface hiding brush work, the depiction of light, a minimal use of color, and the clear, crisp definition of forms. Its subject matter usually relates to either Greco-Roman history or other cultural attributes, such as allegory and virtue. The softness of paint application and light-hearted and “frivolous” subject matter that characterize Rococo painting is recognized as the opposite of the Neoclassical style. The works of Jacques-Louis David are widely considered to be the epitome of Neoclassical painting. Many painters combined aspects of Romanticism with a vaguely Neoclassical style before David’s success, but these works did not strike any chords with audiences. Typically, the subject matter of Neoclassical painting consisted of the depiction of events from history, mythological scenes, and the architecture and ruins of ancient Rome. The School of David Neoclassical painting gained new momentum with the great success of David’s Oath of the Horatii at the Paris Salon of 1785. The painting had been commissioned by the royal government and was created in a style that was the perfect combination of idealized structure and dramatic effect. The painting created an uproar, and David was proclaimed to have perfectly defined the Neoclassical taste in his painting style. He thereby became the quintessential painter of the movement. In The Oath of the Horatii, the perspective is perpendicular to the picture plane. It is defined by a dark arcade behind several classical heroic figures. There is an element of theatre, or staging, that evokes the grandeur of opera. David soon became the leading French painter and enjoyed a great deal of government patronage. Over the course of his long career, he attracted over 300 students to his studio. Jacques-Louis David. The Oath of the Horatii (1784): Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, a Neoclassical painter of history and portraiture, was one of David’s students. Deeply devoted to classical techniques, Ingres is known to have believed himself to be a conservator of the style of the ancient masters, although he later painted subjects in the Romantic style. Examples of his Neoclassical work include the paintings Virgil Reading to Augustus (1812), and Oedipus and the Sphinx (1864). Both David and Ingres made use of the highly organized imagery, straight lines, and clearly defined forms that were typical of Neoclassical painting during the 18th century. Virgil Reading to Augustus by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1812): Oil on canvas. The Walters Art Museum. While tradition and the rules governing the Académie Française barred women from studying from the nude model (a necessity for executing an effective Neoclassical painting), David believed that women were capable of producing successful art of the style and welcomed many as his students. Among the most successful were Marie-Guillemine Benoist, who eventually won commissions from the Bonaparte family, and Angélique Mongez, who won patrons from as far away as Russia. Self-Portrait by Marie-Guillemine Benoist (1788): In this untraced oil on canvas, Benoist (then Leroulx de la Ville) paints a section from David’s acclaimed Neoclassical painting of Justinian’s blinded general Belisarius begging for alms. Her return of the viewer’s gaze and classical attire show her confidence as an artist and conformity to artistic trends. Mongez is best known for being one of the few women to paint monumental subjects that often included the male nude, a feat for which hostile critics often attacked her. Theseus and Pirithoüs Clearing the Earth of Brigands, Deliver Two Women from the Hands of Their Abductors by Angélique Mongez (1806): Oil on canvas. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. Mongez and Antoine-Jean Gros, another of David’s students, tried to carry on the Neoclassical tradition after David’s death in 1825 but were unsuccessful in face of the growing popularity of Romanticism. Neoclassical Sculpture A reaction against the “frivolity” of the Rococo, Neoclassical sculpture depicts serious subjects influenced by the ancient Greek and Roman past. Learning Objectives Explain what motifs are common to Neoclassical sculpture Key Takeaways Key Points Neoclassicism emerged in the second half of the 18th century, following the excavations of the ruins of Pompeii, which sparked renewed interest in the Graeco-Roman world. Neoclassical sculpture is defined by its symmetry, life-sized to monumental scale, and its serious subject matter. The subjects of Neoclassical sculpture ranged from mythological figures to heroes of the past to major contemporary personages. Neoclassical sculpture could capture its subject as either idealized or in a more veristic manner. Key Terms verism: An ancient Roman technique, in which the subject is depicted with “warts and all” realism. As with painting, Neoclassicism made its way into sculpture in the second half of the 18th century. In addition to the ideals of the Enlightenment, the excavations of the ruins at Pompeii began to spark a renewed interest in classical culture. Whereas Rococo sculpture consisted of small-scale asymmetrical objects focusing on themes of love and gaiety, neoclassical sculpture assumed life-size to monumental scale and focused on themes of heroism, patriotism, and virtue. In his tomb sculpture, the Enlightenment philosophe Voltaire is honored in true Neoclassical form. In a style influenced by ancient Roman verism, he appears as an elderly man to honor his wisdom. He wears a contemporary commoner’s blouse to convey his humbleness, and his robe assumes the appearance of an ancient Roman toga from a distance. Like his ancient predecessors, his facial expression and his body language suggest an air of scholarly seriousness. Voltaire’s tomb.: Panthéon, Paris. Neoclassical sculptors benefited from an abundance of ancient models, albeit Roman copies of Greek bronzes in most cases. The leading Neoclassical sculptors enjoyed much acclaim during their lifetimes. One of them was Jean-Antoine Houdon, whose work was mainly portraits, very often as busts, which do not sacrifice a strong impression of the sitter’s personality to idealism. His style became more classical as his long career continued, and represents a rather smooth progression from Rococo charm to classical dignity. Unlike some Neoclassical sculptors he did not insist on his sitters wearing Roman dress, or being unclothed. He portrayed most of the great figures of the Enlightenment, and traveled to America to produce a statue of George Washington, as well as busts of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and other luminaries of the new republic. His portrait bust of Washington depicts the first President of the United States as a stern, yet competent leader, with the influence of Roman verism evident in his wrinkled forehead, receding hairline, and double chin. Bust of George Washington by Jean-Antoine Houdon (c. 1786) National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC. The Italian artist Antonio Canova and the Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen were both based in Rome, and as well as portraits produced many ambitious life-size figures and groups. Both represented the strongly idealizing tendency in Neoclassical sculpture. Hebe by Antonio Canova  (1800–05).: Hermitage State Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. Canova has a lightness and grace, where Thorvaldsen is more severe. The difference is exemplified in Canova’s Hebe (1800–05), whose contrapposto almost mimics lively dance steps as she prepares to pour nectar and ambrosia from a small amphora into a chalice, and Thorvaldsen’s Monument to Copernicus (1822-30), whose subject sits upright with a compass and armillary sphere. Monument to Copernicus by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1822–30).: Bronze. Warsaw, Poland. Neoclassical Architecture Neoclassical architecture looks to the classical past of the Graeco-Roman era, the Renaissance, and classicized Baroque to convey a new era based on Enlightenment principles. Learning Objectives Identify what sets Neoclassical architecture apart from othermovements Key Takeaways Key Points Neoclassical architecture was produced by the Neoclassical movement in the mid 18th century. It manifested in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of the classicizing features of Late Baroque. The first phase of Neoclassicism in France is expressed in the “Louis XVI style” of architects like Ange-Jacques Gabriel (Petit Trianon, 1762–68) while the second phase is expressed in the late 18th-century Directoire style. Neoclassical architecture emphasizes its planar qualities, rather than sculptural volumes. Projections and recessions and their effects of light and shade are more flat, while sculptural bas- reliefs are flatter and tend to be enframed in friezes, tablets, or panels. Structures such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Panthéon in Paris, and Chiswick House in London have elements that convey the influence of ancient Greek and Roman architecture, as well as some influence from the Renaissance and Late Baroque periods. Neoclassical architecture, which began in the mid 18th century, looks to the classical past of the Graeco-Roman era, the Renaissance, and classicized Baroque to convey a new era based on Enlightenment principles. This movement manifested in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing features of Late Baroque. In its purest form, Neoclassicism is a style principally derived from the architecture of Classical Greece and Rome. In form, Neoclassical architecture emphasizes the wall and maintains separate identities to each of its parts. The first phase of Neoclassicism in France is expressed in the Louis XVI style of architects like Ange-Jacques Gabriel (Petit Trianon, 1762–68). Ange-Jacques Gabriel was the Premier Architecte at Versailles, and his Neoclassical designs for the royal palace dominated mid 18th century French architecture. Ange-Jacques Gabriel. Château of the Petit Trianon.: The Petit Trianon in the park at Versailles demonstrates the neoclassical architectural style under Louis XVI. After the French Revolution, the second phase of Neoclassicism was expressed in the late 18th century Directoire style. The Directoire style reflected the Revolutionary belief in the values of republican Rome. This style was a period in the decorative arts, fashion, and especially furniture design, concurrent with the post-Revolution French Directoire (November 2, 1795–November 10, 1799). The style uses Neoclassical architectural forms, minimal carving, planar expanses of highly grained veneers, and applied decorative painting. The Directoire style was primarily established by the architects and designers Charles Percier (1764–1838) and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853), who collaborated on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which is considered emblematic of French neoclassical architecture. Arc de Triomphe: The Arc de Triomphe, although finished in the early 19th century, is emblematic of French neoclassical architecture that dominated the Directoire period. Though Neoclassical architecture employs the same classical vocabulary as Late Baroque architecture, it tends to emphasize its planar qualities rather than its sculptural volumes. Projections, recessions, and their effects on light and shade are more flat. Sculptural bas-reliefs are flatter and tend to be framed in friezes, tablets, or panels. Its clearly articulated individual features are isolated rather than interpenetrating, autonomous, and complete in themselves. Even sacred architecture was classicized during the Neoclassical period. The Panthéon, located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Geneviève and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics. However, during the French Revolution, the Panthéon was secularized and became the resting place of Enlightenment icons such as Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Designer Jacques-Germain Soufflot had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the Gothic cathedral with classical principles, but its role as a mausoleum required the great Gothic windows to be blocked. In 1780, Soufflot died and was replaced by his student, Jean-Baptiste Rondelet. Jacques-Germain Soufflot (original architect) and Jean-Baptiste Rondelet. The Panthéon.: Begun 1758, completed 1790. Similar to a Roman temple, the Panthéon is entered through a portico that consists of three rows of columns (in this case, Corinthian) topped by a Classical pediment. In a fashion more closely related to ancient Greece, the pediment is adorned with reliefs throughout the triangular space. Beneath the pediment, the inscription on the entablature translates as: “To the great men, the grateful homeland.” The dome, on the other hand, is more influenced by Renaissance and Baroque predecessors, such as St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London. Intellectually, Neoclassicism was symptomatic of a desire to return to the perceived “purity” of the arts of Rome. The movement was also inspired by a more vague perception (“ideal”) of Ancient Greek arts and, to a lesser extent, 16th century Renaissance Classicism, which was also a source for academic Late Baroque architecture. There is an anti-Rococo strain that can be detected in some European architecture of the earlier 18th century. This strain is most vividly represented in the Palladian architecture of Georgian Britain and Ireland. Lord Burlington. Chiswick House: The design of Chiswick House in West London was influenced by that of Palladio’s domestic architecture, particularly the Villa Rotunda in Venice. The stepped dome and temple façade were clearly influenced by the Roman Pantheon. The trend toward the classical is also recognizable in the classicizing vein of Late Baroque architecture in Paris. It is a robust architecture of self-restraint, academically selective now of “the best” Roman models. These models were increasingly available for close study through the medium of architectural engravings of measured drawings of surviving Roman architecture. French Neoclassicism continued to be a major force in academic art through the 19th century and beyond—a constant antithesis to Romanticism or Gothic revivals. A gentleman architect In an undated note, Thomas Jefferson left clear instructions about what he wanted engraved upon his burial marker: Here was buriedThomas JeffersonAuthor of the Declaration of American Independenceof the Statute of Virginia for religious freedomFather of the University of Virginia Jefferson explained, “because by these, as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remembered.” To be certain, there are important achievements Jefferson neglected. He was also the Governor of Virginia, American minister to France, the first Secretary of State, the third president of the United States, and one of the most accomplished gentleman architects in American history. To quote William Pierson, an architectural historian, “In spite of the fact that his training and resources were those of an amateur, he was able to perform with all the insight and boldness of a high professional.” Indeed, even had he never entered political life, Jefferson would be remembered today as one of the earliest proponents of neoclassical architecture in the United States. Jefferson believed art was a powerful tool; it could elicit social change, could inspire the public to seek education, and could bring about a general sense of enlightenment for the American public. If Cicero believed that the goals of a skilled orator were to Teach, to Delight, and To Move, Jefferson believed that the scale and public nature of architecture could fulfill these same aspirations. Thomas Jefferson, Monticello (view from the north), Charlottesville, Virginia, 1770-1806 Return to the classical Jefferson arrived at the College of William and Mary in 1760 and took an immediate interest in the architecture of the college’s campus and of Williamsburg more broadly. A lifelong book lover, Jefferson began his architectural collection while a student. His first two purchases were James Leoni’s The Architecture of A. Palladio (1715-1720) and James Gibbs’ Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture (1732). Although never formally trained as an architect, Jefferson, both while a student and then later in life, expressed dissatisfaction with the architecture that surrounded him in Williamsburg, believing that the Wren-Baroque aesthetic common in colonial Virginia was too British for a North American audience. In an oft-quoted passage from Notes on Virginia (1782), Jefferson critically wrote of the architecture of Williamsburg: “The College and Hospital are rude, mis-shapen piles, which, but that they have roofs, would be taken for brick-kilns. There are no other public buildings but churches and court-houses, in which no attempts are made at elegance.” Thus, when Jefferson began to design his own home, he turned not to the architecture then in vogue around the Williamsburg area, but instead to the classically inspired architecture of Antonio Palladio and James Gibbs. Rather than place his plantation house along the bank of a river—as was the norm for Virginia’s landed gentry during the eighteenth century—Jefferson decided instead to place his home, which he named Monticello (Italian for “little mountain”) atop a solitary hill just outside Charlottesville, Virginia. French Neo-Classicism for an American audience Construction began in 1768 when the hilltop was first cleared and leveled, and Jefferson moved into the completed South Pavilion two years later. The early phase of Monticello’s construction was largely completed by 1771. Jefferson left both Monticello and the United States in 1784 when he accepted an appointment as America Minister to France. Over the next five years, that is, until September 1789 when Jefferson returned to the United States to serve as Secretary of State under newly elected President Washington, Jefferson had the opportunity to visit Classical and Neoclassical architecture in France. Thomas Jefferson, Rotunda, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1819-26 This time abroad had an enormous effect on Jefferson’s architectural designs. The Virginia State Capitol (1785-1789) is a modified version of the Maison Carrée (16 B.C.E.), a Roman temple Jefferson saw during a visit to Nîmes, France. And although Jefferson never went so far as Rome, the influence that the Pantheon (125 C.E.) had over his Rotunda (begun 1817) at the University of Virginia is so evident it hardly need be mentioned. Politics largely consumed Jefferson from his return to the United States until the last day of 1793 when he formally resigned from Washington’s cabinet. From this year until 1809, Jefferson diligently redesigned and rebuilt his home, creating in time one of the most recognized private homes in the history of the United States. In it, Jefferson fully integrated the ideals of French neoclassical architecture for an American audience. In this later construction period, Jefferson fundamentally changed the proportions of Monticello. If the early construction gave the impression of a Palladian two-story pavilion, Jefferson’s later remodeling, based in part on the Hôtel de Salm (1782-87) in Paris, gives the impression of a symmetrical single-story brick home under an austere Doric entablature. The west garden façade—the view that is once again featured on the American nickel—shows Monticello’s most recognized architectural features. The two-column deep extended portico contains Doric columns that support a triangular pediment that is decorated by a semicircular window. Although the short octagonal drum and shallow dome provide Monticello a sense of verticality, the wooden balustrade that circles the roofline provides a powerful sense of horizontality. From the bottom of the building to its top, Monticello is a striking example of French Neoclassical architecture in the United States. Rembrandt Peale, Thomas Jefferson, 1805, oil on linen, 28 x 23 1/2″ (New-York Historical Society) Jefferson changed political parties and was a Democratic-Republican by the time he was elected president. He believed the young United States needed to forge a strong diplomatic relationship with France, a country Jefferson and his political brethren believed were our revolutionary brothers in arms. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that Jefferson designed his own home after the neoclassicism then popular in France, a mode of architecture that was distinct from the style then fashionable in Great Britain. This neoclassicism—with roots in the architecture of ancient Rome—was something Jefferson was able to visit while abroad. Buildings that speak to democratic ideals By helping to introduce classical architecture to the United States, Jefferson intended to reinforce the ideals behind the classical past: democracy, education, rationality, civic responsibility. Because he detested the English, Jefferson continually rejected British architectural precedents for those from France. In doing so, Jefferson reinforced the symbolic nature of architecture. Jefferson did not just design a building; he designed a building that eloquently spoke to the democratic ideals of the United States. This is clearly seen in the Virginia State Capitol, in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, and especially in his own home, Monticello. Vermeer and the Camera Obscura: Part I It is impossible to express the beauty [of the camera obscura image] in words. The art of painting is dead, for this is life itself: or something higher, if we could find a word for it.— Constantijn Huygens, private letter April 13, 1622 Function Vermeer & the CameraObscura Function & history Rediscovery & evidence The camera’s limitations & Vermeer camera Camera obscura resources “The principle of the camera obscura is as simple as it seems magical even today. In a camera obscura the rays of light from an observed scene pass through a small aperture in one side of a closed room in such a way (following the laws of optics) as to cross and re-emerge on the other side of the aperture in a divergent configuration (fig. 1 & 2).” 1 The surroundings of the projected image must be dark for the image to be clear, so the first historical camera obscura experiments were performed in dark rooms with a small hole bored into one of its walls (fig. 3 & 4). In later years the room was transformed into a large, portable box (fig. 5 & 6) and later into small boxes that could be carried under ones arms. (fig. 12, 16, 18 & 21). As will become abundantly clear, there are two types of camera obscura: the camera with an internal observer, which can be either stationary or mobile, and the camera obscura with an external observer, which is always mobile. fig. 1 Principle of the pin-hole camera obscura in Ars magna lucis et umbrae. (p. 121)Athanasius Kircher1646 fig. 2 fig. 3 Illustration of camera obscura from “Sketchbook on military art, including geometry, fortifications, artillery, mechanics, and pyrotechnics” (The background shows Brunelleschi’s Duomo, Florence.)Unknown, possibly ItalianSeventeenth centuryPen and ink on paperLibrary of Congress, Washington D. C. fig. 4 The camera obscura principle as illustrated in: A short account of the eye and nature of vision. Chiefly designed to illustrate the use and advantage of spectacles. Wherein are laid down rules for chusing glasses proper for remedying all the different defects of sight. As also some reasons for preferring a particular kind of glass, fitter than any other made use of for that purpose.James Ayscough 1755Printed by E Say for A Strahan, 1755London fig. 5 Illustration from A New and Complete Dictionary of the Arts and SciencesThomas Jeffreys1754London: Printed for W. Owen fig. 6 Engraving of a “portable” camera obscura in Athanasius Kircher’s Ars Magna Lucis Et Umbrae (1645) The image of the camera obscura has particular properties which makes it quite different from both reality and the photograph: its image is projected upside down, reversed left to right, and its luminosity is very low. A person entering the darkened room must wait a few minutes for his eyes to become accustomed before he can make sense out the projected image. The first phenomenon is due to the laws of optics while the second is due to the necessarily reduced size of the camera’s aperture. History & room-type camera obscuras The discovery and development of camera obscura stands at the crossroads of astronomy, perspective, optics, philosophy,2 magic and art. Those who were initially interested in the device were not only scientists (natural philosophers) but philosophers or inventors—but, until the mid-1600s, as far as we know, never practicing artists. It is impossible to know by whom or when the camera obscura was first theorized. Almost certainly the device itself “was formulized from optical principles that had been accidentally discovered centuries earlier and that are as old as light itself. In the fifth century B.C., the Chinese philosopher Mo Ti noted the ‘image-making properties’ of a small aperture, although it was not instrumentalized. A century later, Aristotle (384–322 BC) was struck by the many crescent-shaped images of the sun that appeared on the ground beneath a tree during an eclipse of the sun, and attributed them to the small spaces between the leaves.”3 Those who has lived for some time in Italy in a house fitted with the typical slatted persiane (shutters) might have experienced the effect of a camera obscura by accident, particularly during the summer months when sun shines all day long. When the shutters are almost closed, every once in a while the direction of the sun rays and particular dispositions of the slats fortuitously create a tiny aperture that functions as a pinhole allowing the person inside the dark room to see part of the landscape outside the window projected on the floor or a wall. fig. 8 Image of a pin-hole camera obscura with the Chinese characters that translate as “sun.”Jing jing ling chiZheng Fu-Guang zhu In the third century B. C., Chinese writer Tuan Cheng-Shih discussed an inverted pagoda that he had seen form through a small hole made in a screen, although he attributed it to reflections in the nearby sea rather than a result of optics. In 1086–1088, the Chinese polymathic scientist and statesman of the Song dynasty Shen Kua (1031–1095), correctly explained the principles of the camera obscura—the focal point, the role of the pinhole and inverted images—using a fitting metaphor of an oar and its oarlock. He compared a ray of light to an oar in its oarlock (pinhole): when the handle is up, the blade of the oar is down, and vice versa. The property of image inversion was later illustrated using the canonical image of a pagoda (fig. 8) in the book Jing jing ling chi (Optical and Other Comments) by Zheng Fu-Guang zhu (1780–1853). In 1038 A.D., the great Arab scholar Al-Hassan Ibn al-Haytham (Latinized as Alhazen; 965–c. 1040) described a working model of the camera obscura in his Perspectiva (i.e., the thirteenth-century Latin translation of his Kitãb al-ma). Alhazen did not actually construct the device because he and his followers were interested in the camera for what it revealed about the behavior of light, not for purposes of representation. He wrote: If the image of the sun at the time of an eclipse—provided it is not a total one—passes through a small round hole onto a plane surface, opposite, it will be crescent-shaped… If the hole is very large, the crescent shape of the image disappears altogether and the light [on the wall] becomes round if the hole is round… with any shaped opening you like, the image always takes the same shape… provided the hole is large and the receiving surface parallel to it. fig. 7 Three-tiered camera obscura, 13th century? (attributed to Roger Bacon) However, Alhazen’s work influenced the English philosopher and Franciscan friar Roger Bacon (c. 1219/20–c. 1292; fig. 7), who was interested in optics. In 1267, Bacon created convincing optical illusions by using mirrors and the basic principles of the camera obscura. Later, he used a camera obscura to project the image of the sun directly upon an opposite wall. For centuries, the camera obscura was primarily used to watch solar eclipses because the human eye cannot tolerate the amount of light that floods into it when it looks directly at the sun. In any case, all of the first cameras were literally “dark rooms.” Inside the room, one could see what was happening outside. In 1490, Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was the first to suggest that the camera obscura might be of interest to the artist. If the facade of a building, or a place, or a landscape is illuminated by the sun and a small hole is drilled in the wall of a room in a building facing this, which is not directly lighted by the sun, then all objects illuminated by the sun will send their images through this aperture and will appear, upside down, on the wall facing the hole. You will catch these pictures on a piece of white paper, which placed vertically in the room not far from that opening, and you will see all the above-mentioned objects on this paper in their natural shapes or colors, but they will appear smaller and upside down, on account of crossing of the rays at that aperture. If these pictures originate from a place which is illuminated by the sun, they will appear colored on the paper exactly as they are. The paper should be very thin and must be viewed from the back. These descriptions, however, would remain unknown until Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746–1822) deciphered and published them in 1797. The oldest known drawing of a camera obscura (fig. 9) is found in De Radio Astronomica et Geometrica (1545), by the Dutch physician, mathematician and instrument maker Gemma Frisius (1508– 1555), in which he described how he used the camera obscura to study the solar eclipse of January 24, 1544. In fact, the oldest employment of the camera obscura, dating back to antiquity, was for astronomical purposes, for safely observing phenomena connected with the sun, in particular solar eclipses and sunspots. Since the stationary room-type camera obscura had no focusing mechanism, the only way the viewer could render its often blurry imagessharper was to move a sheet of paper on which they were received back and forth until the point at which the image came into focus was found. fig. 9 First published picture of camera obscura in Gemma Frisius’ 1545 book De Radio Astronomica et Geometrica The lens & diaphragm The first documented mention of a “glass disc,” probably a convex lens, used in conjunction with the camera obscura is in the Italian mathematician Girolamo Cardano’s (1501–1576), De subtilitate, vol. I, Libri IV(1551). He suggested to use it to view “what takes place in the street when the sun shines” and advised to use a very white sheet of paper as a projection screen so the colors wouldn’t be dull. Eight years later Giovanni Battista della Porta (1535?–1615), an Italian scholar, polymath and playwright, wrote that the camera obscura, which he called a “obscurum cubiculum,” made it “possible for anyone ignorant in the art of painting to draw with a pencil or pen, the image of any object whatsoever” (Magiae Naturalis, first edition, 1558). With Della Porta’s book, written in a simple and popular language, news of the camera obscura spread rapidly. Magiae Naturalis was so successful that it was translated into Arabic and several European languages, including Dutch. This explains why Della Porta was sometimes considered as the inventor of the camera obscura. Della Porta also compared the human eye to the camera obscura: “For the image is let into the eye through the eyeball just as here through the window.” As early as 1568, Daniele Barbaro (1513–1570), a Venetian patrician famous for his editions of the Roman architectural writer Vitruvius, had proposed that the camera be used explicitly for producing drawings in correct “perspective” in his La pratica della perspettiva (1568; fig. 10), one of the most influential texts on perspective at that time. He called it “a most beautiful experiment concerning perspective.” Close all shutters and doors until no light enters the camera except through the lens, and opposite hold a piece of paper, which you move forward and backward until the scene appears in the sharpest detail. There on the paper you will see the whole view as it really is, with its distances, its colors and shadows and motion, the clouds, the water twinkling, the birds flying. By holding the paper steady you can trace the whole perspective with a pen, shade it and delicately color it from nature. While Leonardo encouraged his readers to make paintings that correspond with the images that appear inside the camera obscura, Barbaro actually recommended coloring them, most likely because, not being an artist, he naively assumed that laying in colors might be easily done. But perhaps more importantly, Barbaro described how to improve the image of the camera with a lens: You should choose the glass [lens] which does the best, and you should cover it so much that you leave a little in the middle clear and open and you will see a still brighter affect. By “covering it so much that you leave a little in the middle clear and open” Barbaro evidently meant that the diameter of the lens should be partially narrowed toward its middle, or “stopped down” in modern photography lexicon, in order to create a sharper image, thereby discovering the diaphragm. He used a bi-convex lens taken from a pair of ordinary spectacles used by old men—concave lenses suitable for short-sighted young people brought little success. A lens greatly improves the quality of the camera’s image because it allows for a much larger aperture that significantly increases the luminosity of the projection (the pinhole camera produces an image so dim that it is useless for the purpose of painting). Barbaro himself also suggested it could be used to make copies of maps. fig. 10 La pratica della perspettiva… (pp. 192–193) Daniele BarbaroPublsihed: Venice, C. & R. Borgominieri, 1568 Following Barabaro’s improvements of the lens, diaphragm and focusing mechanism, many writers began to recommend the camera as an aid to artists. For example, in 1521 Cesare Cesariano (1475–1543), an Italian painter, architect and architectural theorist, wrote that other than for astronomers and opticians (anyone who studies optics) the camera would be of great use for painters. Some modern writers have proposed that seventeenth-century lenses were largely inadequate for the purpose of painting with a camera obscura. But, according to Cartesn Wirth, “it was not so much the technology of lens grinding, which was still fairly undeveloped at the beginning of the seventeenth century, but rather the limitations of glass technology that presented a problem with regard to producing an objective for a camera obscura with a significantly large diameter. Defects in the glass or an irregularity in grounding have devastating effects in astronomic optics. In contrast, the image of the projection in a camera obscura is fairly insensitive to such faults. Many of the defects that are disturbing in a telescope optic are barely–or not at all– perceptible in the projecting optic of the camera. An unbiased viewer with no concept of a perfect optic might even admire the multiple optical effects in the image of the projection rather than judging them to be a disturbance.”4 Portable camera obscura In 1572, the German mathematician Friedrich Risner (c.1533–1580) proposed a portable camera obscura drawing aid; a lightweight wooden hut with lenses in each of its four walls that would project images of the surroundings on a paper cube in the middle. The construction could be carried on two wooden poles, like a litter used to transport royalty. A very similar setup was illustrated in 1645 in Athanasius Kircher’s Ars Magna Lucis Et Umbrae (fig. 11). fig. 11 Engraving of a “portable” camera obscura in Ars Magna Lucis Et UmbraeAthanasius Kircher1645 Mirror The use of a mirror in conjunction with the camera obscura was first suggested in a manuscript Theorica speculi concavi sphaerici by the Venitian Ettore Ausonio (1520–1570). In 1585, Giovanni Battista Benedetti (1530–1590) proposed the use of a mirror angled at 45 degrees to the direction of the light coming from the lens in order to right the image. In those times, however, mirrors were simply polished metal plates and as such were probably much less reflective than even the cheapest of today’s mirrors—the highly reflective mirrors of today were invented somewhere around 1850 when opticians learned how to apply a shiny silver film to a polished flat piece of glass. fig. 12 Illustration showing how to operate a camera obscura in The American educator; completely remodelled and rewritten from original text of the New practical reference library, with new plans and additional material (vol. 2; p. 652)Ellsworth Foster and James L. Hughes Publsiher: Ralph Durham Co. Chicago (IL) 1919 fig. 13 “Chambre noire portative pour dessin”Adolphe GanotEngraving from: Cours de physique purement expérimentale et sans mathématiques… , chez l’AuteurParis, 1863, p. 404, n° 245. In 1604, the term “camera obscura” (in Italian=dark room), was coined by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) who developed the first portable camera obscura in the form of a tent (fig. 13), with a sheet of paper inside onto which the camera’s image could be projected. According to a letter written to Francis Bacon by Sir Henry Wotton (1568–1639) who met Kepler in Linz in 1620, this portable camera had been invented by Kepler for sketching the complete 360° panorama (although Wotton reported that Kepler used the camera obscura to draw from nature Kepler claimed he used it “as a mathematician, not as a painter.”) He hath a little black tent which he can suddenly set up where he will in a field, and it is convertible (like Wind-mill) to all quarters at pleasure capable of not much more than one man, as I conceive, and perhaps at no great ease; exactly close and dark, save at one hole, about an inch and a half in Diameter, to which he applies a long perspective-trunke, with the convex glass fitted to the said hole, and the concave taken out at the other end, which extendeth to about the middle of this erected Tent, through which the visible radiations all the objects without are intromitted, falling upon a paper, which is accommodated to receive them; and so he traceth them with his pen in their natural appearance, turning his little Tent round by degrees, till he hath designed the whole aspect of the field: this I have described to your Lordship, because I think there might be good use made of it for Chorography [the making of maps and topographical views]: For otherwise, to make landskips by it were illiberal, though surely no Painter can do them so precisely. (Reliquiae Wottoniae, London 1651, pp. 413-414.) In 1611, Frisian/German astronomers David (1564 –1617) and Johannes Fabricius (1587–1616) studied sunspots with a camera obscura, after realizing looking at the sun directly with the telescope could damage their eyes. They are thought to have combined the telescope and the camera obscura into camera obscura telescopy. From 1612 to at least 1630, Christoph Scheiner (c. 1573–1650), Jesuit priest, physicist and astronomer in Ingolstadt, would keep on studying sunspots and constructing new telescopic solar-projection systems ((fig. 14). He called these “Heliotropii Telioscopici,” later contracted to helioscope. For his helioscope studies, Scheiner built a box around the viewing/projecting end of the telescope, which can be seen as the oldest known version of a box-type camera obscura. Scheiner also made a portable camera obscura. fig. 14 Christoph Scheiner and a fellow Jesuit scientist trace sunspots in Italy in about 1625Rosa Ursina sive Sol ex admirando facularum & macularum suarum phoenomeno varius. (p. 150)Christoph Scheiner1626–1630Published Bracciano: Andreas Phaeus at the Ducal Press, 1626–1630 Box-type camera obscuras fig. 15 Camera Obscura by Georg Friedrich Brander, 1769 “By 1572, the room-type camera obscura had been shrunk down to a small, portable room, which can be thought of, after all, as a very large box. However, when pin-pointing the first appearance of box-type camera obscuras—devices in which the lens, the mirror and the screen on which the image was projected were put inside a small wooden box—most writers date it to around the mid-seventeenth century, nearly a hundred years later. Gaspar Schott (1608–1666) described a portable camera obscura in his Magia Universalis, in 1657, and in 1669 the British philosopher Robert Boyle (1627–1691), in his paper “Of The Systematicall And Cosmical Qualities Of Things, ” (1669) drew landscapes in a box-type camera, perhaps similar to figure 15, he claimed to have constructed ‘several years ago.'”5The portable camera fitted with a lens, mirror and translucent screen (fig. 11) became the standard configuration from the late seventeenth century onward. The simple portable camera (fig. 16 & 18)) is essentially a photographic camera without a light-sensitive film or plate. So simple but so effective is the device that it has changed only in size and decoration since the sixteenth century. In portable form, the camera obscura became popular for recording landscape and city views. Using a system of lenses and mirrors that allowed the image to appear on a translucent screen, draftsmen could trace the views to produce early versions of tourist snapshots. The booth-sized version of the camera obscura (fig. 17) was also useful to scientists interested in the behavior of light. The English natural philosopher, architect, polymath and tireless inventor Robert Hooke (1635–1703), built different types of portable cameras for making illustrations for the travel guides or topography. One particularly curious contraption was a “wearable” beak-like object (fig. 19) which, according to his description, was an “an instrument of use to take the draught, or picture of any thing” Philosphical Experiments and Observations (1762). At the time it had become evident that the lens in the camera should be as “bright” as possible, that is, have as large a diameter as possible. Hooke suggest using as a lens a “[…] Glass, which the larger it is the better, because of several Tryals that may be made with it, which cannot be made with a smaller [one].” In 1685, Johann Zahn (1641–1707) was probably the first to have designed a camera obscura that could be manually focused by moving the lens, instead of relocating the screen (fig. 18 & 21). fig. 16 Illustration from Adolphe Ganot, An Elementary Treatise on Physics, 1882 fig. 17 A booth-type camera obscura from Méthode Pour Apprendre Le Dessin, Ou l’On Donne Les Regles Générales de Ce Grand Art, Et Des Préceptes Pour En Acquérir La Connoissance, Et s’y … (p. 178)C. A. JombertParis, 1755 (p. 136) fig. 18 Illustration of a camera obscura in Oculus artificialis teledioptricus sive telescopium.. (p. 178)Johann ZahnPublisher: Sumptibus Johannis Christophori Lochneri Bibliopolæ, typis Johannis Ernesti Adelbulneri, Norimbergæ1702 fig. 19 “An Instrument of Use to take the Draught, or Picture of any Thing,” from Philosophical Experiments and Observations Robert HookeLondon, 1726Ink on paperUniversity of Michigan Camera obscuras of the period were fitted with a single converging lens. There is no mention of any use of multiple lens configuration needed for telescopy in relation to the device. In the time of Vermeer, lenses could be easily purchased from itinerant peddlers—lenses were primarily produced for spectacles—but if one needed a particular lens, for example, for a telescope, they could be ground to specification by a lens grinder. To be sure, a lens improves the luminosity of the image considerably, but it comes with some serious drawbacks. Everything towards the edges is blurry, color fringes appear around bright objects and objects that occupy different planes in space are not all in focus at the same time, even if they are located at the middle of the image. If, for example, Vermeer had brought into focus the foreground chair in The Art of Painting with a camera obscura, the wall-map and the chandelier would have appeared more as colored clouds than solid objects. The individual elements of both objects would have blended completely together and been impossible to distinguish, much less trace. This problem could be temporarily remedied by refocusing, i.e., moving the position of lens back and forth, but the objects that were previously in focus become blurry. There is no way that all planes can be brought into a focus with a single lens, no matter what its shape or configuration. Some authors have written that color is intensified in the camera obscura image, but this is not objectively proven by any means. Moreover, even the best image of the camera has an overall milky quality—one never has the sensation that absolute black can be perceived. Goethe (1749–1832) noted that the image cast by the lens causes everything to appear “as covered with a faint bloom, a kind of smokiness that reminds many painters of lard, and that fastens like a vice on the painter who uses the camera obscura.” But unlike the reflections in a mirror or water, the projection of the camera is perceived as relatively flat, a fact which is particularity advantageous for the painter. In any case, even in the best cases the image produced by the camera is never as sharp, contrasted or as colorful as any painting by Vermeer. The camera obscura in the time of Vermeer Thus, the camera obscura was well known in the time of Vermeer. As early as 1622, ten years before Vermeer was born, news of the camera obscura circulated in the Netherlands. In that year, Constantijn Huygens (1596–1687), who maintained contacts with eminent artists such as Rubens (1577–1640), Van Dyck (1599–1641), Rembrandt (1606–1669) and perhaps Vermeer himself, purchased a portable camera obscura in London6 from the Dutch engineer and inventor Cornelis Drebbel (1572–1633), and enthusiastically wrote about the image that it produces: I have at home Drebbel’s other instrument, which certainly makes admirable effects in painting from reflection in a dark room It is impossible to express its beauty in words. The art of painting is dead, for this is life itself: or something higher, if we could find a word for it. Shape, contour and movement come together naturally, in a way that is altogether pleasing. – Huygens would also report the names of at least two painters who knew about the device, which in his words was “now-a-days familiar to everyone…” Following the example of earlier Italian writers, Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–1678), an accomplished Dutch painter and author of the widely read tract of painting Inleyding tot de Hooge Schoole der Schilderkonst (1678), recommended the camera obscura to painters: I am certain that the sight of these reflections in the darkness can be very illuminating to the young painter’s vision; for besides acquiring knowledge of nature, one also sees here the overall aspect which a truly natural painting should have. A second time he calls the optical machine “a picture-making invention with which one can paint by means of reflections in a closed and darkened room everything which is outside.” However, even though the device was enthusiastically recommended for painting, at least one painter is know to have concealed his familiarity with it, leaving open the possibility that other painters may have used it but chose to conceal their involvement. Thus, as an aid to painting per se, the camera obscura cannot be considered absolutely innovative in Vermeer’s time: it may be said that a fair number of Dutch painters knew it, and a few probably worked with it, although never on a systematic basis. No documented source that suggests that Vermeer knew of or used a camera obscura has come down to us. “In Delft, vision-extending and vision-transforming instruments such as the camera obscura must have been readily available. They were the passion of Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723), an industrious researcher now best known for his discovery of micro-organisms through the microscope. It is almost impossible to imagine that these exact contemporaries, both baptized in 1632 and both high achievers in their fields, would not have come across each other in the small city of Delft.”7 It has also been suggested…that Vermeer developed an interest in optics through a connection with the painter Carel Fabritius (1622–1654), who moved to Delft in about 1650; or, via Fabritius, with his friend Van Hoogstraten of Dordrecht. Both men were fascinated by the trompe-l’oeil and perspective illusion.8 In any case, the reflected image of the camera obscura, no matter how novel it may have appeared in the seventeenth century, was probably a bit more familiar to the Dutch people who were used to living in a world of reflections, constantly seeing their houses, trees and skies mirrored in canals and lakes.9 It is said that Constantijn Huygens II, a skilled lens maker and draughtsman made a series of landscapes that presumably bear the hallmarks of the camera obscura, although there is no documented evidence that the device was actually used in this case (fig. 20). There is only one source that specifically claims that painters of Vermeer’s time actually used the camera obscura as an aid to their painting. G. J. s’Gravesande, who was born thirteen years after Vermeer’s death, wrote : “Several Dutch painters are said to have studied and imitated, in their paintings, the effect of the camera obscura and its manner of showing nature, which has led some people to think that the camera could help them to understand light or chiaroscuro. The effect of the camera is striking, but false.” fig. 20 View of the IjsselConstanitjn Huygens5 June 1672Pen and ink, Sepia ink, WatercolourThe Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London The Italian landscape painters Canaletto (1697–1768), and Bernardo Bellotto (c. 1721–1780) are said by some art historians to have used the camera to create perspective views of Venice and other cities. Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) constructed a small portable camera, presently conserved in the Science Museum of London, for portrait painting.10 After that, the camera was never taken seriously among artists although it continued to be employed by topographical draftsmen and as a source of entertainment to this very day. It should be remembered that when the device began to be used by professional painters in the eighteenth century, it was never intended as to aid to capture light or darkness, or reproduce color. When mentioned in relation to painting it was almost universally understood to be useful in rendering a complex scene into its outlines, reducing a landscape, for instance, into a series of lines, zones, or bands. fig. 21 Various types of portable camera obscuras in Oculus artificialis teledioptricus… (p. 181)Johann Zahn1658 Published: Herbipoli, Würzburg, Germany But the future of the camera obscura lay not in its usefulness to painters, but as an indispensable precursor to the modern photographic camera. Why is “Tim’s Vermeer” so Controversial? On November 17, 2016 Screenshot from Tim’s Vermeer. Tim Jenison sits in his recreation of the room in Vermeer’s The music lesson. “What do you think about the theory that Vermeer used an elaborate technique involving mirrors when he painted (as proposed in the movie Tim’s Vermeer)?” – asked by Michael Note: This post will contain spoilers for the movie Tim’s Vermeer. The documentary film Tim’s Vermeer follows inventor Tim Jenison on his quest to recreate a Vermeer painting using a system of mirrors. The film argues that Vermeer could have used this method when creating his artworks. It also – whether on purpose or not – opens up some interesting art historical debates regarding the concept of “artistic genius” and the separation of art and technology. I had never seen this movie when I received this question, so for those of you in my situation, here’s a short description: Tim’s Vermeer is a 2013 American documentary film about inventor Tim Jenison’s experiments with duplicating Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. His experiments were based on the idea that Vermeer created his artworks with the help of mirrors. Jenison eventually succeeds in figuring out a technique that allows him to perfectly paint a scene in front of him despite having no artistic training. He thus reconstructs and paints the scene depicted in Vermeer’s The music lesson (1662 – 1665). The music lesson (1662 – 1665), Johannes Vermeer First of all, for those who don’t know who Johannes Vermeer is: Vermeer was a Dutch artist, and is one of the most famous artists of all time. You might know him as the artist behind Girl With A Pearl Earring (1665). Vermeer was active during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, and is especially known for his beautifully still and intricate genre paintings. Given that Vermeer is such a famous artist, the film has been controversial with many art historians and art critics. So let’s take a look at what happens in it, and why it’s been so controversial. Painting using mirrors The claim that Vermeer used some sort of optical device to create his paintings is not new. Vermeer’s life is still a bit of a mystery to us. As the film states, we don’t have any documentation about how he was trained or what sort of methods he used while painting. We do know, however, that mirrors and optical devices were widely known in 17th century Dutch society. This factor, along with the photorealistic quality of Vermeer’s paintings, has caused speculation about his potential use of mirror technology. Illustration of camera obscura in De Radio Astronomica et Geometrica (1545), Gemma Frisius Tim Jenison’s theory is inspired by a book, Vermeer’s Camera, written by architect Philip Steadman. It argues that Vermeer used a camera obscura to create his paintings – a theory that in itself has existed since the late 19th century. A camera obscura is a device that allows for a naturally occurring optical phenomenon: when one side of a darkened room or box gets a small hole put into it, the image on the other side becomes projected onto the surface opposite the hole. A lens can then be put into the hole to change the image. Camera obscura devices have been in used as aids for drawing and painting for centuries. Illustration of a portable camera obscura device from Johann Cristoph Sturm’s Collegium experimentale, sive curiosum (1676) The specific technology that Jenison invents (or rediscovers) involves a mirror rather than a camera obscura. The problem with the camera obscura is that, if you try to paint over the projection, the colour becomes distorted. Instead, Jenison fastens a small mirror above the canvas at a 45 degree angle. This allows him to paint around it until he finds the exact colour, constantly monitoring the reflection. Screenshot from Tim’s Vermeer. A demonstration of the mirror technique used in the film. After some adjustments to the technique, Jenison eventually succeeds in painting an entire Vermeer painting over the course of several years. He does this by reconstructing the exact scene from the artwork in real life and then using the mirror to paint it. Although we can’t prove it (and might never be able to), the theory holds up. It should, in my opinion, be taken seriously as a possibility. It has the support of art historians and artists, and builds on the two most fundamental art historical methods: visual analysis and historical context. The reaction In the film, Philip Steadman tells Jenison that, when Vermeer’s Camera came out, it caused a “really deep anguish” amongst art historians. But if the theory is valid, where does the controversy come from? Well, in many ways, the movie challenges the idea of “artistic genius”. This is a concept usually applied to the Western canon of artists. The canon is a generally agreed-upon list of the “greatest” artists in art history. It consists of artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo, Claude Monet, Rembrandt van Rijn, and – of course – Vermeer. They’re considered the most innovative, groundbreaking artists throughout history – essentially, geniuses. With very few exceptions, the Western canon consists almost exclusively of white male artists. This norm persists in art historical books, museums, university courses and research. So in questioning the ideals of the canon, we also have to question the idea of “genius”. Do only white male artists possess “genius”, or is a constructed concept? Does clinging to the idea of genius stop us from exploring new, interesting avenues in art history? Does it stop us from actually getting a better understanding of the artists we’re studying? No matter how much the idea of “genius” has already been challenged, the reaction to Tim’s Vermeer shows that we still have a long way to go. Art critic Jonathan Jones, in his review in The Guardian, argues that – although the theory is “highly possible” – the movie is “a depressing attempt to reduce genius to a trick”. He goes on to say that “the mysterious genius of Vermeer is exactly what’s missing from Tim’s Vermeer. It is arrogant to deny the enigmatic nature of Vermeer’s art.” Left: The music lesson (copy) (2013), Tim Jenison. Right: The music lesson (1662 – 1665), Johannes Vermeer. Of course, simply copying Vermeer’s artwork doesn’t make Jenison an amazing artist. Looking at the comparison above, it’s clear that Vermeer has a better handle on things like weight, depth and texture. And Jenison didn’t put together the composition itself – that was all Vermeer. There are definitely some good criticisms out there of the film and the way it oversimplifies Vermeer’s art. But the film’s very existence forces us to confront our pre-existing ideas regarding the Old Masters. As Jenison points out in the movie, the separation of technology and art is a new concept. And, although ideas of “genius” have popped up throughout art history, our ideas of artistic genius as related to individual originality and creativity, rather than simply talent and knowledge, became ingrained and widespread in the West as late as the 19th century, most clearly shown through the ideals of Romanticism. Before that, artists usually produced their work for patrons rather than for themselves, and often worked with assistants and masters rather than alone. Our modern ideas of “artistic genius” could be said to originate from the Romanticism art movement, such as Wanderer above the sea of fog (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich. Reducing Vermeer’s innovations and painterly practices to the useless idea of “genius” actually keeps us from fully understanding his work, and we need to allow space for research that contradicts it. Tim’s Vermeer asks some difficult, but necessary questions. Taking its theory seriously doesn’t mean that Vermeer was any less talented, or that his work should mean any less. It just means that, as art historians, we have to be willing to abolish the idea of “genius” and look at the wide range of artistic practices that exist across the world and throughout history. Note: Article as been edited to clarify the idea of “genius” as appearing in the 19th century. 21
Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in. Think about these artists in relat
European and American Art in the 18th and 19th Centuries Top of Form Search for: Bottom of Form The Enlightenment Neoclassicism was the dominant artistic style of the Enlightenment period and drew inspiration from the classical art and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome. Learning Objectives Describe the shifts in thinking and artwork that characterized the Enlightenment Key Takeaways Key Points European Neoclassicism in the visual arts began c. 1760 in opposition to the decadence of Baroque and Rococo styles. The austerity and sobriety of Neoclassicism echoed the spirit of the French Revolution. The French painter Nicholas Poussin was a master of the Neoclassical style. Neoclassicism was especially strong in those areas where classical examples were most abundant, such as in architecture and sculpture. Painting, in contrast, had fewer classical antecedents to reference. Key Terms Neoclassicism: Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theater, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the “classical” art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome. Rococo: Rococo, also referred to as Late Baroque, is an 18th-century artistic movement and style, which affected several aspects of the arts, including painting, sculpture, architecture, interior design, decoration, literature, music, and theater. Enlightenment: A philosophical movement in 17th  and 18th century Europe; the Age of Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason, emphasized rationalism. Overview The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was a movement that began during the 18th century in Europe and the American colonies. The key figures of the movement sought to reform society using the power of reason. Started by the preeminent philosophers of the day, the Enlightenment era lasted from about 1650 to 1800, promoting science, reason, and intellectual exchange. The idea of advancing knowledge through reason emerged in response to new technology and the ability to exchange information easily thanks to mass printing, and also out of a backlash against previous systems, which valued the church and tradition above all else. The authority of science and empirical thought increasingly displaced religious authority, and the disciplines of alchemy and astrology lost credibility, leaving the more easily confirmed chemistry and astronomy. Scientific thought became more and more developed. The Enlightenment has long been hailed as the foundation of modern Western political and intellectual culture. The Enlightenment encouraged criticism of the corruption of Louis XVI and the aristocracy in France, leading to the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. In 1792, Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were beheaded along with thousands of other aristocrats believed to be loyal to the monarchy. Art During the Enlightenment Previous to the Enlightenment, the dominant artistic style was Rococo. When the Enlightenment and its new ideals took hold, Rococo was condemned for being immoral, indecent, and indulgent, and a new kind of instructive art was called for, which became known as Neoclassicism. In opposition to the frivolous sensuality of Rococo painters like Jean-Honoré Fragonard and François Boucher, the Neoclassicists looked to the artist Nicolas Poussin for their inspiration. Poussin’s work favors line over color and predominantly features clarity, logic, and order. His work served as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century. Poussin was the major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Paul Cézanne. Et in Arcadia Ergo by Nicholas Poussin, c. 1630s: Poussin came to define Neoclassical artwork with work that favored line over color and a rather stark lack of frivolity. The Neoclassical Style Neoclassicism is characterized by clarity of form, sober colors, shallow space, and strong horizontals. Its verticals render the subject matter timeless, instead of temporal, as in the dynamic Baroque works, and depicts classical subject matter—or classicizes contemporary subject matter. Neoclassicists believed that strong drawing was rational, and therefore morally superior, and that art should be cerebral, not sensual. The Neoclassicists wanted to express rationality and sobriety that was fitting for their times. Artists like David supported the rebels in the French Revolution through an art that asked for clear-headed thinking, self-sacrifice to the State (as in Oath of the Horatii), and an austerity reminiscent of Republican Rome. Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David, 1784: David was an extremely influential figure in the Neoclassical movement. His strong use of line, balance, and geometry suited the movement’s ideals of order and austerity. Neoclassicism was strongest in architecture, sculpture, and the decorative arts, where classical models in the same medium were relatively numerous and accessible. Rococo architecture emphasizes grace, ornamentation, and asymmetry; Neoclassical architecture is based on the principles of simplicity and symmetry, which were seen as virtues in the arts of Rome and Ancient Greece, and were more immediately drawn from 16th century Renaissance Classicism. The Grand Tour and Its Portraits The Grand Tour was a customary trip to Europe undertaken by wealthy Europeans and some Americans. Learning Objectives Describe the stops along the Grand Tour in Europe Key Takeaways Key Points The Grand Tour was viewed as an educational rite of passage typically for young men, but sometimes women as well. The Grand Tour tradition was extended to include the middle class when railroad and ship travel became more widespread in the second half of the 18th century. The Grand Tour generally involved the study of art at museums and universities, private collections, and notable architectural sites. Souvenirs and mementos became an important element as they could demonstrate the specifics of which location was visited and what was seen or acquired. The artist Pompeo Batoni made a career of painting portraits of English tourists posed among Roman antiquities and became very popular in Rome. Batoni’s paintings made it into numerous private collections in Britain, thus ensuring the genre ‘s popularity in the United Kingdom. Key Terms rite of passage: A ceremony or series of ceremonies, often very ritualized, to celebrate a transition in a person’s life. Baptisms, bar mitzvahs, weddings, and funerals are among the best known examples. The Grand Tour was a customary trip to Europe undertaken by wealthy Europeans and some Americans that flourished as a tradition from about 1660 to 1840. The trip was viewed as an educational rite of passage typically for young men, but sometimes women as well. It was intended as a means of cultural broadening and associated with a fairly standard itinerary. The Grand Tour tradition was extended to include the middle class when railroad and ship travel became more widespread in the second half of the 18th century. The travel itinerary typically began in Dover, England and crossed the English Channel to Ostend or to Calais in France. From here the tourist and “bear-leader,” or tutor, and possibly a troupe of servants, could rent a coach and travel to Paris. From Paris they would travel to Switzerland, then Spain, and Northern Italy. Once in Italy, the tourist would visit Turin, and might spend a few months in Florence and Venice, which was the epitome of the Grand Tour for most British tourists. From Venice they would go to Rome to study the ruins and masterpieces and possibly to the archaeological sites at Pompeii. Next was the German section of Europe, such as Vienna, Dresden, Berlin, and Potsdam, and finally to Holland and Flanders before making the trip home. The journey generally involved the study of art at museums and universities, private collections, and notable architectural sites. The pilgrimage was popularized further by the advent of tour guides, such as Thomas Cook, which became synonymous with the Grand Tour. Grand Tourists were known to travel with an entourage that included valets, coachmen, scholarly guide and possibly a cook. Souvenirs and mementos became an important element as they could demonstrate the specifics of which location was visited and what was seen or acquired. Their popularity created an industry of sorts, and prices rose with the growth of the trend. Some Grand Tourists invited artists from home to accompany them throughout their travels, painting views specific to their personal itineraries. Despite the political upheaval, 18th century Rome remained a desirable destination. It became an absolute necessity for people of means to spend time in Rome as part of their “Grand Tour,” or educational pilgrimage. The city became a nexus for these tourists as well as the merchants and industries that resulted from their patronage. The increasing popularity of the Grand Tour, and the related desire for visitors to collect “classical” souvenirs, quickly spread the Neoclassical style throughout Europe. It became a symbol of wealth and freedom to go on the Grand Tour and to have something to show for it displayed in your home. A popular souvenir of the Grand Tour was a portrait of the tourists themselves, often painted amidst the architecture, or famous art works of a particular European location. The artist Pompeo Batoni, made a career of painting portraits of English tourists posed among Roman antiquities. He became very popular in Rome and his portraits of the British traveling through the city were in very high demand. There are records of over 200 portraits of visiting British patrons standing amidst ruins and great works of art by Batoni. These paintings made it into numerous private collections in Britain, thus ensuring the genre’s popularity in the United Kingdom. A portrait by Pompeo Batoni: A popular souvenir of the Grand Tour was a portrait of the tourists themselves, like this one, painted amidst the architecture or famous art works of a particular European location. Neoclassical Art – A Return to Symmetry in the Neoclassical Period   The Neoclassical period, Neoclassicism or Neo-Classicism, was a revival of Greek and Roman art and architecture in Europe. It occurred around the middle of the 1700s (18th Century) and continued during the 1800s (19th Century). Neoclassicism was not only a result of new discoveries from Greek and Roman art and architecture, but it was also a revolt against the opulence of the Baroque and Rococo art movements that came before.     An Introduction to Neoclassicism First, let us look at the term “Neoclassical”, the prefix neo originates from Greek roots (néos), according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online it translates to “young, fresh, new”. The word “classics” also translates from the Latin word classicus, which denotes the highest rank, or highest class. The term Classical refers to the Classical era when Greek and Roman ideals thrived and informed a way of life and culture. It was in fact a new movement in the arts, spanning not only painting, but architecture, sculpture, and even the decorative arts and interiors like furniture. But, what made Neoclassicism new? Let us explore it further. Details for Derby House in Grosvenor Square (1777) by Robert and James Adam; See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons   The Renaissance vs. the Age of Enlightenment Neoclassicism art was a revival of Classical ideals, and it is important to place it contextually to understand it as a movement. Neoclassicism was influenced by significant changes taking place in Europe, specifically two massive shifts within society after the Medieval Ages. We have the Renaissance, which lasted from the 1300s to the 1600s. During this time in Europe, there were changes and advances in almost every aspect of human understanding and the humanities, for example, technology, science, mathematics, politics, and culture. And then we have the Age of Enlightenment (or Age of Reason), which started during the 1600s (17th Century) and lasted until the early 1800s (19th Century). Artists during the Renaissance period sought to emulate the Classical ideals from the Greek and Roman periods. Art was naturalistic and true to reality, along with the philosophical ideals of Humanism, which placed the individual at the center of his creative power. The term Renaissance means “rebirth” and it was undoubtedly a rebirth of new ways of seeing and exploring life. Portrait of a Bearded man with a Cap and a Fur-Tanned Coat (1530) by a member of the Danube School; Circle of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons The Age of Enlightenment, also Age of Reason, was founded in philosophical thought. Reason became the identifying factor for many ideals like progress, liberty, fraternity, and tolerance, to name a few. Reason and philosophical thought were regarded as a means of higher understanding of man’s place in the world. The Age of Enlightenment was influenced by the Scientific Revolution, which developed during the final remnants of the Renaissance period. It informed many of the science-based faculties like mathematics, biology, physics, astronomy, chemistry, including human anatomy. It replaced many ideas regarded as scientific, for example, astrology. It also utilized the new scientific method, which approached research with more scientific experimentation based on quantitative facts and observation. This was also what led to Empiricism, which believed knowledge only derives from the external world of the senses and experience. Philosophers and scientists from the Enlightenment period were influenced by many of the ideas from the Scientific Revolution and they also had an educational background in science. This period in history saw the dominance of science over religion and how new fact-based concepts replaced the faith-based way of viewing life and nature. The forerunners of the Enlightenment and their seminal publications were cornerstones to the development of rational thought and set the foundations for the developments of this era. These included, among others, Isaac Newton’s (1642-1727) Principia Mathematica (1686) and John Locke’s (1632-1704) Essay Concerning Human Understanding(1689). Title Page of Principia (1687) by Isaac Newton; The original uploader was Zhaladshar at English Wikisource., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons   The Influences and Development of Neoclassicism Although the Enlightenment was a major proponent of the development of Neoclassicism, other major proponents included the work of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) who wrote his seminal works on Classical art and architecture and the rise of exploration in Europe, specifically the Grand Tour. With the rise in popularity of the new fields of Archaeology and the digging of ancient sites like Herculaneum (excavated in 1738) and Pompeii (excavated in 1748), there was an increased curiosity to discover antiquity. The Grand Tour made a new way of discovering antiquity possible throughout Europe. Excavations at Pompeii (1886) by François-Louis Français; François-Louis Français, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons It was done as a rite of passage for young, coming of age, upper-class men, as well as artists and scholars seeking higher education. It involved an extended period of travel around the artistic and cultural hubs in Europe, which included Greece and Rome. Although the Grand Tour was only for the upper class, men brought back many souvenirs from their travels, and their extensive collections disseminated the art and culture from the Classical era informing the Neoclassical movement. It was also German, Winckelmann, that laid the foundation for art historical texts about Greek and Roman artworks, but also creating the first chronological ordering of Greek art and architecture within a scholarly text. Winckelmann was famously known as the “father” of art history as he wrote two important publications that would become significant contributions in art history. These two publications were, “Thoughts on the Imitations of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture” (Gedanken über die Nachahmung der griechischen Werke in der Malerei und Bildhauerkunst (1750) and “The History of Art in Antiquity” (Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums) (1764). A photograph of the Colonnade Parthenon Acropolis in Athens, Greece (2015); Jebulon, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons The first publication had a profound effect on the theoretical frameworks of Neoclassicism as it explored the importance of imitating Greek Art. He is often quoted from his text, “the one way for us to become great, perhaps inimitable, is by imitating the ancients”. However, it is important to note there has been considerable debate among art scholars as to the context in which Winckelmann places his term “imitation”. It is also important to distinguish between the ideas of “imitating” and “copying” art, which are concepts Winckelmann expounded on in his reflections. He explored the Classical ideals extensively in his texts, although some scholarly sources also indicate that it is important to place his observations within careful context, namely that he never traveled to Greece himself, and he only came into contact with these artworks through Rome. Nonetheless, his contributions impacted the world of art history for centuries to come.   The Key Characteristics of Neoclassical Art There are many identifiable characteristics of Neoclassicism art, but one of the primary ideas of this art movement was the move away from the overly decorative style of the Baroque and Rococo art movements. We will notice the Neoclassical style in painting, architecture, and sculpture. However, this style was not only within the arts, but it was also dominant in music, theatre, and literature. Below we look at some of the common characteristics that define and shape Neoclassical Art. Daphnis Bestowing a Garland of Flowers on Chloe (1776) by Antonio Zucchi; Antonio Zucchi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons   Noble Simplicity “Noble simplicity” is often cited from the forefather of the Neoclassical ideals, Johan Joachim Winckelmann in his publication “Thoughts on the Imitations of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture” (1750), as he writes about Greek sculptures and their inherent “quiet grandeur”. He exemplifies this further with reference to the art of Raphael, who was one of the best-known painters during the High Renaissance. One of the primary characteristics of Neoclassical art was its return to ideals of “simplicity”, “symmetry”, “proportion”, and “harmony”. This simplicity of form and shape was seen in Neoclassical painting, architecture, and sculpture. It was a revival of the simplicity of form and shape from the Greek and Roman periods. This simplicity was also expressed through subdued and often tempered colors, which were meant to indicate a formality and a somewhat superiority. This element of superiority was seen in the age of Antiquity and many ideals related to morals and ethics. Didactic Subject Matter It was the strong belief in virtues and morals that underpinned the narratives and effects of storytelling through Neoclassical painting. The type of subject matter utilized was of mythological scenes and characters, as well as historical scenes taken from Greek and Roman sources. It was also believed that Neoclassical Art was meant to help whoever viewed it by telling a story that inspired and gave a message based on morals and ethical values. There was often an element of heroism in the narrative, as well as a distinct seriousness and austerity. In other words, Neoclassical art was didactic, which means its message was meant to convey a lesson.     Famous Neoclassical Artists Although there were many great artists of the Neoclassical period, below we look at some of the more popular Neoclassical artists and their artworks within the fields of painting, sculpting, and architecture. There are two important artists worth noting when it comes to influences on Neoclassical Art and they are, namely, Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) and Claude Lorrain (c.1604-1682). Et in Arcadia ego (1638-40) by Nicolas Poussin; Nicolas Poussin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via The above-mentioned artists were French, from the Baroque period. However, their style depicted the classical ideals of the orderliness of composition and historical scenes often from the Bible, mythology, or history. Nicolas Poussin was highly regarded for his paintings of the above-mentioned subject matter, including his more rational approach to painting versus expressiveness and ostentatiousness seen in Baroque Art. Poussin’s art was also influenced by Hellenistic principles and he painted in a way where those who viewed it would receive a deeper meaning from the narrative portrayed. He influenced notable Neoclassical painters like Jacques-Louis David.   Neoclassical Painting Neoclassical painting can be divided into two distinct developmental stages, namely, Early and Late Neoclassicism. It evolved as the opposite in style and composition to that of its precedent, the Rococo, where paintings appeared lighter and more extravagant in style. Neoclassical painting is characterized by a cleaner manner of brushwork and application, we will see a smoother surface with brushstrokes creating solidity instead of airiness, furthermore, forms are depicted with more solidity and definition. Color is also true to nature and subject matter is portrayed true to history or mythology. Maria mit dem Kind und zwei Engeln (‘Maria with the child and two angels,’ 1773) by Anton Raphael Mengs; Anton Raphael Mengs, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons The Neoclassical painting style developed in Rome with Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779) setting the foundations along with Johann Joachim Winckelmann. The style evolved in Britain with other notable artists like the Swiss Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807) and Benjamin West (1738-1820). During the Later Neoclassical period, artists like Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) led the style in France and became the epitome of the Neoclassical style. The distinguishing factor for Neoclassical painting is that artists painted their subject matter from the examples they found from Ancient Greek and Roman architecture and sculpture, as well as from examples of paintings before them, like Baroque and Rococo. Below we look at some of the artworks from the prominent Neoclassical painters of their time.   Anton Raphael Mengs (1728 – 1779) Mengs was a Bohemian painter and considered one of the forerunners of Neoclassical painting, although he still painted within the Baroque style at the time. He believed in the significance and place of the Classical, this was also a shared value and belief with the Winckelmann, with who he worked closely. According to various scholarly sources, Mengs was described by Winckelmann as the “greatest” artist of his time. Parnassus (1761) by Anton Raphael Mengs; Anton Raphael Mengs, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons One of his well-known artworks Parnassus (1761) depicts his move towards the Neoclassical period. It was created as an oil sketch as part of the fresco for the Villa Albani located in Rome. Mengs was inspired by Raphael’s fresco similarly titled The Parnassus (c.1509-1511). It depicts a mythological story about Apollo (the Sun God), which is in the center of the composition surrounded by various muses. In this painting by Mengs, we notice the more subdued coloring on the robes and cleaner lines of the form.   Benjamin West (1738 – 1820) Benjamin West was an American-born painter, however, through his extensive travels to Rome and then England he became one of the popular British painters, with subject matter centered on historical narratives. West also intended for his paintings to have a deeper moral meaning. He was deeply influenced by the Classical ideals from the Greek and Roman art he experienced during his travels to Rome, which he undertook during the 1760s, as well the ideals and virtues from the Enlightenment. West also studied under prominent scholars Winckelmann and collaborated with other popular artists of the time, namely Angelica Kaufmann and Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798). West has an extensive historical background, especially his time spent in England. He was a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768, of which he became the president, and painted for King George III. The Death of General Wolfe (1770) by Benjamin West; Benjamin West, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Some of West’s notable artworks include The Death of General Wolfe (1770), which was one of his most famous artworks depicting the Battle of Quebec. What made this artwork so revolutionary was how West depicted the characters in their modern-day uniforms, and not in classical dress, however, this is reported to have been done already by another artist, Edward Penny (1714-1791).   Angelica Kauffman (1741 – 1807) Angelica Kaufmann was a Swiss-born artist and displayed artistic talent from a young age. She became a famous artist during her time in London, where she moved to after a period of traveling to Europe with her father. She managed to support herself successfully as a female artist and was well respected as such by her community. Kaufmann had a wide scope as a painter, including portraits, landscape, and decorative painting. She was known as having a style related to Rococo Art, but she also adopted the Neoclassical style of history painting during the 1770s. She drew inspiration from Classical texts by writers like Homer and Alexander Pope. She also worked alongside Benjamin West, as another member of the Royal Academy, and both artists popularized British historical paintings. Virgil Writing his Epitaph at Brundisi (1785) by Angelica Kauffman; Carnegie Museum of Art, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Some of her more famous artworks include Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to Her Children as her Treasures(1785), wherein we notice the differences in how subject matter is portrayed compared to the more light-hearted Rococo style. Evident in this painting is a more serious tone, and figures are depicted in more subdued colors. The subject matter is also of Roman history of the politicians Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus.   Jacques-Louis David (1748 – 1825) Jacques-Louis David is probably considered the epitome of Neoclassical painters and his artworks truly depict the essence of Neoclassical ideals and style. Born in Paris, David would continue his art career in Rome, where he also produced many of his most famous paintings, for example, The Oath of the Horatii (1784). It is important to note that David produced his artworks during the same time of the French Revolution, and he was also a part of the French Revolution, specifically part of the Jacobin political club during 1789. His famous piece, The Oath of the Horatii (1784), was also associated with the French Revolution and what it stood for, but it is known that this piece was produced for a patron before the events of the Revolution. Oath of the Horatii (1786) by Jacques-Louis David; Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons When we look at this famous piece by David, we clearly notice the clean lines, symmetry, and heroic virtues so characteristic of the Neoclassical movement. It depicts the Roman story of the Horatii trio of brothers swearing to protect their country, Rome, against the Albans, of which also three brothers, the Curatii, would be their counterparts in battle. The composition clearly portrays the subject matter, we see the three brothers to the left and women mourning behind them (one of them in a relationship with one of the Curatii brothers, which emphasizes their distraught emotions). The central figure is Horatius, holding up three swords for the three brothers. Behind the figures, we notice three distinct arches, each one congruent with the figures in the foreground. The arches place more emphasis on the figures and what is taking place in the foreground, this, again, is highlighted by the stark lighting making the whole scene clear. We notice David keeps the composition simple and does not distract by adding any other elements or decorations to the painting. The three arches in the background create a seeming backdrop, which “sets the stage”, so to say, for the central figures in the foreground. Other important artworks by David include the Death of Marat (1793), which depicts the dead body of Jean-Paul Marat, who was murdered by Charlotte Corday. Marat was a French politician and journalist, among other merits. This painting was done during the height of the French Revolution and what was known as the Reign of Terror, which consisted of public executions and numerous massacres. The Death of Marat (1793) by Jacques-Louis David; Jacques-Louis David, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons This painting was done in memory of Marat and we will notice how David idealized the dead figure using Biblical references of Christ’s dead body. This is evident in the Marat’s hanging arm, symbolizing Christ’s arm with reference to the Michelangelo’s marble sculpture titled, Pietà, the turban around his head, which is a symbol for a halo, and the seeming gracefulness of his dead body – there is a sense of martyrdom depicted. What makes the painting more real is the letter in Marat’s hand, which is clearly readable. It is from Charlotte Corday herself, it is written in French and translated to English, it reads: “July 13, 1793. Marie Anne Charlotte Corday to the citizen Marat – Given that I am unhappy, I have a right to your help”.   Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) Ingres was another prominent French Neoclassical painter who studied under the tutelage of Jacques-Louis David. He was a strong proponent of Poussin’s style of art, which was towards more rational and clear approaches to depicting elements like form and line. However, we will notice there is more expressiveness of form in his paintings, which is reminiscent of the attributes associated with Romanticism. An example of one of his artworks is the La Grande Odalisque (1814), which depicts a nude woman staring at the onlooker. This artwork has continued into the Modern era in terms of the place of female nudes and the relationship with the male as the onlooker. La Grande Odalisque (1814) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres; Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons We also notice how Ingres is still utilizing the subject matter as a female nude, characteristic of the Classical era, he also utilizes the, often termed, “clean lines”, characteristic of Neoclassical art, but he moves beyond the rigidity of Neoclassicism in the manner he depicts the nude – there is more expressiveness and a turn away from the overt realism of human form as we notice her proportions are not exactly true to nature.   Neoclassical Sculpture Neoclassical sculptures drew considerable inspiration from the archaeological digs in Rome and Greece at the time, especially that of Pompeii. Sculptors were also provided with a wide variety of models to work from, this was quite the opposite for Neoclassical paintings, which had a lesser number of real-life examples to work from to emulate the Classical ideals. Some common characteristics of Neoclassical sculpture include its size, sculptures would often be made life-sized and focused on symmetrical correctness. Subject matter often had a more serious tone but would range from mythological, to historical, even to real-life personalities like actors, singers, and famous philosophers as is evident in the work of Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828), who produced his famous portrait busts. Bust of Christoph Willibard Gluck (1775) by Jean-Antoine Houdon; Jean-Antoine Houdon, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Another common trait among Neoclassical sculptors was a combination of depicting subject matter in idealistic forms or with naturalism and realism referred to as verism, which was also referred to as “warts and all”. This manner of depiction was used in Roman sculpture and believed in including all the traits seen on a body, whether it be warts, wrinkles, or anything else that would be considered “imperfections” – this gave a heightened sense of realism. Some of the top Neoclassical sculptors included Jean-Antoine Houdon (mentioned above), who was in France as a leading sculptor during the French Enlightenment period, Antonio Canova (1757-1822), and Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), who were pioneering sculptors working in Rome. Each sculptor had a different approach. However, they are also noted to have depicted a sense of idealism in their sculptures. Thorvaldsen and Canova sculpted mythological subject matter, examples of their sculptures include Canova’s Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss (1787-1793), housed in the Louvre in Paris. It depicts Cupid and Psyche in the throes of kissing after she was woken up by Psyche himself with a kiss. Canova was born Italian and primarily worked in Rome. He was well-known to have produced work that was more “warm” and light in its portrayal. Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss (1787) by Antonio Canova; Kurtab123, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Thorvaldsen worked in Rome during his adult years and focused on works that were heroic in nature. He was original of Danish descent, born in Copenhagen. An example of his work includes Jason with the Golden Fleece(1802-1803) and Monument to Copernicus (1822-1830). Many sources indicate that Thorvaldsen’s work has been described as more “severe” in its style. He depicted his subject matter with a sense of dignity and heroism. We are able to notice this sense of severity in his well-known work Jason and the Golden Fleece (1802-1803), having depicted the mythological character of Jason with a sense of heroic prowess, even though the actual character of Jason in mythology was not hailed exactly as a hero.   Neoclassical Architecture Neoclassical architecture became a testament to the ideals and virtues in Neoclassicism. There have been countless buildings of all types constructed within the Neoclassical style. Neoclassical architecture also conveys seriousness and orderliness in its construction and facades, so to say, having imitated Greek and Roman architecture. It started flourishing during the middle of the 18th Century and found all over Europe in countries like Germany, France, Russia, and Britain. The Neoclassical architectural style was also influenced by two important architects, namely, the Roman Vitruvius, from the 1st Century BC, and the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). Palladio was known for simplifying the already existing architectural structures and elements existent from the Renaissance. He was influenced by Greek and Roman architecture; however, it is also noted that he did not exactly imitate these structures, but included his own elements to innovate new designs. He was also similarly influenced by Vitruvius and how he utilized elements like symmetry and proportion. A photograph of Inigo Jones’ Portal at Chiswick House built in 1621; Matt Brown from London, England, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Common characteristics of Neoclassical architecture include the focus on planar surfaces versus the more sculptural surfaces seen in the Baroque and Rococo styles of architecture. It also utilized the Classical Orders, which consisted of columns like the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. These orders were prevalent in Greek architecture and similarly used in the Neoclassical buildings. Other features include the emphasis on walls appearing long and, especially, blank in its surface. It is classified as utilizing geometric shapes, clean lines, and “block” shapes. The block shape (rectangular or squared) in Neoclassical architecture is widely visible, it is often coupled with a flat roof and a dome, with a repetition of columns. Neoclassical architecture also consisted of two phases, or periods, namely, Early, or Palladian, and High Neoclassical architecture. The Early period was during the 1700s to 1750s and was significantly influenced by Palladio. The forerunners of this period were architects like Inigo Jones (1573-1652) and Colen Campbell (1676-1729). A well-known example of this style is the Chiswick House (1729) by Richard Boyle (1694-1753). As the 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork, he was born into an Anglo-Irish family in Yorkshire. He was popular for introducing the Palladian style of architecture in Britain and Ireland, often also referred to as the “Architect Earl”. A photograph of Chiswick House designed by architects Richard Boyle and William Kent in 1729; Images George Rex from London, England, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons When we look at the High Neoclassical architecture, which started during the 1750s, it incorporated more influence from Greek architecture, which was not as prevalent in the earlier period.  This style is also just known as Neoclassical architecture. Of the countless examples of buildings in this style, common examples include the Hermitage Museum (1787) in Russia. Another famous building is the Panthéon (1758-1790) in Paris, initially, it was the Church of St. Geneviève. It was built by Jacques-Germain Soufflot (1713-1780). This building, in all its magnificence, located in the 5th arrondissement, is a true testament to the Classical ideals from Greek and Roman architecture, evident in its numerous columns and geometric proportions.     The Ever Continued Neoclassical The Neoclassical style ended during the 1850s with the rise of a new movement called Romanticism, which started during the 1780s and lasted until around the 1830s. It coincided with Neoclassicism and was almost the complete opposite in style and values. Where Neoclassicism was about rationality and Classical ideals of virtue and order, Romanticism expressed emotion and the exploration of the senses. Although this was a complete shift in style, the Neoclassical movement continued and lived on in the Classical ideals that it sought to emulate. We will still notice the Neoclassical style in many types of buildings throughout Europe. It was also revived within the Beaux-Arts Architecture, which was a French and American movement during the 1830s into the 1940s. A photograph of Lille Palais des Beaux Arts designed in 1809 by Fernand Delmas and Édouard Bérard; Velvet, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Neoclassicism was a return to the Classics – it sought to revive the ideals of the ancients, namely, order, symmetry, and rationality. It almost dutifully depicted what the Classics attained during the Greek and Roman periods and similarly strove to attain in the context of the 18th Century and its complex and often tumultuous development into the Modern era.   The revival of Classical ideals within Neoclassical Art was almost a period of reminding the world again via visual communication of the beauty and structure so perfected by the ancients (whether they knew it or not) – and only we can dream of attaining that in our own Age of Enlightenment.       Frequently Asked Questions   What Is Neoclassicism? Neoclassicism was a revival of Classical ideals from the Greek and Roman periods. It was also a reaction towards the exuberant and often described “flamboyant” nature of the preceding movements, Baroque and Rococo.   When Was the Neoclassical Period? The Neoclassical period started in Europe around the middle of the 1700s (18th Century) and continued during the 1900s (19th Century). It initially had roots in Rome but spread to many other countries, primarily France and Britain, but also Russia and Germany, among others.   What are the Main Characteristics of Neoclassicism? As an opposing movement to the Baroque and Rococo, Neoclassicism reverted to Classical virtues of symmetry, proportion, clean lines, and subdued colors. The subject matter was of mythological and historical scenes with the ideals of heroism and patriotism. It was also inspired by rational thought and calmness of being.   What Influenced the Neoclassical Movement? It is believed there were three primary influences on the development of Neoclassicism, namely, the seminal and revolutionary texts of historian, Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768), about defining the periods of Greek and Roman art and architecture. Then there were the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which introduced new artifacts and knowledge about Classical Antiquity, and lastly, the Grand Tour, which allowed many noble young men and artists to tour Europe (especially Greece and Rome) and bring back many artifacts and memorabilia, which inspired the development of the revival of Classical culture. Angelica Kauffman Was One of 18th-Century Europe’s Most Famous Portraitists, But She Was Nearly Forgotten May 6, 2020 2:46pm Angelica Kauffman, Self-Portrait with Bust of Minerva, ca. 1784. ©Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur You would not know that two of the 34 founders of the Royal Academy of Arts in London were women based on Johan Zoffany’s famed painting of its members. In The Academicians of the Royal Academy (1770–71), Zoffany depicts a vaunted studio with some 30-plus male artists who consort with two nude male models, chat with each other, and admire the artworks on view. Almost unnoticed are two portraits that hang above them and depict the artists Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser, whose images appear as avatars, as though these painters were unworthy of joining a room bursting at its seams with men. Having been the go-to painter for the British aristocracy, Kauffman was the most famous portraitist in 18th-century Europe—male or female—and Zoffany’s scene would have been construed as an insult. And this was not the only one she was forced to weather over the course of her career, which lasted for almost half a century. She was often plagued with allegations that she had romantic liaisons with famous male artists—Nathaniel Hone once satirized her close friendship with artist Joshua Reynolds, portraying Kauffman as his plaything; the painting was rejected by the Royal Academy amid an outcry. Nevertheless, Kauffman maintained a powerful social network that included theorist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and sculptor Antonio Canova (who later oversaw aspects of her funeral in 1807), and she saw unusual market success for a female artist of her era. During her day, Kauffman, who was born in Chur, Switzerland, in 1741 and was based in London and Rome for much of her life, was considered a key artist of the Neoclassicism movement, which revived Greco-Roman artistic tropes as part of an Enlightenment-era push for rationality and reason during the 18th century. In fact, she even became so popular that her studio became a stop on the Grand Tour, a trip through Europe that was considered an educational rite of passage for upper-class men. Philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder once called Kauffman “possibly the most cultivated woman in Europe.” Yet, in the centuries since, Kauffman has generally received less attention than her male Neoclassical colleagues such as Reynolds, Canova, and Jacques-Louis David. Though art historian Linda Nochlin named Kauffman as one of the many female masters of yesteryear in her famed 1971 essay for ARTnews “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?“, her important contributions remained underrecognized. Kauffman’s paintings have never sold for more than $1 million at auction, and her art has rarely been the subject of major shows. More recently, however, that has started to change, as interest in the artist is growing once again. In 2006, art historian Amy Rosenthal published a tome about Kauffman that helped kindle curiosity, and the Kunstpalast in Dusseldorf, Germany, and the Royal Academy in London jointly organized a 100-work traveling retrospective of Kauffman that opened in Germany in January. (It was due to travel to London in June, but that is no longer the case, due to the coronavirus.) To survey Kauffman’s trailblazing art, below is a guide to five of her famous works and their backstories. Angelica Kauffman, Portrait of a Lady, ca. 1775. Tate/Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) Portrait of a Lady (ca. 1775) Kauffman’s strong reputation for creating incisive portraits helped her become one of the first female members of the Royal Academy (and one of the last ones to join for a century and a half afterward). In this portrait, which scholars initially thought was meant to represent Kauffman herself, she depicts a woman whose identity remains unknown; because of her rolled-up paper and her sculpture of the goddess Minerva, who signifies wisdom, some have suggested she may have been an intellectual. Regardless of who the subject is, historians consider the work, now owned by Tate in London, an important image attesting to the rising interest in women’s education in 18th-century England. Angelica Kauffman, Zeuxis Selecting Models for His Helen of Troy, 1780–82. Via Wikimedia Commons/LICENSED UNDER CC0 1.0 Zeuxis Selecting Models for His Helen of Troy (ca. 1780–82) During the 18th century, history paintings—large-scale canvases depicting episodes from ancient times—were considered the highest art form, and Kauffman excelled in that mode, which was then considered to be one reserved largely for men. In this one, Kauffman depicts the Greek painter Zeuxis getting ready to paint an image of Helen of Troy—without Helen sitting before him. He goes about it by cherrypicking the most perfect features of five models and combining them to create an ideal female representation. The painting, now exhibited in a library at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, has provoked debate among scholars: Was Kauffman merely conforming to the gender norms of her day using hazy sfumato brushwork to sensualize and objectify these women, or is a more subversive commentary about the male gaze at play here? Angelica Kauffman, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to her Children as Her Treasures, ca. 1785. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts/LICENSED UNDER CC0 1.0 Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to her Children as Her Treasures (ca. 1785) Relying once again on a moment from ancient history for her subject matter, here Kauffman depicts the second-century BCE Roman woman Cornelia in a genre known as exemplum virtutis, or an “example of virtue.” Cornelia, the daughter of Scipio Africanus and the mother of the politicians Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, was seen as the pinnacle of virtue in ancient times. Here, Kauffman explores what constitutes a treasure. For the woman at right, it’s jewelry, which she holds up to show Cornelia. For Cornelia, it’s her sons. Debates about Kauffman’s aesthetic and political conservatism have focused on this picture—Cornelia’s daughter, Sempronia, who does not exist in the original narrative portrayed here, is notably not grouped with Cornelia’s treasures, and if anything, the girl seems most interested in the sparkling jewels being displayed before her. It’s possible, however, that, in leading her away from the materialistic woman, Cornelia will move Sempronia toward virtue. The work is currently owned and displayed by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Angelica Kauffman, Self-portrait of the Artist Hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting, 1794. ©National Trust Images Self-portrait of the Artist Hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting (1794) There was a point in Kauffman’s career when it seemed as though she was destined to become a musician. The daughter of a painter, she was educated in the arts, and she was seen early on as a musical prodigy prized for her soprano voice. Ultimately, however, she went on to become a painter, and this painting allegorizes her struggle to choose between the two professions, with the artist in the center flanked by personified figures representing music and painting. The one representing painting holds a palette in one hand and points Kauffman toward a Greco-Roman temple with the other, signifying her move toward Neoclassicism. The work now resides in the collection of the Nostell Priory in Wragby, England. An engraving of Angelica Kauffman’s Religion Attended by the Virtues (ca. 1799–1801). British Museum Religion Attended by the Virtues (ca. 1799–1801) Kauffman produced this allegorical scene for a patron in England, where her works enjoyed an unusual amount of visibility after she departed for Italy because they were reproduced in the form of prints. As it happens, however, all that currently exists of the work are engravings of it. One of the first works ever to enter the United Kingdom’s national collection, it was last seen in 1941 in Plymouth, England, where it may have been destroyed during Nazi air raids. Tate Britain in London has launched an official search for it. But the work—or, at least, its memory—endures, and experts have suggested that it was likely Kauffman’s largest work, filled with life-size figures that would have acted as a master class for her acolytes in how to paint allegories. Martin Myrone, senior curator of Tate Britain, once told the Guardian, “It was regarded as Kauffman’s last artistic triumph.” 17
Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in. Think about these artists in relat
European and American Art in the 18th and 19th Centuries Top of Form Search for: Bottom of Form Realism Realism Realism, an artistic movement that began in France in the 1850s, rejected Romanticism, seeking instead to portray contemporary subjects and situations with truth and accuracy. Learning Objectives Summarize the key thoughts of Realism Key Takeaways Key Points Realists revolted against the exotic subject matter and exaggerated emotionalism of the Romanticism that had dominated French literature and art since the late 18th century. Realist works depicted people of all classes in ordinary life situations, which often reflected the changes brought on by the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions. Realists tended to showcase sordid or untidy elements in their paintings. Important figures in the Realist art movement were Gustave Courbet, Honore Daumier, and Jean-Francois Millet. Realism  was an artistic movement that began in France in the 1850s, following the 1848 Revolution. Realists rejected Romanticism, which had dominated French literature and art since the late 18th century, revolting against the exotic subject matter and exaggerated emotionalism of the movement. Instead, Realists sought to portray “real” contemporary people and situations with truth and accuracy, including all the unpleasant or sordid aspects of life. Realist works depicted people of all classes in ordinary life situations, which often reflected the changes brought on by the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions. The Realists depicted everyday subjects and situations in contemporary settings, and attempted to depict individuals of all social classes in a similar manner. Classical idealism, Romantic emotionalism, and drama were avoided equally, and often sordid or untidy elements of subjects were showcased somewhat, as opposed to being beautified or omitted. Social realism emphasized the depiction of the working class and treated working class people with the same seriousness as other classes in art. Realism also aimed to avoid artificiality in the treatment of  human relations and emotions; treatments of subjects in a heroic or sentimental manner were rejected. Important figures in the Realist art movement were Gustave Courbet, Honore Daumier, and Jean-Francois Millet. A Burial At Ornans by Gustave Courbet, 1849: Courbet is regarded as the leading proponent of the Realist movement. Realism in Painting Two important figures in the Realist movement were Gustave Courbet and Jean-Francois Millet. Learning Objectives Describe how Realist ideals manifest in Realist painting Key Takeaways Key Points Realism arose in opposition to Romanticism, which had dominated French literature and art since the late 18th century. Realist painters often depicted common laborers, and ordinary people in ordinary surroundings engaged in real activities as subjects for their works. Gustave Courbet is known as the main proponent of Realism and his paintings challenged convention by depicting unidealized peasants and workers, often on a grand scale traditionally reserved for paintings of religious or historical subjects. Jean-Francois Millet is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers of which “The Gleaners” is one of his most well-known due to its depiction of the realities of the lower class. Realism was an artistic movement that began in France in the 1850s, after the 1848 Revolution. The movement arose in opposition to Romanticism, which had dominated French literature and art since the late 18th century. Realism revolted against the exotic subject matter and exaggerated emotionalism and drama typical of the Romantic movement. In favor of depictions of real life, Realist painters often depicted common laborers, and ordinary people in ordinary surroundings engaged in real activities as subjects for their works. The chief exponents of Realism were Gustave Courbet, Jean-François Millet, Honoré Daumier, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Gustave Courbet Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (1819–December 31, 1877) was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th century French painting. Rejecting the predominant academic convention and the Romanticism of his time, Courbet’s independence set an example that was important to later artists, such as the Impressionists and the Cubists. As an artist, he occupies an important place in 19th century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements in his work. Courbet’s paintings of the late 1840s and early 1850s brought him his first recognition. They challenged convention by depicting unidealized peasants and workers, often on a grand scale traditionally reserved for paintings of religious or historical subjects. Courbet courted controversy by addressing social issues in his work, and by painting subjects that were considered vulgar, such as the rural bourgeoisie, peasants, and working conditions of the poor. For Courbet realism dealt not with the perfection of line and form, but entailed spontaneous and rough handling of paint, suggesting direct observation by the artist while portraying the irregularities in nature. He depicted the harshness in life, and in so doing challenged contemporary academic ideas of art. A Burial at Ornans by Gustave Courbet, 1849–50: Exhibition of this piece at the 1850–1851 Paris Salon created an “explosive reaction” and brought Courbet instant fame. A Burial at Ornans was a vast painting, measuring 10 by 22 feet (3.1 by 6.6 meters), and drew both praise and fierce denunciations from critics and the public, in part because it upset convention by depicting a prosaic ritual on a scale that previously would have been reserved for a religious or royal subject. Additionally, the painting lacks the sentimental rhetoric that was expected in a genre work. Courbet’s mourners make no theatrical gestures of grief, and their faces seemed more caricatured than ennobled. The critics accused Courbet of a deliberate pursuit of ugliness. Jean-Francois Millet Jean-François Millet (October 4, 1814–January 20, 1875) was a French painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon School in rural France. Millet is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers and can be categorized as part of the Realism art movement. Woman Baking Bread by Jean-Francois Millet, 1854: This painting depicts a woman working in the home, and is a typical representation of the Realists’ engagement with depicting the realities of life at the time. One of the most well known of Millet’s paintings is The Gleaners (1857). While Millet was walking the fields around Barbizon, one theme returned to his pencil and brush for seven years—gleaning—the centuries-old right of poor women and children to remove the bits of grain left in the fields following the harvest. He found the theme an eternal one, linked to stories from the Old Testament. In 1857, he submitted the painting The Gleaners to the Salon to an unenthusiastic, even hostile, public. Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet, 1857: One of his most controversial, this painting by Millet depicts gleaners collecting grain in the fields near his home. The depiction of  the realities of the lower class was considered shocking to the public at the time. Pre-Raphaelites The Pre-Raphaelites were a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848. Learning Objectives Evaluate the ideas that underpinned the Pre-Raphaelites and how they were manifested in their art Key Takeaways Key Points The Pre-Raphaelites sought to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be a mechanistic approach first adopted by the Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo. They believed the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art, hence the name “Pre-Raphaelite.” They wanted a return to the abundant detail, intense colors and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian art. Influenced by romanticism, the Pre-Raphaelites thought freedom and responsibility were inseparable. Nevertheless, they were particularly fascinated by medieval culture, believing it to possess a spiritual and creative integrity that had been lost in later eras. In later years the movement divided and moved in two separate directions. The realists were led by Hunt and Millais, while the medievalists were led by Rossetti and his followers, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. Key Terms Mannerist: An artist who uses Mannerism, a style of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. quattrocento: The 1400s, the 15th century Renaissance Italian period. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (also known as the Pre-Raphaelites) was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The three founders were soon joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner to form a seven-member brotherhood. The group’s intention was to reform art by rejecting an approach that they considered mechanistic, one that was first adopted by the Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo. Its members believed the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art, hence the name “Pre-Raphaelite.” The Pre-Raphaelites wanted a return to the abundant detail, intense colors and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art. The Pre-Raphaelites defined themselves as a reform movement, created a distinct name for their form of art, and published a periodical, The Germ, to promote their ideas. The brotherhood’s early doctrines emphasized the personal responsibility of individual artists to determine their own ideas and methods of depiction. Influenced by Romanticism, the Pre-Raphaelites thought freedom and responsibility were inseparable. Nevertheless, they were particularly fascinated by medieval culture, believing it to possess a spiritual and creative integrity that had been lost in later eras. Pre-Raphaelites and Realism The emphasis on medieval culture clashed with principles of realism, which stressed the independent observation of nature. In its early stages, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood believed its two interests were consistent with one another, but in later years the movement divided and moved in two separate directions. The realists were led by Hunt and Millais, while the medievalists were led by Rossetti and his followers, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. The split was never absolute, since both factions believed that art was essentially spiritual in character, opposing their idealism to the materialist realism associated with Courbet and impressionism. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was greatly influenced by nature and its members used great detail to show the natural world using bright and sharp focus techniques on a white canvas. In attempts to revive the brilliance of color found in Quattrocento art, Hunt and Millais developed a technique of painting in thin glazes of pigment over a wet white ground in the hope that the colors would retain jewel-like transparency and clarity. Their emphasis on brilliance of color was a reaction to the excessive use of bitumen by earlier British artists. Bitumen produces unstable areas of muddy darkness, an effect the Pre-Raphaelites despised. Ophelia: Ophelia, by John Everett Millais, reflects the Pre-Raphaelite use of brilliance of color in composition. Exhibitions The first exhibitions of Pre-Raphaelite work occurred in 1849. Both Millais’s Isabella (1848–1849) and Holman Hunt’s Rienzi (1848–1849) were exhibited at the Royal Academy. Rossetti’s Girlhood of Mary Virgin was shown at a Free Exhibition on Hyde Park Corner. As agreed, all members of the brotherhood signed their work with their name and the initials “PRB.” In 1850 the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood became the subject of controversy after the exhibition of Millais’s painting, Christ in the House of His Parents, which was considered to be blasphemous by many reviewers, notably Charles Dickens. The brotherhood’s medievalism was attacked as backward-looking and its extreme devotion to detail was condemned as ugly and jarring to the eye. According to Dickens, Millais made the Holy Family look like alcoholics and slum-dwellers, adopting contorted and absurd “medieval” poses. Christ in the House of His Parents: Pre-Raphaelite Millais’s painting, Christ in the House of His Parents, was considered to be blasphemous by many reviewers, notably Charles Dickens, who said Millais made the Holy Family look like alcoholics and slum-dwellers, adopting contorted and absurd “medieval” poses. After 1856, Dante Gabriel Rossetti became an inspiration for the medievalizing strand of the movement. He was the link between the two types of Pre-Raphaelite painting (nature and romance) after the PRB became lost in the late 1800s. Rossetti, although the least committed to the brotherhood, continued the name and changed its style. He began painting versions of women using models like Jane Morris, in paintings such as Proserpine, after the Pre-Raphaelites had disbanded. Since the Pre-Raphaelites were fixed on portraying subjects with near-photographic precision—though with a distinctive attention to detailed surface-patterns—their work was devalued by many painters and critics. For instance, after the First World War, British Modernists associated Pre-Raphaelite art with the repressive and backward times in which they grew up. The Man Who Captured Time Eadweard Muybridge revealed a new universe of motion with his camera, but history has largely obscured his extraordinary accomplishments with photography. By J. Weston Phippen Sallie Gardner at a Gallop (Eadweard Muybridge) July 24, 2016 The first humans who put paint on stone drew deer, buffalo, horses. They drew all the beasts man knew, and they painted them running. It started on a cave wall in France some 40,000 years ago with animals that seemed to move with their hindquarters planted, torsos rigid, their front legs stiff and raised ever so off the ground. These Paleolithic artists were primitive, of course, but for the thousands of years to follow, neither the ancient Greeks, nor the Japanese masters, nor the 19th-century French artist Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier (regarded for his pictures of horses) could seem to understand how to draw an animal in motion. A new guide to living through climate change The Weekly Planet brings you big ideas and vital information to help you flourish on a changing planet. Top of Form Email Address (required) Bottom of Form Thanks for signing up! Especially horses. Even as humans increasingly spent their lives around horses, the greatest artistic talents of their time drew them running with all four legs splayed, as if mounted to a rocker. Man has always sought to understand the natural world—if for no other reason than to bend it to our will. But an invisible life existed in the motion of the horse, hidden from our eye, and thus from human understanding. Until the 1870s, when the man who founded Stanford University became obsessed with this mystery—so much so that he hired the photographer Eadweard Muybridge. The galloping horse became Muybridge’s greatest achievement, but it would also become as obscure as his many other accomplishments. As he neared death, it’s said Muybridge panicked over the idea he’d be forgotten. And he almost was. No major museums had staged a retrospective of his work until six years ago at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, when the curator Philip Brookman thought to put one together, partly because no one else had. Last month, the National Gallery of Art (which absorbed the Corcoran in 2014) presented Intersections, which offers another chance to consider Muybridge’s mind and his legacy, and to see the work of another 19th-century pioneer of photography, Alfred Stieglitz. In its earliest years, photography rode an unsure line between science and art. It transported facts of the world to the public. It offered pretty images. Few people knew what to do with it. But Muybridge and Stieglitz changed that. Eadweard Muybridge Stieglitz was an artist, born in Hoboken and trained in Berlin, who proved photos could tell stories and reveal the world as profoundly as paintings. Muybridge’s work, at first, concerned itself with questions of understanding––a mostly scientific pursuit. He was born to an English coal merchant, and at 20 he left for America, where he traveled west in search of success in the new country. In California he opened a bookstore, was absolved of killing a man, then busied himself with photographing the intricacies of women’s ankles crossing creeks, blacksmiths swinging hammers, with chickens fleeing torpedoes. It’s only recently, thanks in large part to the popularity of the GIF, that people can appreciate the genius of Muybridge’s work. Muybridge would take his photographic discoveries on tours across America and Europe. During his lifetime he advanced the chemicals that develop film. He quickened camera shutter speed to a fraction of a second. And by aiming dozens of lenses at the same subject, he found ways to stop time and stretch it like elastic. After seeing Muybridge’s work in London in 1882, one reporter wrote that “a new world of sights and wonders was indeed opened by photography, which was not less astounding because it was truth itself.” Muybridge labored all his life to uncover the truth of motion, but by the time he died of cancer in 1904, he saw his work diminished by the lightning pace of innovation. He’d advanced photography to the point where it could capture constant movement, and developed a machine to reanimate this motion. Rightly so, he yearned for the world to remember him as the man who made cinema possible. But when that time came, other men, younger men, would claim his legacy. It’s only recently, thanks in large part to the popularity of the GIF, that people can appreciate the genius of Muybridge’s work. * * * Leland Stanford picked up the hobby of breeding, racing, and training horses after he served as the governor of California in the 1860s, having made millions investing in the Central Pacific Railroad. His 8,000-acre stables south of San Francisco, near Palo Alto, eventually became Stanford University. Here he kept some of the fastest horses in the world. But, as a man who’d bored America’s first train through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, he figured if he could understand how horses ran, he could make them run even faster. In this quest, a question troubled Stanford: He wanted to prove that when a horse galloped, all four of its hooves left the earth, that for a moment it became airborne. That idea had countered logic, as The New York Times put it, “since the world began.” Eadweard Muybridge In 1877, at a track in San Francisco, Muybridge strung a thread across the dirt at horse-chest height. It led to a trigger attached to his camera. Stanford had funded Muybridge’s work for years, and this was their most meaningful trial yet, so when Stanford’s horse trotted down the track at 40 feet per second, Muybridge was ready with his camera. When Muybridge began his work with Stanford’s horses, photography had barely been around 50 years. The craft was so sensitive that a slight breeze on leaves in a landscape, or the shift of a neck in a portrait, could ruin a picture. A camera’s shutter speed determines how long it’s exposed to light, which means anything moving while it’s open can look blurred. Before Muybridge, photographers exposed light to the film by removing the lens cap with their hands, then jamming it back on. This is why most people in photos at the time look like zombie facsimiles of themselves, stiff with rigor mortis. But in the early 1870s, Muybridge invented mechanical shutters, a system that used a trigger and rubber springs to snap two planks shut in front of the lens at one-thousandth of a second. The photo Muybridge took was completely disappointing—to Muybridge, at least. Yes, it pictured the horse with all four hooves off the ground, which was by no means a small achievement, because no one else in history had done this. A few newspapers ran the photo. But it was a single image. In order to understand motion, Muybridge needed to separate a movement into its parts, to slice the seconds that make a moment, then splice them back together with his photos. This would take another year. He’d later say his first memory was waking up 150 miles away in Arkansas, to a doctor who told him he’d never fully recover. At this time, Muybridge had spent just a little more than a decade as a serious photographer––he hadn’t even started in the medium until he was in his mid-30s. In 1855 when he first arrived in San Francisco, Muybridge owned a bookstore. On May 15, 1860, Muybridge ran an advertisement saying he’d sold his store and planned to travel for Europe. On his way, his stagecoach crashed in northeast Texas down a mountainside into a tree, smashing the stagecoach to pieces, and hurling Muybridge and seven other passengers into the rocky hillside. One man died. Muybridge hit his head so hard that for a while he lost his senses of taste and smell. He’d later say his first memory was waking up 150 miles away in Arkansas, with a doctor over him who said he’d never fully recover. Muybridge spent about six years recuperating in England, and little is known about his time there. But after his return to the Bay Area in 1866 he quickly became a masterful photographer. He captured Yosemite National Park’s thousand-foot waterfalls and its vast granite mountains––photos that would later inspire Ansel Adams. He shot lighthouses. He photographed himself pretending to be a lumberjack, his legs spread wide as he looks up the trunk of an insurmountable redwood tree. People obsessed over landscape photos at the time. The images represented the fierceness in American spirit that had settled the frontier, but with the ease of travel brought by train seemed already to have faded. Photographers tried to bring moments of that wildness back to cities as best they could. But while shutter speed could capture stationary lakes and mountains, the passing sky overhead looked like bland white sheets. To make scenes more convincing, photographers sometimes painted or superimposed clouds into their pictures. Muybridge, instead, invented the “sky shade.” This screen shielded the sun’s light enough to capture the landscape, but still rendered the sky’s tones. Now the people in East Coast cities could look into a photo and feel as if they stood in valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, or atop granite peaks. Muybridge signed these photos under the name “Helios,” the Greek personification of the sun. Eadweard Muybridge Muybridge looked like a mix of Walt Whitman and Zeus. He was tall and lean, with a long white beard, and bushy brows that shadowed his eyes and made him seem thoughtful and deviant. In six years he’d already gained some fame for his landscape photos, and in 1871, while in his 40s, he married a woman half his age named Flora Shallcross Stone. One year later, Stanford telegraphed Muybridge about an idea he had to photograph his horses, and for three years Muybridge worked on the technology to do exactly that. That work stopped in October 1874, after Muybridge found a letter his wife had written to a drama critic named Major Harry Larkyns. Muybridge found the letter in his midwife’s home. In it was a photograph of his seven-month old son, upon which his wife had written the boy’s name as “Little Harry,” which led Muybridge to believe his son was not in fact his son. “He stamped on the floor and exhibited the wildest excitement,” Muybridge’s midwife remembered after he found the letter. “He was haggard and pale and his eyes glassy … he trembled from head to foot and gasped for breath.” Muybridge caught a train that afternoon north from San Francisco to Vallejo. It was night when he knocked on Larkyns’ door. As Larkyns stepped forward, Muybridge shoved a revolver at him and said, “I have brought a message from my wife, take it.” Larkyns died from the gunshot. At trial, Muybridge pleaded insanity. Stanford hired a lawyer to defend him, and friends testified that the stagecoach crash had jarred something loose, had transformed a genial bookstore owner into an emotionally unmoored photographer. A friend and fellow photographer, William H. Rulofson, at trial said Muybridge sometimes slipped into bursts of grief or anger, and just as easily into a placid daze, “immovable as stone.” It’s hard to tell whether this personality change was real or a story conjured by a creative lawyer, but one theory about Muybridge’s injury is that it damaged his orbitofrontal cortex. If that is true, along with altering his emotions, it could explain why Muybridge became so possessed with his work. Injuries to the orbitofrontal cortex are sometimes connected to obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it was through Muybridge’s microscopic fixation on motion that his photos became art. He photographed birds flying, cats leaping, and the American bison galloping at a time when the nation had nearly hunted the animal to extinction. His obsession with all manners of motion drove him to capture women lifting bedsheets, raising cigarettes to their lips, or the quasi-absurd, like in his series Crossing brook on step-stones with fishing-pole and can. The series consists of 36 pictures taken from three angles, and it follows a woman as she raises her leg, hops onto a stone, then another, then hops off, all the while she holds a fishing pole in one hand and a can in the other, her arms bent like the wings of a bird. Artist have used this work to study motion. Edgar Degas, himself obsessed with the movement of dancers, studied photos like it. As did Marcel Duchamp, particularly in his 1912 painting, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, which became one of the most famous modernist paintings, and looks just like Muybridge’s photo series, Woman Walking Downstairs. Error! Filename not specified.Eadweard Muybridge Muybridge’s work at this time mimicked human curiosity. Machines had increasingly become part of life––trains, cars, and the factories of the Industrial Revolution––and soon people began to notice how their bodies resembled those machines. In Muybridge’s photos of the woman crossing the creek you can see her ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows, rotating along their individual joints, but also in unison as her weight shifts to contract a muscle that pulls on one tendon and relaxes another, a repeating system of pulleys. This interested the University of Philadelphia for the potential insight it offered in the fields of sports, medicine, and physiology. It was there that Muybridge created more than 20,000 photos for his first book, Animal Locomotion. The Corcoran’s curator, Brookman, called the work a “veritable atlas of imagery about movement and time.” The state charged Muybridge with murder for killing Larkyns. In closing arguments, Muybridge’s lawyer argued that “every fiber of a man’s frame impels him to instant vengeance, and he will have it, if hell yawned before him the instant afterward.” The jury of mostly old and gray men seemed to agree, and the photographer was acquitted. Muybridge and his wife divorced. She died five months later of an illness. And even though he’d given his son the middle name Helios—the same he signed his photos—he abandoned the child at an orphanage. What’s certain in the pictures is that a horse in gallop looks nothing like any artist ever imagined. In 1877, Muybridge was back working for Stanford. By now, the racetrack on Stanford’s ranch had a photo shed that housed a bank of dozens of cameras. On the other side was an angled white wall, and in between them Muybridge spread white powdered lime on the dirt so the horse would pop out as it raced toward the cameras. In June 1878, Muybridge greeted reporters and told them to prepare for, as one writer would recall, a photographic feat that marked “an era in art.” A series of wires ran from the angled wall every 21 inches to the shed where they pulled triggers connected to an electrical circuit. This was the complex technology Muybridge had worked with Stanford’s engineers to develop––unimaginable just five years before. When the horse ran down the track it would trip the wires, pull the trigger that closed the electrical circuit, and release rubber springs loaded at 100 pounds of pressure that snapped the shutters closed at one-thousandth of a second. The reporters at the racetrack that day waited. Then Stanford’s horse galloped down the track, tripping the cameras lines, one after another. Muybridge developed the film in front of reporters so there’d be no doubt he’d taken them that day. In one photo series from these experiments, called Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, all four hooves of the horse clearly leave the ground in the first four of 16 photos. What’s certain in the pictures is that a horse in gallop looks nothing like any artist ever imagined. Stanford would later meet with the French artist Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier––so famous at the time that The New York Times referred to him simply as, “the great artist Meissonier”––and asked him to draw a horse, then to draw that same horse in stride a foot later. Dumfounded, Meissonier said, “I can’t do it.” “And yet Meissonier many years ago drew the picture of a horse that would have irretrievably damned any other artist than himself,” the Times wrote. Another reporter called Muybridge’s accomplishments with camera technology as important as the phonograph and the telephone. But Muybridge’s legacy today is not what he wanted. Beginning with his first single-frame photographs of galloping horses, Muybridge had worked toward recording sequences of movement using dozens of cameras as a way to pause and reanimate motion. Now, we’d call that film. One year after the reporters watched the horse snap the camera lines on Stanford’s ranch, Muybridge developed the zoopraxiscope, the precursor to cinema. Eadweard Muybridge The machine used a glass disc spun around a projection lantern, and when Muybridge showed his photos of horses to people in 1880 at an exhibit in San Francisco, one reporter wrote that “nothing was wanting but the clatter of the hoofs upon the turf and an occasional breath of steam from the nostrils.” The animated images lasted only a few seconds, and looked uncannily like a GIF. It’s nearly impossibly to view Muybridge’s work through a zoopraxiscope today, but since many of his photos have been turned into GIFs we can again see Muybridge’s art as he did. In his photo grids an action begins and ends. But in constant, repeated motion, the action spills into a circle of infinite movement, as if the two naked blacksmiths will pound that anvil forever, or the couple will waltz together long past midnight. There’s something mesmerizing and voyeuristic about Muybridge’s photos as GIFs, because it reveals the world as we see it in passing, but not as we understand its parts. And that is what Muybridge tried to do all his life. So it’s today that Muybridge has come perhaps the closest to being remembered as he wanted to be remembered—as the creator of early cinema. At the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Muybridge planned to give 300 lectures in his Zoopraxigraphical Hall, discussing his life’s work. The fair featured other inventions like the debut of the original Ferris Wheel, and the inventions of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, who were both locked in their own war to be immortalized. Muybridge’s exhibit was a complete flop. Other minds had advanced upon his zoopraxiscope, and in two years an audience in France would watch a 46-second projection shot by the Lumière brothers of women leaving a factory. It was the first public screening of cinema. It had been just 18 years since Muybridge’s horse experiments, and already his work was something to be displayed in museums. A small stone in a path toward something greater. That he is largely remembered for his work capturing the motion of horses is somewhat tragic. He had pushed photography to its uttermost limit, willed it to do what he wished, until it became something entirely new. But for some 40,000 years, man had tried to understand the unseeable motion in those four legs of the horse. Da Vinci, Meissonier, everyone had failed. Then came Muybridge with his cameras. Suddenly the horse’s back legs swing up in neat lines at the joints, the front legs reach forward, then curl inward and upward to the belly, first the left, then the right. And for a moment, thanks to Muybridge, the horse is airborne.   J. Weston Phippen is a writer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Realism in theatre 27 November 2013 Late 19th Century Theatre: Realism and Naturalism II: America and England Realism and Naturalism in America Writer/performer/manager Dion Boucicault (1822-1890) wrote increasingly realistic melodramas, including The Poor of New York, an outright steal of The Poor of Paris, but set firmly in America,  framed by the financial panics of 1837 and 1857. The Octoroon; or, Life in Louisiana is about a woman white enough to “pass” but who is discovered to be black and suffers the consequences.  Boucicault was so popular a writer that he could and did demand royalties, which have become a playwright’s bread and butter (well, before they could sell the movie rights!).  Before Boucicault’s lobbying for royalties and living wages for writers, a very popular nautical melodrama, Jerrold’s Black-Eyed Susan, earned its author a paltry 70 pounds.  Boucicault earned over 500,000 pounds on the royalties for only one of his plays.  Rigorous international copyright laws did not go into effect until just after the turn of the 20th century, but Boucicault really paved the way in securing rights and money for writers. Boucicault is also usually credited with responsibility for the long run as the usual way to do theatre in the States.  Because his plays were SO popular, they no longer had to be run in rotating rep with other plays.  His plays could run on their own for weeks, months, years. Uncle Tom’s Cabin predates Boucicault’s plays in this, but it was the exception, not the rule.  After the Civil War in America, then, more and more often single plays began to be run in New York City, the center of theatrical activity, and then tour the country, not via troupes of traveling players who would incorporate it into their rotating rep, but lock stock and barrel, in what was known as a combination company – one that takes everything needed (actors, sets and costumes, technicians) to do a single play.  The rapidly constructed new railroads which began to criss-cross the US in the 1860s and 70s allowed for this new way of doing theatre: run a play in NYC as long as financially feasible, then send it out on national tours.  So this collusion of very successful single plays (it’s much easier and cheaper to tour a single play rather than a repertoire of plays) and the extraordinary transportation revolution created by the proliferation of railroads was a major factor in changing the way theatre was delivered. To give you some sense of the scope of this, by the theatrical season of 1876-77 there were nearly 100 touring companies on the (rail)road. By 1886-87 the number of touring companies in the US had nearly tripled, to 282!     One of the earliest of these “long run” plays was the Hamlet of Edwin Booth (1833-1893), which ran for 100 nights. Although his  brother John Wilkes nearly killed his brother’s career the night he assassinated Lincoln, Edwin went into seclusion but re-emerged in less than a year and rapidly became the greatest actor-manager in American theatre in the latter half of the 19th century. The 100-Nights Hamlet really launched Booth’s career. As an actor Booth believed that the theatre artists should perform only the finest drama, and that it was the actor’s job to bring out the beauty and wisdom in the play.  In Edwin Booth, then, we see one of the first (and nearly ONLY) argument for an “art” theatre in America.        Booth also ventured into new experiments with stage architecture.  In his own theatre, called Booth’s and opened in 1869, Booth got rid of the raked stage and introduced “free plantation” style sets.  These consisted of large set pieces and flats not dependent on painted side wings, but “planted” in different parts of the stage.   These set pieces could be flown from above or raised from below on the elevators he installed.  The free plantation system created a more realistic look on stage, and Booth often used box sets in his plays for still greater scenic realism.        Edwin Booth was certainly the most important American actor-manager at this time, but another is worth mentioning, because in  what was almost exclusively a man’s domain, Laura Keene (1820-1893) was, obviously, a woman!  Keene battled from the 1850s to the 1870s, to secure her own theatre in competition with several males, most of whom wanted to destroy her merely because she was a woman. She became tremendously popular in spite of all sorts of hardships.  Keene used to be known only as the star of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was shot, but more recently, Keene has become a landmark example of American women actor managers — she was hardly the only one, and not the first, but one of the most important.    Two men deserve attention at this time because they ran theatres, directed actors, and wrote plays but did NOT star in them.  In breaking from the actor/manager tradition, Augustin Daly and David Belasco became two of the earliest professional directors in American (or any other) theatre.  Augustin Daly (1836-1899)  was quite a hustler. He wrote drama criticism under assumed names for 5 different newspapers in NYC.  While it was not unusual to write under a nom de plume, it was unusual to write for so many papers, and to critique plays while producing your own plays. A Daly play opens, and 5 papers automatically love it!  This interesting take on self promotion didn’t last for long, and much more importantly, Daly was a major contributor to stage realism,  not in his stories, which were totally melodramatic. It was Daly’s idea, for example, to tie a person to a railroad track to gain suspense in a play called Under the Gaslight. But he was realistic in his staging techniques.  In his production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, for example, Daly’s scene painters reproduced precise renderings of famous sites in the title  Hisstorical accuracy at the expense of the play? city. In his Midsummer Night’s Dream, fifth century BC Athens was re-created as closely as possible on the stage.  Daly was also crucial in the development of the professional director in that he insisted upon absolute control over all elements of production.  He wooed the best actors in America to his company, including Clara Morris,  who, because she was so fine at pathetic suffering, was known as the “queen of spasms” and John Drew II, a fine leading man, and one of the earliest of the line which became the Barrymore family. Drew played leading roles opposite Ada Rehan, as Petruchio to her Kate for example.  Rehan became Daly’s favorite — in fact she became his mistress! And while Daly otherwise insisted on the importance of ensemble playing, he made Ada Rehan a star.        If Daly was known for realistic staging, David Belasco (1854-1931) became famous for stage naturalism. At the same time that  Andre Antoine was directing naturalist drama on stage in Paris, Belasco was doing it in New York.  Belasco wrote many of the plays he produced, including Heart of Maryland (1895) in which a daughter saves her father from execution by hanging on the clapper of the bell that is to ring in the hour of his death. You’ve heard of “cliff-hangers..Maryland is the first (and I hope only) bell-hanger! Two other of his plays, Madame Butterfly (1900) and Girl of the Golden West  (1905), were operatized by Puccini and are much better known as operas – melodramatic? Nooooo!  But Belasco is best remembered for his staging.  When he directed Eugene Walters’ grittily naturalistic The Easiest Way (1909), Belasco, he needed a cheap boardinghouse room for his main character (a prostitute who could have broken away from her awful existence by marrying a reporter who loved her, but who instead took the “easiest way” and remained in her trade), so he merely bought an entire boardinghouse in the infamous “tenderloin” district of Manhattan and put what he needed of it on the stage.  In the Governor’s Lady there was a scene set in a restaurant.  Belasco bought one of the Child’s chain of restaurants and simply placed it on the stage!  Belasco was also a flamboyant producer and star-maker, one of the great early American directors.        Another early director was Steele MacKaye (1842-1894), also an actor, playwright, & inventor.  MacKaye brought Delsarte’s system  of performance training to America and started one of the earliest acting schools in the U.S., which would later become the American Academy of Dramatic Art. He wrote very realistic melodramas, including Marriage (1869) and Hazel Kirke (1878).  The realism in these plays was more in the staging than in the story.  MacKaye was an idealist, and started several theatres.  Along with Booth, MacKaye was one of the few who advocated for art in the nineteenth century American theatre, where the dollar was almighty.  Unfortunately, MacKaye’s idealism lost him lots of money, but this did not stop him from experimenting and inventing.   He came up with an early form of air conditioning a theatre auditorium (huge blocks of ice placed just out of sight, blown by large fans to cool a theatre on a hot summer’s night). He used huge elevators for quicker set changes.  It was usual at the time to listen to music during set changes, with hammers banging in the background, for 5-10 minutes between scenes.  MacKaye’s elevator system cut the time it took to change even complicated scenes to 40 seconds.  MacKaye was also one of the first directors to see the potential of and to use electric light in the theatre.        It is at this time that America’s unique gift to world theatre, the musical, was born.  In 1866 a melodrama was in its final stages of rehearsal, but James Niblo, manager of Niblo’s Garden’s Theatre, saw that it was in major trouble. It was missing…something!   Meanwhile, nearby in Manhattan, another theatre has burned down, leaving a troupe of French female dancers nowhere to play.  The answer?  Niblo decided to combine forces with the dance troupe, and accidentally created what is usually called the first American musical, The Black Crook.  Granted, most melodramas made use of music, but this was something else, and the formula Niblo stumbled on out of necessity created a sensation. Niblo had great settings (the play was a fantasy, in which a magician is constantly transforming things, making use of lots of sets and set changes) and a pretty crummy story.  But when the dancing girls arrived, he realized he didn’t really NEED a story. He  had a chorus line of lovely legs!  This combination of spectacle and cheesecake proved a huge success. The Black Crook was a hit! The next year another foreign troupe, Lydia Bailey and her British Blondes, took New York by storm in a similar manner. After these two experiments, in 1874 Evangeline hit the stage. Based VERY loosely upon a Longfellow poem, this  Evangeline? show featured scantily clad dancers, a whale and a dancing heifer (two men in a cow-costume), along with songs such as “In Love with the Man in the Moon.” Despite the critics, one of whom wrote of it: “Several scenes are so stupid, that it is difficult to contemplate them without going to sleep,” Evangeline became hugely popular and others like it began to be written. Audiences began to get a steady stream of these new musical entertainments, and little changed in the format of the American musical until December 1927…but more of that later! The heifer dance from Evangeline Quick sidebar: for a great description of Evangeline have a look at this website from the New York Public Library: http://www.nypl.org/blog/2012/11/30/musical-month-evangeline Burlesque star Eva Tanguay If you move towards scantily clad women and away from a well-plotted play, you get burlesque American style — a collection of variety acts and musical numbers in which women “take off”, not in the sense of mocking other forms, but in the sense of their clothes!  Tony Pastor cleaned up the burlesque around the turn of the century, made it suitable for the entire family, usually, and called it vaudeville, which was a hugely successful form until the talking pictures began stealing its audiences away.     There were many famous actors working in the U.S. at this time,  and several of them I’ve already mentioned.  Let’s look quickly at three more: William Gillette was a major star in the 1890s, and wrote plays as vehicles for himself, including Secret Service (1892) and Sherlock Holmes (1895). He was a highly realistic actor.  It was Gillette who first said that every night an actor plays, s/he should attempt to present “the illusion of the first time.”        James O’Neill was an actor who had played Othello to Edwin Booth’s Iago, but then got sucked into a play version of The Count of Monte Cristo, which he toured everywhere, which he made tons of money from, and which nearly destroyed his family…read his son’ Eugene’s play on the subject, Long Day’s Journey into Night.        Finally, Richard Mansfield, star of melodrama (Beau Brummel),  dabbler in Shakespearean roles (Richard III probably best among them), introducer of Shaw to America (Arms and the Man, Devil’s Disciple) — he toured England and flopped there, but was probably the most popular actor in America in the 1890s.  The man he tried to emulate was the most famous actor in England at the time — Henry Irving.  And this brings us briefly to England.  Quick Look at Late Nineteenth Century British Theatre        Henry Irving was the undisputed star of the London stage at the end of the century.  In fact British theatre at the end of the century has been referred to as the age of Irving – this means that not only was he the greatest actor of his age, but also that he typifies the period.  Irving began his career in 1871 as a player of leading roles at the Lyceum, a theatre he remained associated with all his life.  In 1878, Irving took over management of the Lyceum, where he strove for pictorial realism.  As Booth had done in America,  Irving ripped out the wings and grooves on the stage, replaced the raked floor with a flat floor — the stage was equipped with flies that sent scenery in from above and elevators that lifted it from below, all in the service of free plantation of the scenery.  Irving’s repertoire featured a traditional mix of Shakespeare and melodrama, but he used modern staging methods to produce the plays.  Irving was knighted in 1895, the first actor in England to be knighted, and as important as it was for Irving, it also marked a new respect for at least some actors in England.     Irving’s leading lady, and surely the most popular actress in London during the late 19th century, was Ellen Terry.   She came from a  theatrical family; her sister Kate, for example, also had a fine career, her son was Gordon Craig, about whom we’ll speak next week, and her grandson was John Gielgud!  Terry excelled at Shakespearean comedy, particularly in the roles of Beatrice, Viola, and Portia; but she was also quite fine in serious roles, such as Lady Macbeth. She was made the first Dame (which is somewhat equivalent to knighthood for women), shortly after Irving was knighted. A rather unique contribution to musical theatre was created in late  nineteenth century London by William Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900), who wrote a series of satirical comic operettas for the Savoy Theatre between the mid-1870s and the mid-1890s.  The operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, which include HMS Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879), and The Mikado (1885), remain staples of that genre today and are still frequently performed. At the turn of the century, actor/manager Herbert Beerbohm-Tree (1853-1917) was one of the most important performers and also  one the last of the great actor/managers.   Beerbohm-Tree offered audiences Shakespeare the old fashioned way, and played many of the Bard’s great comic as well as serious roles.  His production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream featured live rabbits in a super-realistic forest.  The star’s greatest success came in 1916 when he offered a London public in dire need of escape from the ugly fact of the First World War a musical extravaganza called Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, which ran for 2,000 performances, the longest running show to that date in London. Beerbohm-Tree also originated the role of Henry Higgins for George Bernard Shaw in Pygmalion.  This places him at a strategic moment while extravaganzas were popular, but while other new theatrical styles were ushering in the modern era. In terms of theatre spaces in Europe, England and the U.S., towards the end of the century as realism became more and more THE trend, theatres in England became more and more complicated backstage and became somewhat more intimate.  Mainstream theatres built at the end of the 19th century began to abandon the pit, box, and gallery system for the orchestra (or stalls, or parterre) and balcony system we’re used to today on Broadway. In fact the first theatres built around 42nd Street in NYC were built at the turn of the century.  The usual seating capacity went down from 2,000-3,000 seats to 1000-1500 seats. For example, the New Amsterdam, built in the early years of the 20th century, seats a bit over 1700. In recent lectures I’ve simplified a highly complex time period.  Mainstream theatre featured realistic dramas, but various anti-realistic theatrical movements were growing as well.  It gets more complicated as we move forward, but in order to do that will now move back a bit in time, to writers, directors, designers, who began to experiment with  form that we have labeled the “modern.”
Compare and contrast two works from two different movements in this module: realism, Romanticism, Impressionism, NeoClassicism or another that you are interested in. Think about these artists in relat
Modern humanities unit three Romanticism Realism Impressionism Post Impressionism Symbolism MUSIC:Vladimir Asjhkenazy chopin 24 preludes Watch this interesting video!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjQQfsp8hsE Watch the performance of all 24 preludes by chopin in youtube. This probably gives you some insight into what nineteenth century audiences liked about romantic style. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjQQfsp8hsE impressionism film Art: The Case for Impressionism: pbs Watch this exiting video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tw51Eh9vcw Explainer: how Romanticism rebelled against cold-hearted rationality Published: July 25, 2018 4.09pm EDT Author matthew Ryan Lecturer in Literature, Australian Catholic University Disclosure statement Matthew Ryan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Romanticism is often fixed within a period running from the late-18th to early-19th century. But Romanticism as a cultural movement and as a set of ideas influencing visual art, literature, philosophy and politics, bleeds out beyond these designated boundaries. Indeed, its influence continues in the 21st century. When we think about the qualities of imagination, the natural world or the composition of the self, we usually call upon an idea or two from what has come to be known as Romanticism. In 21st-century culture, Romantic ideas usually appear when the human and the natural worlds are brought together. For example, the novels of Peter Carey or Tim Winton sometimes set up a type of metaphysical resonance between landscape and the formation (or dissipation) of the self. Or, we see a fantasy of our integration with nature (tinged with Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “nascent humanity”) in James Cameron’s film Avatar. Even the feedback loop of depression and apocalypse that appears in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, owes something to Romanticism. Read news coverage based on evidence, not tweets The term “Romanticism” derives from the attraction of some 18th-century German and English thinkers to the culture of the Middle Ages. “Romance” – such as that exhibited in the 13th-century French stories of King Arthur- provided a model of imaginative non-realism, intensity of feeling and decisiveness of action that appealed to young artistic rebels. The Middle Ages also offered an imagined community of integrated harmony that contrasted with the transformations and tumult of late 18th-century Europe. Often, Romanticism is seen as a counterpoint to the Enlightenment. In 1784, Immanuel Kant suggested a slogan for the Enlightenment: “Have courage to use your own understanding!” This prompted the question: what is the nature of that understanding? Wikimedia Commons The modern world can still be understood as swinging between, on one side, the cool work of quantification and observation in scientific rationality and, on the other, a desire for the heat of life lived with intensity, in the experience of emotion or of the ineffable. These latter qualities we find in imaginative and freedom-loving Romanticism, which made a home for itself in English poetry. Poets such as Charlotte Smith, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Clare presented artistic critiques of what they saw as the exploitative and cold-hearted rationality of their times. These English poets found a refuge for their idea of free and creative humanity in nature and the imagination. Blake achieved this with his religiously inspired poetic transformations of London. Blake imagines indentured child chimney sweeps set free by angels, even as he sees everywhere the “mind-forg’d manacles” of poverty and exploitation. Blake skewers the wretched present and envisages a transcendent future through poetic imagination. Beatrice Addressing Dante by William Blake. William Blake/Wikimedia Commons The Romantic sublime Where Blake set out an idiosyncratic and radical religious revision, Wordsworth established a poetic interaction between imagination and nature in his landmark 1798 collection with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads. In his poem Tintern Abbey, Wordsworth outlines the idea of the sublime that would come to characterise the Romantic relationship between humanity and nature. Wordsworth encounters nature but in it hears the “sad music of humanity”: And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man The Romantic sublime here casts nature as a stern teacher ready to impart wisdom if only humanity could be still and listen carefully. Edmund Burke went a little further with his theory of the sublime, in which the teacher is more like a crazed god who might overwhelm and annihilate us. Surviving the encounter, however, we are endowed with wonder and insight. The Romantic sublime in Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey casts nature as as a stern teacher ready to impart wisdom if only humanity could be still and listen carefully. shutterstock Wordsworth explained this control of the sublime experience in his poetic method. In his 1800 preface to Lyrical Ballads he describes the process of recreating the experience of nature and transforming it into poetry: … poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origins from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. Wordsworth argues that it takes a special kind of “mind” to recall the intensity of emotion that accompanies an encounter with a mountain or the roiling sea. As Shelley would reiterate later, the Romantic poet is cast as an almost priestly figure, mediating between humanity and nature through “his” capacious imagination. An 1842 portrait of Wordsworth by Benjamin Robert Haydon. Wikimedia Commons But, of course, these “unacknowledged legislators” of human nature were not all men and not all so ready to present their special sensibilities. Charlotte Smith was an early Romantic poet who influenced Wordsworth. Smith’s melancholy nature poems present a less heroic vision of poetic imagination and the self. Her sonnet, To Night, includes a literary device that subsequent Romantic writers tended to neglect: irony. Wordsworth and Shelley claim to access the transcendental voice of nature without conceding that they may, in fact, merely be hearing their own echo. Smith, on the other hand, acknowledges the vanity of communing with “the deaf cold elements”. It doesn’t stop her from anthropomorphising nature in its “sullen surges” and “viewless wind”. But she, at least, recognises the game she is playing. Smith knows the human world is cruel and that nature can provide consolation, even when we admit it is actually indifferent to our suffering. In a way that Kant might not have anticipated, Smith presents a Romantic kind of enlightenment – a courage to use one’s own understanding of sorrow. She addresses “Night” with some of the saddest and bravest lines in English poetry: I still enjoy thee — cheerless as thou art; For in thy quiet gloom the exhausted heart Is calm, tho’ wretched; hopeless, yet resign’d. This Romantic voice takes responsibility for itself by artfully imagining nature as a cool but consoling companion, rather than a distant sage or annihilating god. It is a knowing projection of our capacity for calm, set against a frantic and unjust world. Nineteenth-Century French Realism Ross FinocchioDepartment of European Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art October 2004 The Realist movement in French art flourished from about 1840 until the late nineteenth century, and sought to convey a truthful and objective vision of contemporary life. Realism emerged in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1848 that overturned the monarchy of Louis-Philippe and developed during the period of the Second Empire under Napoleon III. As French society fought for democratic reform, the Realists democratized art by depicting modern subjects drawn from the everyday lives of the working class. Rejecting the idealized classicism of academic art and the exotic themes of Romanticism, Realism was based on direct observation of the modern world. In keeping with Gustave Courbet’s statement in 1861 that “painting is an essentially concrete art and can only consist in the representation of real and existing things,” Realists recorded in often gritty detail the present-day existence of humble people, paralleling related trends in the naturalist literature of Émile Zola, Honoré de Balzac, and Gustave Flaubert. The elevation of the working class into the realms of high art and literature coincided with Pierre Proudhon’s socialist philosophies and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, which urged a proletarian uprising. Courbet (1819–1877) established himself as the leading proponent of Realism by challenging the primacy of history painting, long favored at the official Salons and the École des Beaux-Arts, the state-sponsored art academy. The groundbreaking works that Courbet exhibited at the Paris Salons of 1849 and 1850–51—notably A Burial at Ornans (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) and The Stonebreakers (destroyed)—portrayed ordinary people from the artist’s native region on the monumental scale formerly reserved for the elevating themes of history painting. At the time, Courbet’s choice of contemporary subject matter and his flouting of artistic convention was interpreted by some as an anti-authoritarian political threat. Proudhon, in fact, read The Stonebreakers as an “irony directed against our industrialized civilization … which is incapable of freeing man from the heaviest, most difficult, most unpleasant tasks, the eternal lot of the poor.” To achieve an honest and straightforward depiction of rural life, Courbet eschewed the idealized academic technique and employed a deliberately simple style, rooted in popular imagery, which seemed crude to many critics of the day. His Young Ladies of the Village (40.175), exhibited at the Salon of 1852, violates conventional rules of scale and perspective and challenges traditional class distinctions by underlining the close connections between the young women (the artist’s sisters), who represent the emerging rural middle class, and the poor cowherd who accepts their charity. When two of Courbet’s major works (A Burial at Ornans and The Painter’s Studio) were rejected by the jury of the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris, he withdrew his eleven accepted submissions and displayed his paintings privately in his Pavillon du Réalisme, not far from the official international exhibition. For the introduction to the catalogue of this independent, one-man show, Courbet wrote a Realist manifesto, echoing the tone of the period’s political manifestos, in which he asserts his goal as an artist “to translate the customs, the ideas, the appearance of my epoch according to my own estimation.” In his autobiographical Painter’s Studio (Musée d’Orsay), Courbet is surrounded by groups of his friends, patrons, and even his models, documenting his artistic and political experiences since the Revolution of 1848. During the same period, Jean-François Millet (1814–1875) executed scenes of rural life that monumentalize peasants at work, such as Sheep Shearing Beneath a Tree (40.12.3). While a large portion of the French population was migrating from rural areas to the industrialized cities, Millet left Paris in 1849 and settled in Barbizon, where he lived the rest of his life, close to the rustic subjects he painted throughout his career. The Gleaners (Musée d’Orsay, Paris), exhibited at the Salon of 1857, created a scandal because of its honest depiction of rural poverty. The bent postures of Millet’s gleaners, as well as his heavy application of paint, emphasize the physical hardship of their task. Like Courbet’s portrayal of stonebreakers, Millet’s choice of subject was considered politically subversive, even though his style was more conservative than that of Courbet, reflecting his academic training. Millet endows his subjects with a sculptural presence that recalls the art of Michelangelo and Nicolas Poussin, as seen in his Woman with a Rake (38.75). His tendency to generalize his figures gives many of his works a sentimental quality that distinguishes them from Courbet’s unidealized paintings. Vincent van Gogh greatly admired Millet and made copies of his compositions, including First Steps, after Millet (64.165.2). The socially conscious art of Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) offers an urban counterpart to that of Millet. Daumier highlighted socioeconomic distinctions in the newly modernized urban environment in a group of paintings executed around 1864 that illustrate the experience of modern rail travel in first-, second-, and third-class train compartments. In The First-Class Carriage (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore), there is almost no physical or psychological contact among the four well-dressed figures, whereas The Third-Class Carriage (29.100.129) is tightly packed with an anonymous crowd of working-class men and women. In the foreground, Daumier isolates three generations of an apparently fatherless family, conveying the hardship of their daily existence through the weary poses of the young mother and sleeping boy. Though clearly of humble means, their postures, clothing, and facial features are rendered in as much detail as those of the first-class travelers. Best known as a lithographer, Daumier produced thousands of graphic works for journals such as La Caricature and Le Charivari, satirizing government officials and the manners of the bourgeoisie. As early as 1832, Daumier was imprisoned for an image of Louis-Philippe as Rabelais’ Gargantua, seated on a commode and expelling public honors to his supporters. Daumier parodied the king again in 1834 with his caricature The Past, the Present, and the Future (41.16.1), in which the increasingly sour expressions on the three faces of Louis-Philippe suggest the failures of his regime. In the same year, Daumier published Rue Transnonain, April 15, 1834, in the journal Association Mensuelle (20.23). Though Daumier did not witness the event portrayed—the violent suppression of a workers’ demonstration—the work is unsparing in its grim depiction of death and government brutality; Louis-Philippe ordered the destruction of all circulating prints immediately after its publication. As a result of Courbet’s political activism during the Paris Commune of 1871, he too was jailed. Incarcerated at Versailles before serving a six-month prison sentence for participation in the destruction of the Vendôme Column, Courbet documented his observations of the conditions under which children were held in his drawing Young Communards in Prison (1999.251), published in the magazine L’Autograph, one of a small number of works inspired by his experiences following the fall of the Commune. Like Millet, Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899) favored rural imagery and developed an idealizing style derived from the art of the past. Similar in scale to Courbet’s works of the same period, Bonheur’s imposing Horse Fair (87.25), shown at the Salon of 1853, is the product of extensive preparatory drawings and the artist’s scientific study of animal anatomy; her style also reflects the influence of such Romantic painters as Delacroix and Gericault and the classical equine sculpture from the Parthenon. Édouard Manet and the Impressionists were the immediate heirs to the Realist legacy, as they too embraced the imagery of modern life. By the 1870s and 1880s, however, their art no longer carried the political charge of Realism. Citation Finocchio, Ross. “Nineteenth-Century French Realism.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/rlsm/hd_rlsm.htm (October 2004) Further Reading Nochlin, Linda. Realism. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971. Nochlin, Linda. Realism and Tradition in Art, 1848–1900: Sources and Documents. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966. Tinterow, Gary. Introduction to Modern Europe / The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. See on MetPublications Impressionism: The Movement That Went Against The French Art Academy Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise. Photo courtesy of Musée Marmottan Impressionism definition: what is Impressionism? By definition, Impressionism is a 19th-century avant-garde art movement that originated in France as a reaction against the established art of the French Academy and the government-sponsored annual exhibitions (Salons). The aim was to accurately portray visual impressions by painting scenes and subjects on the spot, using visible brushstrokes to record the changing qualities of light and movement. Today one of the most universally beloved art movements, selling for some of the highest prices, Impressionism was considered controversial and boundary-breaking in its time and artists like Monet, Degas and Renoir were shunned by the art establishment, causing quite a stir with their radical new style of painting. Key dates: 1867-1886Key regions: France, and later England.Key words: anti-academy, painting en plein air, nature scenes, urban everyday lifeKey artists: Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley The origins of Impressionism Following the example of the ground-breaking 1863 Salon des Refusés, in the spring of 1874 a group of unacknowledged French painters, who at the time called themselves Le Societé Anonyme des Artistes and organised exhibitions that were not controlled by the reigning Paris Salon, organised an exhibition in the former studio space of one of their friends, the notorious photographer Nadar. The exhibition included works by Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Berthe Morisot. Approximately 200 works were exhibited, and seen by about 4000 people. As the well-known story goes, art critic Louis Leroy gave a seething review of the exhibition, mockingly naming the group Impressionists, after Monet’s painting Impression: Sunrise which was particularly ridiculed by critics. “Impression—I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it … and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape,” were the mocking words of Leroy. The artists, however, co-opted the term and were from then on to be known as the Impressionists. The exhibition made history. This was the first time that Paris had witnessed a large-scale independent exhibition of avant-garde art, a direct challenge to the salon, the academic tradition’s historical subject matter and methods, and the official art world. Claude Monet, Water Lilies Green Reflection. Photo courtesy of Musée de l’Orangerie Key ideas behind Impressionism The greatest difference between the style and method of the Impressionists compared to the art of the established Académie des Beaux-Arts was that these artists moved away from completely realistic depictions of historical subject matter. They were interested in nature and landscape scenes (one can think of Monet’s harbor views, seascapes and garden impressions), as well as urban everyday life scenes (think of Degas entering dance halls, opera houses and ballet classes to paint these everyday subjects then and there, or Renoir’s keen eye for Parisian leisure-seekers). Preferring to work en plein air (in the open air) or on the spot, rather than in the studio, Impressionists found that they could better capture the fickle, ever-changing effects of sunlight, the transient effects of light and colour, and the essence of their subject matter, by painting quickly, with their subjects right in front of them. Their brushwork became rapid, more broken up into separate strokes and dabs so as to capture the fleeting quality of light. Edgar Degas, The Dance Class. Photo courtesy of the Met Museum Pierre Auguste Renoir, Dance at Bougival. Photo courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Boston Famous Impressionists Claude Monet (1840–1926) Monet is arguably the most famous of the Impressionists as well as the only one who continued to fervently paint nature scenes throughout his life. Monet’s early period also included many scenes from everyday modern life, but his main passion was depicting his radical, passionate view of nature. One could say this culminated in his most famous and beloved series, the Water Lilies. In 1893, Monet bought a strip of marshland across the road from his house in Giverny, where he cultivated a water lily garden. For the last 20 years of his life, this is where he pioneered a new type of spatiality in painting with that open composition in his paintings of his water lilies and Japanese bridge. Monet’s large Water Lily cycle was offered to the French state by Monet himself as a symbol for peace after the armistice in 1918, and were hung in the Orangerie Museum in 1927, a few months after his death. André Masson described this as the “Sixtine of Impressionism”, referring to the Sistine Chapel. Besides the seminal Impression, Sunrise and the iconic Water Lilies, the artist’s mastrepieces include Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (1865–1866); Coquelicots, La promenade (Poppies), 1873; Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son, 1875; and Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877. Claude Monet, Coquelicots, La promenade (Poppies), 1873, Musée d’Orsay, Paris Edgar Degas (1834–1917) Although he refused to qualify as an impressionist artist – preferring to call himself a ‘Realist’ or ‘Independent’ instead, Edgar Degas was one of the most emblematic artists of the Impressionist movement in France, only distinguished from other members from by his favour for inside settings illuminated by artificial light over plein-air landscapes. Born in Paris in 1834, he studied under Louis Lamothe – a former pupil of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres – at the École des Beaux-Arts and his earlier paintings feature academic subjects and styles. It was only in 1865 that he changed course focusing his attention on scenes of modern life: from bustling cafès and theatres to horse racing and, most importantly, his iconic ballet dancers. Devoted to the study and realistic representation of movement, he found in dancers the ideal subject, eventually producing around 1,500 works in different media on the subject. Edgar Degas, At the Races, 1877–1880, oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris Camille Pissarro (1830–1903) Often regarded as the “father of Impressionism,” Camille Pissarro was the only artist, along with Edgar Degas, to take part in all eight of the Impressionist exhibitions from 1874 to 1886.He is known for his revelatory en-plein-airs depicting landscapes and urban French life, as he shared with the other Impressionists the desire to record the modern world by capturing the transient effects of light and colour with a specific focus on textures and chromatic values.Although in his later life, his friends Paul Signac and Georges Seurat encouraged him to explore the techniques of Pointillism and Neo-Impressionism, after a time, he went back to working in the Impressionist style.One of the movement’s most important core members, Pissarro held the group together encouraging and supporting other members, to the extent that art historian John Rewald called Pissarro the “dean of the Impressionist painters”, not only because he was the oldest of the group, but also “by virtue of his wisdom and his balanced, kind, and warmhearted personality.”Among his most famous works stand out Two Women Chatting by the Sea, St. Thomas (1856); Road to Versailles at Louveciennes (1869); The Boulevard Montmartre at Night (1897); and The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning (1897). Camille Pissarro, The Boulevard Montmartre at Night, 1897, National Gallery, London. Reception and legacy Seven further exhibitions followed at intervals until 1886 and the influence of Impressionism spread beyond France, especially in Britain.By the mid 1880s, the group had started to dissolve, as each artist started to pursue their own principles and interests. However, Impressionism paved the way for many avant-garde experiences that followed, from Post-Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism to Fauvism and Cubism.Post-Impressionists rejected Impressionism’s concern with a naturalistic rendering of light and colour, and focused on more symbolic content, formal order, and structure, and believed in using colour as an expression of emotions and meaning. The main proponents of this movement were Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and former Impressionist artists Cézanne and Degas.Neo-Impressionists like Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and their followers, on the other hand, were inspired by optical theory, ultimately abandoning the random spontaneity of Impressionism in favour of a measured, science-based painting technique.Although initially greeted with derision, today Impressionism is widely-adored, and selling for some of the highest prices Working Girls October 2002 Issue Degas and the Dancers Obsessed by the ballet, Edgar Degas created hundreds of paintings and sculptures which captured the harsh realities of 19th-century dancers’ lives and hinged on his voyeuristic fascination with the pain ballet inflicted on female bodies. As a major exhibition devoted to Degas’s art of the dance opens in Detroit, the author explores the sexual undercurrents that drew this conservative, lifelong bachelor to his greatest subject, the creeping blindness that led to his famous wax model of 14-year-old Marie van Goethem, and the revolutionary mix of beauty and brutality that gave such power to his vision. By John Richardson May 18, 2009 This exhilarating exhibition celebrates Edgar Degas as the supreme painter of the ballet, indeed of the dance. It is a great show and a great subject, and the lines to see it—at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where it opens this month, and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it will open next February—are bound to be long. Nobody could have done this project more justice than Richard Kendall, the British Degas expert, and his partner, the former dancer and dance teacher Jill DeVonyar. Despite soaring insurance costs and owners’ reservations as to the wisdom of trundling major works of art around our dangerous new world, they have succeeded in assembling some 150 paintings, drawings, monotypes, and sculptures, including most of the artist’s key works in the field of ballet. Kendall and DeVonyar have also produced not so much a catalogue as a compendium, which covers every conceivable aspect of their subject, from detailed plans of the two Paris opera houses where Degas worked to the fact that “the little rats” (les petits rats), as the girls in the corps de ballet were known, had to dance in corsets. If you can’t make it to Detroit or Philadelphia, buy this absorbing book. To understand this puzzling genius, so reticent and aloof and—dare one use that abused word?—“cool,” we need to know about his surprisingly unbohemian, shockingly reactionary background. Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas was born in 1834 to a 26-year-old half-French, half-Italian banker with a taste for art and music and a 19-year-old Creole from New Orleans. Though new to money, the Degas family had scampered up social ladders on both sides of the Atlantic. Their fortune had been made mostly in Italy by the grandfather (a baker’s son), who had done well as a money changer in the Napoleonic Wars. He had acquired an elegant mansion in Paris and a 100-room palazzo in Naples, as well as a sumptuous villa outside the city—advantages that had enabled him to marry off his three daughters, unhappily, to minor members of the Neapolitan nobility. The New Orleans relations were likewise well housed: a plantation in the Mississippi Delta and a mansion in the Vieux Carré where Degas painted a celebrated view of the family’s offices, including portraits of his two brothers and various in-laws. Like his father and grandfather, Degas would always exemplify the chilly formality of the haute bourgeoisie of his time: a frock coat, a stovepipe hat, a walking stick (he was an obsessive collector of sticks and canes and lace handkerchiefs), as well as an expression of melancholy disdain and a scathing wit to match. Though his tongue may have been cruel, Degas was fanatically loyal to his family and friends (with one terrible exception, as we shall see). He also had rigorously old-fashioned notions of honor, which made his revolutionary approach to art all the more of an enigma. He frequented not only the artistic and intellectual salons of le tout Paris but also the racecourse, the setting for some of his finest early paintings. However, Degas’s natural element was the opera house, preferably the old one on the Rue le Peletier, which burned down in 1873. He never really warmed to Charles Garnier’s replacement, which opened in 1875. By far the largest opera house in the world at that time, this magnificent monstrosity employed 7,000 people, including a corps de ballet of 200. Watch Now: Oscar Isaac’s Met Gala Date Night With His Wife Elvira Lind The golden age of Romantic ballet was long since over. By the time Degas turned his attention to it, French ballet could hardly be considered an art form. This played into the artist’s hands. There were no great dancers to speak of, and until La Belle Otero appeared, there were no great beauties. On the contrary, photographs confirm that Degas was not exaggerating when he revealed his dancers to have been a depressingly dog-faced bunch. No wonder he preferred to show us a maître de ballet teaching a class or conducting a rehearsal rather than a ballerina strutting her stuff. Often, all we glimpse of a performance is the very end, when a dancer takes a curtain call in the unflattering glare of the footlights. And Degas did not take much interest in choreography either. What he enjoyed was deploying dancers in choreographic patterns of his own contrivance. Ballet had sunk to the level of kitschy interludes in operas—interludes that allowed bored operagoers enticing glimpses of women’s usually concealed legs. These wretched ballets had a certain negative importance. Partly because Wagner’s Tannhäuser did not include one, it was booed off the stage. Advertisement The lowly state of the ballet enabled Degas to capture the reality, in contrast to the artifice, of a dancer’s working life, above all the blood, sweat, and tears that permeated the rehearsal rooms. Another phenomenon of the ballet world that fascinated him was the presence of a number of men in top hats and fur-collared overcoats who were permitted to pay court to the dancers in the foyer de la danse (a kind of greenroom), as long as they took out a subscription for three seats a week. Degas knew many of these stage-door Johnnies and, like them, enjoyed making friends with the petits rats and helping them with their careers. However, his predatoriness took a very different form. He was not interested in capturing their onstage prettiness. He wanted to portray his “little monkey girls” under stress, “cracking their joints” at the barre, as he said, their youthful spirits crushed, their muscles in agony, their feet raw and bleeding. Degas—a misogynist in a misogynistic society—equated dancers with animals, particularly the racehorses whose musculature he had painted so lovingly in earlier years. He confessed later in life, “I have perhaps too often considered woman as an animal,” and he told the painter Georges Jeanniot, “Women can never forgive me; they hate me, they can feel that I am disarming them. I show them without their coquetry, in the state of animals cleaning themselves.” Apart from family members, fellow painters, and friends, Degas’s subjects were mostly women. In his early days, he did numerous portraits of women of his own circle, but in his middle 40s he switched to portraying women who worked—besides dancers, women whose occupations involved specific movements, gestures, or attitudes. He did countless studies of cabaret singers, mouths so wide-open that one can peer down the song-filled tunnels of their throats; prostitutes in black stockings and garters, waving their legs at prospective clients in the whorehouse parlor; sturdy laundresses yawning with fatigue as they lift irons as heavy as a gymnast’s weights or lug huge sacks of linen that put a becoming tension in their backs; and big-bottomed women at their ablutions (Baigneuses) straining to reach unreachable dorsal areas before emerging from the tub—one leg in, one leg out—to be wrapped in towels by a maid. At the time Degas was portraying them, Parisian laundresses were assumed to wash clothes by day and turn tricks by night, as many of the dancers also did. Like the laundresses, they were paid such a pittance that whoring was almost a necessity, “a form of social security,” according to the writer Richard Thomson. Likewise the “models” Degas used for his paintings of women bathing themselves by the fire in copper bathtubs that had to be filled by hand. In those days, “modeling” had the same ambiguous connotation it has in the personals columns of today’s newspapers. These women, heftier and more mature than “the little rats,” usually threw in their favors as a part of the job—favors that Degas is said to have rejected. Indeed, one of his models complained that this “odd monsieur … spent the four hours of my posing session combing my hair”; another grumbled that modeling for Degas for women meant “climbing into tubs and washing their asses”; yet another that all Degas ever did was work, that is to say paint or, more often, do pastels of the women in the attitudes or poses that their arduous occupations demanded. For, make no mistake, there was an undercurrent of cruelty in Degas’s voyeurism. He sometimes obliged the dancers who modeled for him in the studio to pose for hours on end—legs extended or bent, arms held high overhead—in excruciating discomfort, even for dancers inured to pain. For Degas, the effects of stress on the musculature of “the human animal” seemed to have been more than a matter of anatomical interest. If his brother René had not destroyed a quantity of erotic drawings after the artist’s death, we might have a more specific understanding of his attitude. Degas’s adoption of ballet as the principal vehicle for his art owed much to his long, close friendship, dating from college days, with Ludovic Halévy, a somewhat melancholy man known to his friends as la pluie qui marche (rain that walks). Halévy, who wrote plays, novels, and opera librettos (including Carmen and many of Jacques Offenbach’s operettas with Henri Meilhac), was a confirmed balletomane and had a huge success in 1872 with his novel about the opera’s ballet company, Madame et Monsieur Cardinal, described by Degas’s excellent biographer Roy McMullen as “a farcical, dryly ironical, often brutally realistic account of the adventures of two teen-age danseuses, Pauline and Virginie Cardinal, who become wealthy demimondaines with the connivance of their pandering, hypocritical, deadbeat parents.” As Halévy noted in his journal, his book was “a bit violent perhaps, but the truth.” Degas would doubtless have agreed. His dancers are cut from much the same cloth as the Cardinal sisters. He even shows us other Madame Cardinals pimping for their daughters in the purlieus of the opera. To contemporaries, Degas’s unsentimental view of the ballet, particularly the coolness and incisive skill with which he cuts through the tawdry artifice to the real beauty and ugliness and anguish underneath, was far more shocking than Halévy’s lightweight, sensational novel. Halévy eventually wrote a series of stories about the Cardinals, and Degas made monotypes to illustrate them, but his work was not published in book form. In his mid-40s, Degas, who had always suffered from poor eyesight and would ultimately go blind, took to making wax figures, partly for his own pleasure, partly to have something he could mold and feel and not just visualize. Degas’s first and most celebrated wax sculpture (also, at 39 inches, his tallest) is The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, which is as central to his perception of the ballet as it is to the current show. The figure was exhibited only once in the artist’s lifetime, and in a state very unlike its present one. In his quest not so much for the shock of the new as the shock of the real, Degas dressed his waxwork up in a wig with a pigtail tied in a green bow and another ribbon around her neck. Her clothes—tutu, bodice, stockings, ballet shoes—were all real. He tried to tint the girl’s waxen face and arms flesh color—alas, they came out blotchy. Similar figures of the Holy Family and saints, adorned with halos and wigs and jeweled crowns, can still be found in the churches of Southern Europe. However, Degas was among the first to use raiment to enhance reality rather than promote religious uplift. The resultant effigy was a succès de scandale, and Degas would never exhibit any of his sculptures again. It was only after his death that the waxes were cast in bronze by his heirs (150 of the originals had survived, mostly in bits and pieces; about half of them were castable). The Little Dancer was in an especially sorry state, her arms half off, but Adrien Hébrard, the celebrated bronze founder, and his assistant managed to piece the figure together again. It was a horrendous job—for instance, the bodice had been glued to the wax torso and then partly smeared with more wax. Nevertheless, the casts were remarkably successful, and although not entirely faithful to the original, they incorporate some of the real-life elements, the tutu and the bow. When the Philadelphia collector Henry McIlhenny acquired a cast of The Little Dancer, he was amused to find that the figure came with a change of tutus and a second bow for her hair. Advertisement All 74 of the original waxes—including a number of naked dancers in classical poses—were supposedly cast in an edition of 22 copies each. Except for The Little Dancer, of which there may be as many as 27 casts, those intended for sale were lettered alphabetically, A through T. A librarian friend of mine who kept a record of all the casts he could find told me that the existence of more than one identically marked example of the same cast led him to suspect that Hébrard’s lettering had not been as scrupulous as it might have been. Also, Gary Tinterow, the New York Metropolitan Museum curator and Degas specialist, wonders whether an expert should not be called in to identify the innumerable fingerprints on the waxes. He believes that many of them would turn out not to be Degas’s. A hundred years ago the public erred in seeing Degas’s ballet images as brutal. These days the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. I realized this all too clearly at the Metropolitan Museum’s magnificent 1988 retrospective when I overheard two women gushing over The Little Dancer. “Isn’t she darling?—just like my little Stephanie when she first started doing ballet. We dressed her up like this and photographed her in the same cute pose. She, too, knew she was going to be a ballerina.” In leaning forward to touch the emblematic tutu, the woman triggered an alarm, and at the same time one in me. Ballet mothers had not changed. Far from being a suitable role model for little Stephanie, Marie van Goethem, the “little rat” who posed for The Little Dancer, might have stepped straight out of the pages of Halévy’s novel. She was one of three daughters, all students at the Paris Opera school, born to a Belgian tailor and a Parisian laundress and part-time prostitute. One daughter was a hardworking dancer who ended up as a ballet instructor; Marie and the other one took after their mother. This sculpture is not about adolescent cuteness; it’s about guttersnipe grit and cheekiness. The same goes for most of the other great representations of ballet in this show: the more you study them, the more you realize that Degas never lies, never sentimentalizes the glamour or the plight of “the little rats.” His paintings, pastels, and monotypes are statements of fact, which carry the more conviction for being sublimely phrased. Degas’s sexuality, or lack of it, has always been a bit of a mystery. Especially puzzling is the contrast between the eroticism implicit in his ballet subjects and the chill and detachment of his presentation of them. Several of the artist’s friends came up with possible solutions to the mystery but little in the way of evidence. Manet was convinced that Degas was “not capable of loving a woman”; Léon Hennique, a minor writer, reported that he and the artist had shared two sisters, one of whom had complained of Degas’s virtual impotence. Van Gogh, whose work Degas admired and collected, came up with an explanation which tells us more about himself than Degas, but is nonetheless revealing. He put Degas’s “trouble having an erection” down to fears that sex might diminish his creative urge: “Degas lives like a little notary and does not love women because he knows that if he … spent a lot of time kissing them he would become mentally ill and inept.… Degas’s painting is vigorously masculine.… He looks at the human animals who are stronger than he is and [they] are kissing each other … and he paints them well, precisely because he himself is not at all pretentious about having erections.” Picasso, who may well have met Degas through the Spanish painter Ignacio Zuloaga, was particularly fascinated by Degas’s private life. I know, because I gave him one of the brothel monotypes: “Far and away the best things he ever did,” Picasso said. As a result, he asked me to track down as many others as I could. He ended up acquiring 12 more—a collection of which he was very proud, proud above all of their “vérité.” “You can actually smell them,” he would say as he showed them off to friends. Why, Picasso would ask, did Degas, who devoted his life to portraying women, not only never marry but never even have an attachment? Was he impotent or syphilitic, kinky or homosexual? After considering these and more ribald possibilities, Picasso concluded that the problem was not impotence but voyeurism: a diagnosis Degas himself had hinted at when he told the Irish writer George Moore that looking at his work was “as if you looked through a keyhole.” Since his father bore a striking resemblance to Degas, and not only went blind around the same time but also shared his taste for brothels, Picasso at 90 did a series of prints—variations on the brothel monotypes in his collection—to commemorate Degas as a father figure. On the extreme right or left edge of the prints, a Degas look-alike watches the whores, occasionally sketching them or, as Picasso reportedly put it, “fucking them with his failing eyes.” To emphasize the voyeurism, Picasso added wirelike lines to connect Degas’s gaze to the nipples and pubic triangles that are its targets. The ownership of so many monotypes apparently gave Picasso a sense of heaven-sent entitlement. However, there is evidence—as opposed to hearsay—that Degas was sexually active. In a letter to the bravura portraitist Giovanni Boldini, before the two of them set off for Spain in 1889, Degas provides the address of a discreet purveyor of condoms: “Since seduction is a distinct possibility in Andalusia, we should take care to bring back only good things from our journey.” Degas’s fear of infection was certainly justified. A professional model reported that—like most men of his period who frequented brothels—he had confessed to having had a venereal disease. The same model complained of Degas’s famously filthy language. In the end, who can wonder at Degas’s failure to take a suitable wife or mistress? Like many another member of the haute bourgeoisie, this complex genius evidently wanted to rebel against social constraints—above all rituals of courtship and marriage—just as he had rebelled against artistic constraints. Might he not have wanted to indulge in some nostalgie de la boue, a taste for low life that so often goes hand in hand with fastidiousness? The last 20 years of Degas’s life were a tragic struggle. He had to adapt his superb technique to his worsening eyesight, which enabled him to see “around the spot at which he was looking and never the spot itself,” according to his friend the English painter Walter Sickert. Amazingly, the late dancers and women washing themselves or combing their hair are more daring and dramatic in their simplifications than most of his previous work. Contours become thicker and more emphatic, colors brighter and more strident. There is even a trend toward abstraction, particularly in landscapes inspired by the blur of scenery glimpsed from a moving train. Meticulous brushstrokes give way to rougher passages of paint applied by hand as well as by brush. The artist’s fingerprints dapple the surface of the paint just as they dapple the surface of his waxes. Besides this late breakthrough, Degas had little to console him in his loneliness and looming blindness. The deaths of many of his closest friends made this sardonic man even more sardonic. Far from failing him, his celebrated wit grew ever more bitter. Painter friends were treated as if they were foes. Renoir was compared to “a cat playing with a multicolored ball of yarn”; that Symbolist visionary, Gustave Moreau, was “a hermit who knows what time the trains leave”; a visit to the baroque studio belonging to José Mariá Sert, “the Tiepolo of the Ritz,” prompted the comment “How very Spanish—and in such a quiet street.” In front of one of his friend Eugène Carrière’s famously foggy mother-and-child studies, Degas observed that someone must have been smoking in the nursery. Meanest of all was his quip to Oscar Wilde, who told Degas how well known he was in England: “Fortunately less so than you” was the reply. And when Liberty’s opened an Art Nouveau branch in Paris, he could not resist remarking, “So much taste will lead to prison.” Joking aside, Degas’s most painful affliction was the Dreyfus Affair. The artist’s passionate anti-Dreyfus stance and lapse into virulent anti-Semitism can best be understood, though certainly not condoned, in the context of the Degas family’s business debacle in New Orleans and Naples as well as Paris. As a result of the American Civil War and the Paris Commune, René Degas’s cotton brokerage and import-export business failed and took the bank down with it. Degas, who was scrupulous about such things, made himself responsible for his brother’s debts. The bailout crippled the artist’s finances and meant that he had to give up a spacious apartment and move to a studio in Montmartre. He also had to make more of an effort with dealers to promote the sale of his work. Degas blamed his misfortunes on big Jewish bankers such as the Rothschilds, whose expansion had done in some of the smaller banks. We should also remember that the villains in the Dreyfus case were the War Ministry’s corrupt administrators. To a reactionary patriot like Degas, any criticism of the army was tantamount to treachery. The saddest consequence of Degas’s anti-Dreyfus stance was his break with Ludovic Halévy, his dearest friend for the previous 40 years and one of the few to share his ironic attitude to the ballet. Degas would never see Ludovic again, but Ludovic’s son, Daniel, was more forgiving. He had idolized Degas since childhood and from the age of 16 had kept a journal of the artist’s doings and sayings. Shortly before he died, at the age of 90 in 1962, Daniel Halévy revised and published this delightful journal (Degas Parle …). His book gives an intimate and surprisingly touching portrait of the paradoxical genius: so noble that he sacrificed his fortune for his brother’s honor, such a bigot that he sacrificed the closest of all his friendships to anti-Semitism, and yet so devoted to truth in art that he spared nobody, least of all himself, in his pursuit of it. In a celebrated 1886 review, J. K. Huysmans, the doyen of fin de siècle decadence, commended Degas for his “admirable dance pictures,” in which he depicts “the moral decay of the venal female rendered stupid by [her] mechanical gambols and monotonous jumps.… In addition to the note of scorn and loathing one should notice the unforgettable veracity of the figures, captured with an ample, biting draftsmanship, with a lucid and controlled passion, with an icy feverishness.” This magnificent exhibition, “Degas and the Dance,” will reveal far more to the viewer who sees it through Huysmans’s eyes than to one who sees it through those of little Stephanie’s mother. John Richardson is an art historian. Degas and His Dancers A major exhibition and a new ballet bring the renowned artist’s obsession with dance center stage Paul Trachtman April 2003 The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse), 1873–1876, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas Wikimedia Commons “Yesterday I spent the whole day in the studio of a strange painter called Degas,” Parisian man of letters Edmond de Goncourt wrote in his diary in 1874. “Out of all the subjects in modern life he has chosen washerwomen and ballet dancers . . . it is a world of pink and white . . . the most delightful of pretexts for using pale, soft tints.” Edgar Degas, 39 years old at the time, would paint ballerinas for the rest of his career, and de Goncourt was right about the pretext. “People call me the painter of dancing girls,” Degas later told Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard. “It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.” Degas loved to deflate the image people had of him, but his words ring true, expressing his love for the grace of drawing and the charm of color. As a student Degas dreamed of drawing like Raphael and Michelangelo, and he later revived the French tradition of pastels that had flourished with the 18th-century master Chardin. But like his contemporaries, Manet, Cézanne and the Impressionists, he lived in an age of photography and electricity, and he turned to aspects of modern life—to slums, brothels and horse races—to apply his draftsmanship. Bathing nudes became a favorite subject, but he once compared his more contemporary studies to those of Rembrandt with mocking wit. “He had the luck, that Rembrandt!” Degas said. “He painted Susanna at the bath; me, I paint women at the tub.” At the ballet Degas found a world that excited both his taste for classical beauty and his eye for modern realism. He haunted the wings and classrooms of the magnificent Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opéra and its Ballet, where some of the city’s poorest young girls struggled to become the fairies, nymphs and queens of the stage. As he became part of this world of pink and white, so full of tradition, he invented new techniques for drawing and painting it. He claimed the ballet for modern art just as Cézanne was claiming the landscape. The writer Daniel Halévy, who as a youth often talked with Degas, later noted that it was at the Opéra that Degas hoped to find subjects of composition as valid as Delacroix had found in history. Now Degas’s pencil and chalk drawings, monotype prints and pastels, oil paintings and sculptures of ballerinas have been gathered from museums and private collections around the world for an exhibition entitled “Degas and the Dance.” The show was organized by the American Federation of Arts along with the Detroit Institute of the Arts, where it was first shown last year, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it is on display through May 11. In the accompanying catalog, guest curators and art historians Richard Kendall, a Degas authority, and Jill DeVonyar, a former ballet dancer, trace Degas’s life backstage based on their research in the records of the Paris Opéra Ballet. And this month at the Palais Garnier, the Ballet will premiere a dazzling new work, La Petite Danseuse de Degas, about the ballerina who posed for Degas’s most celebrated sculpture, the Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. Sparked by research in the late 1990s by the ballet company’s cultural director, Martine Kahane, and choreographed by Opéra ballet master Patrice Bart, the new work—part fact, part fantasy—is designed to evoke the world of ballet that entranced Degas and to capture the atmosphere of his paintings. The ballerinas Degas bequeathed to us remain among the most popular images in 19th-century art. The current exhibition is a reminder of just how daring the artist was in creating them. He cropped his pictures as a photographer would (and also became one); he defied traditional composition, opting for asymmetry and radical viewpoints; and he rubbed pastels over his monotype (or one-of-a-kind) prints, creating dramatic effects. Yet he always managed to keep an eye on the great masters of the past. His younger friend, the poet Paul Valéry, described him as “divided against himself; on the one hand driven by an acute preoccupation with truth, eager for all the newly introduced and more or less felicitous ways of seeing things and of painting them; on the other hand possessed by a rigorous spirit of classicism, to whose principles of elegance, simplicity and style he devoted a lifetime of analysis.” Degas became a painter in an extraordinary period and place. He was born in Paris in 1834, two years after Manet and during a decade that saw the birth of the painters Cézanne, Monet, Renoir and Berthe Morisot and the poets Mallarmé and Verlaine. His father was a banker and art lover who supported his son’s studies, sending him in 1855 to the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. The family had branches in Italy and in the United States (his mother was Creole, born in New Orleans), and young Degas went to Italy to study the masters, spending several years in Naples, Florence and Rome, where he copied Vatican treasures and Roman antiquities, before returning to Paris in 1859. There he at first labored with huge canvases—historical subjects and portraits like those Ingres and Delacroix had painted a generation before— for the RoyalAcademy’s official Salon exhibitions. Then in 1862, while copying a Velázquez at the Louvre, Degas met the artist Edouard Manet, who drew him into the circle of Impressionist painters. It was in part due to Manet’s influence that Degas turned to subjects from contemporary life, including café scenes, the theater and dance. Degas’s affluence was not unique among the painters of his day. His young friend Daniel Halévy called him “one of the children of the Second Empire,” a period that had produced an enormously rich bourgeoisie. These artists, Halévy said, included “the Manets, the Degas, the Cézannes, the Puvis de Chavannes. They pursued their work without asking anything of anyone.” As Halévy saw it, financial independence was the root of modern art in his day. “Their state of liberty is rare in the history of the arts, perhaps unique,” he reflected. “Never were artists freer in their researches.” Degas found a studio and an apartment in the bohemian district of Montmartre, where he lived and worked most of his life. It was a quarter of artists’ studios and cabarets, the well-off and the poor, washerwomen and prostitutes. As Kendall and DeVonyar point out, his neighbors over the years included Renoir, Gustave Moreau (later Matisse’s teacher), Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassatt and van Gogh, as well as musicians, dancers and other artists who worked at the Paris Opéra and its ballet. One of Degas’s close friends was the writer Ludovic Halévy (Daniel’s father), who collaborated with popular composers such as Delibes, Offenbach and Bizet. The artist could walk from his apartment to the gallery of art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, where he showed one of his first ballet pictures in 1871, and to the old rue Le Peletier opera house, which was destroyed by fire in 1873. Opera and ballet were a fashionable part of Parisian cultural life, and Degas was likely in the audience long before he began to paint the dancers. Indeed, some of his first dance paintings portray the audience and orchestra as prominently as the ballerinas onstage. Degas also wanted to get behind the scenes, but that wasn’t easy. It was a privilege paid for by wealthy male subscription holders, called abonnés, who often lurked in the foyers, flirted with the dancers in the wings and laid siege to their dressing rooms. Degas at first had to invoke the help of influential friends to slip him into the ballerinas’ private world (he would later become an abonné himself). In a circa 1882 letter to Albert Hecht, a prominent collector and friend, he wrote, “My dear Hecht, Have you the power to get the Opéra to give me a pass for the day of the dance examination, which, so I have been told, is to be on Thursday? I have done so many of these dance examinations without having seen them that I am a little ashamed of it.” For a time, Degas turned his attention to the abonnés, stalking them as they stalked the dancers. In the 1870s the elder Halévy had written a series of stories, The Cardinal Family, satirizing the often sordid affairs of young dancers, their mothers and the abonnés. Degas produced a suite of monotype prints for the stories, portraying the abonnés as dark, top-hatted figures. (Similar figures would appear in some of his other compositions as well.) Although Halévy didn’t use them when the collection was published, they are among Degas’s most haunting dance images, with a realism reminiscent of the caricatures of his contemporary, Daumier. Though Degas exhibited his work with the Impressionists, his realism always set him apart. The Impressionists, complained the poet Valéry, “reduced the whole intellectual side of art to a few questions about texture and the coloring of shadows. The brain became nothing but retina.” Degas’s contemporaries saw something more in his work. Daniel Halévy described it as a “depoetization” of life, a fascination with the simplest, most intimate, least beautiful gestures— ballerinas stretching at the bar, practicing positions, waiting in the wings, taking instruction, scratching themselves, tying their shoes, adjusting their tutus, rubbing sore muscles, fixing their hair, fanning, talking, flirting, daydreaming, and doing almost everything but dancing. Degas’s pictures of ballerinas performing onstage convey exquisitely what makes ballet ballet—all that balance, grace and radiance that a contemporary critic called “mimed poetry, dream made visible.” But, paradoxically, Degas preferred to portray ballet by stripping away the poetry and illusion to show the hard work, the boredom, the more common beauty behind the scenes. In a sonnet written about 1889, Degas addressed the young ballerinas: “One knows that in your world / Queens are made of distance and greasepaint.” Some complained that the greasepaint showed. Degas’s idol Ingres, who had advised him as a neophyte painter to draw constantly from memory and nature, and who had painted dancing nymphs into his own romantic tableaus, longed for the more courtly ballet of earlier days. “We see wretches disfigured by their efforts, red, inflamed with fatigue, and so indecently strapped-up that they would be more modest if they were naked,” he wrote. In 1875, a new Paris opera house opened—the Palais Garnier, named after its architect, Charles Garnier. It was a towering edifice of marble ornament and gilded decor, all but encrusted with antique statuary and classic murals. Garnier designed a mirrored foyer for backstage, he wrote, “as a setting for the charming swarms of ballerinas, in their picturesque and coquettish costumes.” To the young student dancers, affectionately called “petit rats,” Degas with his sketch pad became a familiar sight. Abackstage friend noted, “He comes here in the morning. He watches all the exercises in which the movements are analyzed, and . . . nothing in the most complicated step escapes his gaze.” One ballerina later recalled that he “used to stand at the top or bottom of the many staircases . . . drawing the dancers as they rushed up and down.” Sometimes he made notes on his drawings, criticizing a dancer’s balance, or the placement of a leg. On one sketch he jotted down a teacher’s comment about a student’s awkwardness: “She looks like a dog pissing.” But the drawings Degas made backstage were few compared with the prodigious number he produced in his studio, where he paid petit rats and accomplished ballerinas to pose. In fact, Degas’s studio was once visited by an inspector from the police morals unit, wanting to know why so many little girls were coming and going. “Think of it!” writes the Opéra’s Martine Kahane. “The district of prostitutes and laundresses was alarmed!” Degas enjoyed the company of these dancers, who shared gossip with him as they posed, but his affection for them was paternal. Trying to advance the career of one young dancer, he wrote to Ludovic Halévy, “You must know what a dancer is like who wants you to put in a word for her. She comes back twice a day to know if one has seen, if one has written. . . . And she wants it done at once. And she would like, if she could, to take you in her arms wrapped in a blanket and carry you to the Opéra!” Unlike his brother Achille, who had an affair with a ballerina, Degas seems to have remained chaste and was, in the view of many, a misogynist. When told that a certain lady failed to show up at one of his dinners because she was “suffering,” he relayed her comment scornfully to a friend. “Wasn’t it true?” the friend asked. “How does one ever know?” retorted Degas. “Women invented the word ‘suffering.’ ” Yet he became close friends with a number of women, including painters Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, and some of the leading opera divas and prima ballerinas of the day. Later in life Degas gained a reputation as a recluse, even a misanthrope. This was partly because his eyesight began failing in the 1870s, a problem that often depressed him. But his biting wit helped to isolate him as well. “I am not a misanthrope, far from it,” he told Daniel Halévy in 1897, “but it is sad to live surrounded by scoundrels.” He could put people off—“I want people to believe me wicked,” he once declared— but he had misgivings about his attitude. In his 60s, he wrote to a friend, “I am meditating on the state of celibacy, and a good three quarters of what I tell myself is sad.” The sketches Degas made in his studio and backstage at the Opéra were only the starting point for an artist who loved to experiment and rarely considered anything finished. He would make repeated tracings from his drawings as a way of correcting them, recalled Vollard. “He would usually make the corrections by beginning the new figure outside of the original outlines, the drawing growing larger and larger until a nude no bigger than a hand became life-size—only to be abandoned in the end.” The single figures in his sketches would show up in his paintings as part of a group, only to reappear in other scenes in other paintings. When a friend taught him how to make a monotype print by drawing on an inked plate that was then run through a press, Degas at once did something unexpected. After making one print, he quickly made a second, faded impression from the leftover ink on the plate, then worked with pastels and gouache over this ghostly image. The result was an instant success—a collector bought the work, The Ballet Master, on the advice of Mary Cassatt. More important, this technique gave Degas a new way to depict the artificial light of the stage. The soft colors of his pastels took on a striking luminosity when laid over the harsher black-and-white contrasts of the underlying ink. Degas showed at least five of these images in 1877 at the third Impressionist exhibition in Paris—a show that, art historian Charles Stuckey points out, included “the daring series of smoke-filled views inside the Gare St. Lazare by Monet and the large, sun-speckled group portrait at the Moulin de la Galette by Renoir.” During the last 20 years of his career, Degas worked in a large fifth-floor studio in lower Montmartre above his living quarters and a private museum for his own art collection. Paul Valéry sometimes visited him there: “He would take me into a long attic room,” Valéry wrote, “with a wide bay window (not very clean) where light and dust mingled gaily. The room was pell-mell—with a basin, a dull zinc bathtub, stale bathrobes, a dancer modeled in wax with a real gauze tutu in a glass case, and easels loaded with charcoal sketches.” Valéry and other visitors also noticed stacks of paintings turned against the walls, a piano, double basses, violins and a scattering of ballet shoes and dusty tutus. Prince Eugen of Sweden, who visited in 1896, “wondered how Degas could find any specific color in the jumble of crumbling pastels.” The wax model of a dancer in a tutu standing in a glass case was undoubtedly Degas’s Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. When it was first shown, at the sixth Impressionist exhibition in 1881, the work was adorned with a real costume and hair. Two-thirds life-size, it was too real for many viewers, who found her “repulsive,” a “flower of the gutter.” But in her pose Degas had caught the essence of classical ballet, beautifully illustrating an 1875 technique manual’s admonition that a ballerina’s “shoulders must be held low and the head lifted. . . . ” Degas never exhibited the Little Dancer again, keeping it in his studio among the many other wax models that he used for making new drawings. The sculpture was cast in bronze (some 28 are now known to exist) only after his death in 1917, at age 83. The girl who posed for Degas’s Little Dancer, Marie van Goethem, lived near his studio and took classes at the Opéra’s ballet school. She was one of three sisters, all training to become ballerinas, and all apparently sketched by Degas. According to Martine Kahane, Marie passed all her early exams, rising from the ranks of petit rats to enter the corps de ballet at 15, a year after Degas made the sculpture. But only two years later, she was dismissed because she was late or absent at the ballet too often. Madame van Goethem, a widow who was working as a laundress, was apparently prostituting her daughters. In an 1882 newspaper clipping titled “Paris at Night,” Marie was said to be a regular at two all-night cafés, the Rat Mort and the brasserie des Martyrs, hangouts of artists, models, bohemians, journalists and worse. The writer continued, “Her mother . . . But no: I don’t want to say any more. I’d say things that would make one blush, or make one cry.” Marie’s older sister, Antoinette, was arrested for stealing money from her lover’s wallet at a bar called Le Chat Noir, and landed in jail for three months. The youngest sister, Charlotte, became a soloist with the Ballet and, it would be nice to think, lived happily ever after. But Marie seems to have disappeared without a trace. Emile Zola made novels of such tales, and now the Opéra’s ballet master, Patrice Bart, 58, has turned Marie’s story into a modern ballet. For Bart, who joined the ballet school at age 10, it’s a labor of love. “A lot of the story took place in the Palais Garnier,” he says. “And I have been living in the Palais Garnier for 42 years. Voilà!” He won a place in the corps de ballet at 14, and became an étoile, or star, in his 20s. In the 1980s he danced for the company’s renowned director, Russian defector Rudolf Nureyev, and at age 40 he took on the role of ballet master and choreographer. In his new ballet, Bart comes to grips with the same issue that confronted Degas: the synthesis of tradition and innovation. “I was a classical dancer,” he says, “and I try to move slightly toward the modern stuff.” Nureyev, he says, taught him to be aware of new ways of thinking, of dancing. “If you deny this, he believed, it will be the end of classical ballet. And that’s what Degas did, working in a classical world, but the painting was very modern.” Bart’s ballet opens with a ballerina posed like the Little Dancer, encased in a glass box. The glass drops down and the Little Dancer comes to life, stepping into a montage of scenes from her story as well as Bart’s imagination. “There was no man in that story,” he says, “but to make a ballet you have to have a man and a lady, to make pas de deux, pas de trois. So I added the role of the abonné, the ideal masculine man.” In the ballet, the Little Dancer becomes an étoile before the evil mother corrupts her and she goes to prison. Throughout the piece, the dancers mix modern dance moves with their classical glissades and pirouettes. “And then,” says Bart, “in a classical ballet from the 19th century you always have the white act, what we call the ballet blanc. So I thought I’d make a scene where she becomes a laundress, and the stage is filled with white sheets, and she sort of fades out, as when people die.” As for Degas, he appears in Bart’s ballet only as a mysterious, dark, top-hatted figure, like one of the abonnés he painted, wandering through the scenes. At the end of the ballet, the glass box comes up from the floor and the Little Dancer is once again trapped inside. “I hope the ballet will bring Degas to life for young dancers now,” Bart says. “That’s why I created the role of the étoile, because it’s every little girl starting school, thinking maybe one day. . . . And very few get there. I want to create the atmosphere of Degas, but not as in a museum. It’s like a painting coming to life.” Degas would surely have loved to see these dancers at work on a ballet inspired by his creation. “With the exception of the heart, it seems to me that everything within me is growing old in proportion,” he wrote to a friend in January 1886. “And even this heart of mine has something artificial. The dancers have sewn it into a bag of pink satin, pink satin slightly faded, like their dancing shoes.” Paul Trachtman . The man who made Monet: how impressionism was saved from obscurity Light reflections … A detail from Monet’s Impression, Sunrise (1872), dismissed by critics as worse than wallpaper. Photograph: Getty Images How did the impressionist painters, once attacked by critics, become a global force? A major exhibition reveals their change in fortune was all down to one man – and he wasn’t even an artist Michael Prodger Sat 21 Feb 2015 03.00 ESTLast modified on Thu 22 Feb 2018 12.29 EST It is one of the ironies of impressionism, the quintessential French movement, that it had its beginning and its end not in Paris but in London. It is another irony that the key figure in the movement was not a painter but, that most maligned of species, a dealer. In 1871, having fled the Franco-Prussian war, Claude Monet was living in London. It was in January that year that the landscapist Charles-François Daubigny took him along to the inaptly named German Gallery on New Bond Street and introduced him to the proprietor, another French expat, named Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922). Whether or not the gallerist believed Daubigny’s words of introduction – “This artist will surpass us all” – he liked Monet’s work well enough to buy numerous canvases and, a few days later, paintings by his fellow artist-refugee Camille Pissarro, too. This meeting and the chain of introductions, friendships and innumerable business transactions it put in motion was to culminate 24 years later with an exhibition just down the road on Bond Street at the Grafton Galleries. The exhibition, sometimes known as The Apotheosis of Impressionism, contained 315 pictures and was, and remains, the largest show of impressionist works ever held. For Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley and their peers it was final confirmation that their struggle to win acceptance for their unacademic, light-infused paintings had been successful. For Durand-Ruel, it was validation of his steadfast support for this group of avant-garde painters which had several times put him on the point of financial ruin. As he noted: “My madness had been wisdom. To think that, had I passed away at 60, I would have died debt-ridden and bankrupt, surrounded by a wealth of underrated treasures.” Two Dancers Resting by Degas. Photograph (Musée d’Orsay) /Hervé Lewandowski. Innovative artists needed an innovative dealer and Durand-Ruel’s particular genius was not just to spot the talent of the young impressionists, but to promote them indefatigably and create a market for them where previously there had been none. It was a long-term project born of his faith that financial rewards – for the artists as much as himself – would come when the rest of the world saw them the way he did. To gain them the recognition he was convinced they deserved, he developed a range of new ways of promoting them that redefined the relationship between dealers and artists. Durand-Ruel’s achievement as cheerleader, entrepreneur, patron, and helpmeet is the subject of the National Gallery’s new exhibition Inventing Impressionism: The Man who Sold a Thousand Monets. Through 85 paintings, all but one of which passed through Durand-Ruel’s hands, it tells the story of the triumph of impressionism. The match between the dealer and his painters was not seemingly a natural one. Durand-Ruel was a monarchist Catholic patriot, a stance born in part out of the experiences of his grandfather who had been imprisoned by Robespierre during the French Revolution and almost lost his head. “In a democracy,” Paul said, “everything goes awry and the blind claim to be steering the boat. The result is clear to see.” The would-be impressionists on the other hand were a heterogenous mix of republican liberals who, in Pissarro, also had one fully fledged anarchist (at one point he was on a police watchlist and his correspondence was regularly intercepted). Durand-Ruel was a conservative who nurtured radicals. Nor was he an instinctive dealer. When he took over the business from his father, he initially went about his work with more of a sense of duty than enthusiasm. It was the 1855 Exposition Universelle, and in particular the 35 pictures by Eugène Delacroix on display there, that converted him. The paintings represented for him “the triumph of modern art over academic art … they permanently opened my eyes and reinforced the idea that I might, perhaps, in my own humble way, be of some service to true artists by helping to make them better understood and appreciated”. The artists to whom Durand-Ruel first rendered a service belonged to “the beautiful School of 1830” comprising Courbet and Delacroix and the Barbizon painters Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet. When he returned from London, Monet and Pissarro introduced him to Renoir, Sisley, Degas and the other leading players of their group and he took them up, too. His care took various forms. He started to buy their work in bulk and paid them a monthly sum as well, dealing with their bills for everything from rent and tailors to paint suppliers and doctors. He doled out moral support, even offering Monet a room in his house to use as a studio. He did everything in his power to ensure that the artists, not yet the impressionists but the “intransigents”, were free to paint. “My fellow dealers,” he noted, “thought I was spoiling the artists.” A detail of Renoir’s portrait of Paul Durand Ruel One example of his methods came in 1871 when he saw two paintings by Manet in the studio of the Belgian artist Alfred Stevens and bought them on the spot. Manet at this point was a hero figure to the proto-impressionists and a painter of some repute and notoriety who had, however, sold very few paintings. Durand-Ruel admitted that he had “never seriously looked at Manet’s work” and that he was “unaware of this artist’s talent”. The next day though he proceeded to Manet’s own studio and “bought on the spot, everything I found there”. This amounted to a cache of 23 paintings for which he paid 35,000 francs, a sum that freed the artist from all immediate financial concerns. Among the paintings were key works including The Dead Toreador and The Fife Player. It took Durand-Ruel a year to pay off Manet, an indication of both the dealer’s limited funds and the extent to which he was willing to back his hunch that the artist would, at some point, come good in market terms. The bulk purchase is neatly recorded in a stock book held in the Durand-Ruel archives; a barely believable column of Manet after Manet, nestling among other purchases from Monet, Degas et al. Durand-Ruel’s own enthusiasm was not, however, widely shared; he recorded in his memoirs that the paintings “were not only misunderstood but they appalled most of my clients” and he sold them eventually for just a “few hundred francs profit”. It was a problem Durand-Ruel faced repeatedly: “All my efforts were thwarted by the violent campaign mounted against Manet, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Degas and Puvis de Chavannes, and other artists whose works I had the audacity to show in my galleries.” He found himself and his charges “attacked and reviled by upholders of the academy and old doctrines, by the most established art critics, by the entire press and by most of my colleagues”. He had successfully set about creating a near monopoly in their works but he had cornered the market in paintings very few people wanted. The situation was slow to change. As a result of repeated rejections by the official Salon, Monet, Degas and their colleagues had resolved never to exhibit there. Instead, in 1874, they held what became known as the First Impressionist Exhibition (they didn’t take on the group title until the third exhibition in 1877 when they adopted the critic Louis Leroy’s term of abuse as a badge of honour: the group had been dubbed impressionists since he derided Monet’s painting Impression, Sunrise – “Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape”). There were eight impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886 and Leroy’s reaction was typical of the reception that greeted them. Both public and critics were mystified by what they saw, baffled by the paintings’ lack of finish, their bright colours and quotidian subject matter (none of which stopped them coming to look anyway). Reviewing the 1876 exhibition at the Galerie Durand-Ruel, Albert Wolff of Figaro summed up the general feeling: “Following upon the burning of the Opera-House, a new disaster has fallen upon the quarter. There has just been opened at Mr Durand-Ruel’s an exhibition of what is said to be painting … Five or six lunatics, of whom one is a woman [Berthe Morisot], have chosen to exhibit their works. There are people who burst into laughter in front of these objects. Personally I am saddened by them.” Durand-Ruel is the reason why the US has more impressionist works than anywhere else outside France Faced by this public scorn Durand-Ruel had to find ways of changing public perception, without which his periods of financial crisis would become terminal. One of the ways to do this was by printing engravings after his stock. In 1873, for example, he produced a Recueil des Estampes Gravées à l’Eau-forte that included works he was selling by Goya, David, Delacroix and Courbet, as well as Manet, Monet and Pissarro. He mixed his moderns with earlier greats to suggest an unbroken artistic lineage. Because the Salon and the Musée de Luxembourg permitted artists to show only one or two works at their exhibitions, Durand-Ruel took a novel approach and systematically started to hold solo exhibitions of his painters. Even though the painters were still young, these took the form of retrospectives and included early works as well as still-wet pictures straight from the studio. Some of Monet’s series paintings of poplars and Rouen Cathedral, for example, were painted specifically for a one-man show. In early 1883 alone Durand-Ruel staged exhibitions of Boudin, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley. Not that his artists were always appreciative. In answer to one of Monet’s periodic moans, Durand-Ruel was forced to defend himself: “It is not enough to create [masterpieces]. They must be put on display. You think I am not showing your pictures enough … They are all I am showing; they are all I have concerned myself with for some years now; I have put into them all my heart, all my time and all my fortune, and that of my family.” Monet’s house in Giverny (1900). Photograph: National Gallery Among the other methods used to bolster his artists, Durand-Ruel would sell works through other dealers on a profit-sharing basis, and he did this with collectors, too. He would lend works against business capital and buy his own artists’ paintings at auction to inflate the price. He also opened his own house to visitors on Tuesdays, when the main galleries were closed, so that his collection of impressionist works could be seen. One magazine reported that visitors “invariably left with inflamed eyes”. He also commissioned the likes of Stéphane Mallarmé, Octave Mirbeau and Emile Zola to write the prefaces for his catalogues. And he opened galleries in Brussels and New York as well as Paris, all specially lit to show the paintings to best effect. It was in fact the US that turned Durand-Ruel’s long-term speculative project into a financial success. In 1885, he received an invitation from James Sutton, director of the American Art Association, to exhibit in New York. Mary Cassatt inveigled her brother Alexander, a railroad magnate and one of the men who financed Grand Central station, into acting as an intermediary. Durand-Ruel sailed with 300 pictures (even though Monet was concerned about seeing his pictures “leave the country for the land of the Yankees”) and found there a new, unprejudiced type of collector eager for impressionist art. “The Americans do not laugh,” said Durand-Ruel, “they buy.” Durand-Ruel is the reason why America has more impressionist works than anywhere else outside France. The US was his “salvation” and put his business on a sound footing. He would also deal in old masters (the stock book for 1892 shows sales of Van Dyck, Raphael, Canaletto and Tiepolo among others) but, as he had written to Monet, the impressionists had his heart. The painters knew it, too: “We would have died of hunger without Durand-Ruel, all we impressionists,” said Monet. “We owe him everything. He persisted, stubborn, risking bankruptcy 20 times in order to back us.” Renoir, the painter who was as much the dealer’s friend as a client, put things more poetically: “Durand-Ruel was a missionary. It was our good fortune that his religion was painting.” Inventing Impressionism: The Man Who Sold a Thousand Monets opens at the National Gallery, London WC2N, on 4 March. nationalgallery.org.uk. How Japanese Art Influenced and Inspired European Impressionist Artists By Kelly Richman-Abdou on May 14, 2022 Widely known as the first modern art movement, Impressionism remains one of the most popular and prevalent forms of art today. While much of the groundbreaking genre was impressively original, Impressionists, like most artists, found inspiration in other forms of art—namely, in Japanese woodblock prints. Here, we explore the ways in which Ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” inspired the Impressionists in terms of content, style, and approach, culminating in a creative and timelessly artistic relationship.   What is Japonisme? Japonisme is a word used to describe the study of Japanese art and, more specifically, its influence on European works. While the phenomenon is present in a range of movements—including Art Nouveau and Post-Impressionism—it is most closely associated with Impressionism, as artists like Claude Monet and Edgar Degas were particularly inspired by the subject matter, perspective, and composition of Japanese woodblock prints. Claude Monet, “Camille Monet in Japanese Costume,” 1875 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)   History of Japonisme In 1874, the same year that Impressionism officially emerged with Claude Monet’s painting, Impression, Sunrise, French collector and critic Philippe Burty coined the term Japonisme. While, today, the term refers to all Japanese art forms’ influence on any art movement, it is usually used to describe woodblock prints’ prominent role in Impressionism. Monet’s collection of Ukiyo-e prints at his home in Giverny, France (Photo: Dr. Avishai Teicher via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0) Though Ukiyo-e prints had only recently made their way into Western consciousness a few decades earlier, they were already extraordinarily popular with European artists and art lovers alike. Claude Monet, for example, had amassed an impressive collection of woodblock prints, most of which still hangs in his Giverny home today. Given their admiration for Ukiyo-e prints, it is no surprise that Impressionist artists incorporated elements of the art form into their own work.   Japanese Influence on Impressionism Everyday Subject Matter Claude Monet, “Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge,” 1899 (Photo: Princeton University Art Museum via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) Impressionist artists are known for their distinctive subject matter, including everyday scenes like depictions of nature and candid portraits. While this approach is quintessentially characteristic of the movement, it actually has roots in Japanese prints. Hokusai, “Under Mannen Bridge at Fukagawa,” 1823 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) Tell-tale title aside, Monet’s iconic collection of Japanese Bridge depictions clearly references Ukiyo-e scenes of everyday life, while Edgar Degas‘ signature series of women at la toilette is undoubtedly inspired by the voyeuristic depictions of bathing women frequently found in Japanese prints. Left: Edgar Degas, “Woman Combing her Hair,” 1885 (Photo: Hermitage via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)Right: Hashiguchi Goyo, “Combing Hair,” 1920 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)   Unique Perspective Camille Pissarro, “Boulevard Montmartre,” 1897 (Photo: Hermitage via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) In addition to sharing similar subject matter, Impressionist paintings and Japanese woodblock prints also showcase a unique approach to perspective. Often, the viewer’s vantage point is from above and positioned at a slight angle. Hiroshige, “Sugura street,” 1836 (Photo: Visipix via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) This allows us to see scenes in their entirety, almost as if they are set on a theatrical stage and we are observing from the audience. Other examples feature asymmetrical perspectives and strong diagonal lines. Edgar Degas, “The Rehearsal Onstage,” 1874 (Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) Suzuki Harunobu, “Woman Admiring Plum Blossoms at Night,” c. 18th century (Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)   Flat Compositions Left: Mary Cassatt, “The Letter,” 1890–1891 (Photo: Kathleen via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)Right: Toshikata Mizuno, “After the Bath: Woman of the Kansei Era,” 1893 (Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) While it seems like employing such a fascinating perspective would result in dimensionality, typically, woodblock prints’ compositions are quite flat, with solid planes of color and bold lines taking precedence over realism. Though some Impressionist artists did not follow suit and instead opted for a sense of depth, some, like Mary Cassatt, embraced this aesthetic. When combined with the similarities in subject matter and like-minded approach to perspective, this fascinating flat aesthetic perfectly captures the distinctive look and feel of Japanese woodblock prints.   Decorative Color Left: Mary Cassatt, “Woman Bathing,” 1890–1891 (Photo: The Met via Wikimedia Commons via Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0 Public domain dedication) Right: Utagawa Hiroshige, “Moonlight View of Tsukuba with Lady on a Balcony,” c. 1850–1856 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) Another characteristic of art influenced by Japanese prints is brilliant color. Impressionist artists employed a decorative color palette in their compositions, oftentimes incorporating patterns and prints to enhance the visual appeal. Left: Edgar Degas, “In the Theater,” c. 1880s (Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)Right: Toyohara Chikanobu, “Evening Bell at Asakusa,” 1888 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) This article has been edited and updated. Related Articles: Library of Congress Makes Over 2,500 Japanese Woodblock Prints Digitally Accessible 220,000+ Japanese Woodblock Prints Available Online in Growing Database Origami: How the Ancient Art of Paper Folding Evolved Over Time and Continues to Inspire Kelly Richman-Abdou Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters. Impressionism: Art and Modernity Margaret SamuInstitute of Fine Arts, New York University October 2004 In 1874, a group of artists called the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc. organized an exhibition in Paris that launched the movement called Impressionism. Its founding members included Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro, among others. The group was unified only by its independence from the official annual Salon, for which a jury of artists from the Académie des Beaux-Arts selected artworks and awarded medals. The independent artists, despite their diverse approaches to painting, appeared to contemporaries as a group. While conservative critics panned their work for its unfinished, sketchlike appearance, more progressive writers praised it for its depiction of modern life. Edmond Duranty, for example, in his 1876 essay La Nouvelle Peinture (The New Painting), wrote of their depiction of contemporary subject matter in a suitably innovative style as a revolution in painting. The exhibiting collective avoided choosing a title that would imply a unified movement or school, although some of them subsequently adopted the name by which they would eventually be known, the Impressionists. Their work is recognized today for its modernity, embodied in its rejection of established styles, its incorporation of new technology and ideas, and its depiction of modern life. Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise (Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris) exhibited in 1874, gave the Impressionist movement its name when the critic Louis Leroy accused it of being a sketch or “impression,” not a finished painting. It demonstrates the techniques many of the independent artists adopted: short, broken brushstrokes that barely convey forms, pure unblended colors, and an emphasis on the effects of light. Rather than neutral white, grays, and blacks, Impressionists often rendered shadows and highlights in color. The artists’ loose brushwork gives an effect of spontaneity and effortlessness that masks their often carefully constructed compositions, such as in Alfred Sisley’s 1878 Allée of Chestnut Trees (1975.1.211). This seemingly casual style became widely accepted, even in the official Salon, as the new language with which to depict modern life. In addition to their radical technique, the bright colors of Impressionist canvases were shocking for eyes accustomed to the more sober colors of academic painting. Many of the independent artists chose not to apply the thick golden varnish that painters customarily used to tone down their works. The paints themselves were more vivid as well. The nineteenth century saw the development of synthetic pigments for artists’ paints, providing vibrant shades of blue, green, and yellow that painters had never used before. Édouard Manet’s 1874 Boating (29.100.115), for example, features an expanse of the new cerulean blue and synthetic ultramarine. Depicted in a radically cropped, Japanese-inspired composition, the fashionable boater and his companion embody modernity in their form, their subject matter, and the very materials used to paint them. Such images of suburban and rural leisure outside of Paris were a popular subject for the Impressionists, notably Monet and Auguste Renoir. Several of them lived in the country for part or all of the year. New railway lines radiating out from the city made travel so convenient that Parisians virtually flooded into the countryside every weekend. While some of the Impressionists, such as Pissarro, focused on the daily life of local villagers in Pontoise, most preferred to depict the vacationers’ rural pastimes. The boating and bathing establishments that flourished in these regions became favorite motifs. In his 1869 La Grenouillère (29.100.112), for example, Monet’s characteristically loose painting style complements the leisure activities he portrays. Landscapes, which figure prominently in Impressionist art, were also brought up to date with innovative compositions, light effects, and use of color. Monet in particular emphasized the modernization of the landscape by including railways and factories, signs of encroaching industrialization that would have seemed inappropriate to the Barbizon artists of the previous generation. Perhaps the prime site of modernity in the late nineteenth century was the city of Paris itself, renovated between 1853 and 1870 under Emperor Napoleon III. His prefect, Baron Haussmann, laid the plans, tearing down old buildings to create more open space for a cleaner, safer city. Also contributing to its new look was the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), which required reconstructing the parts of the city that had been destroyed. Impressionists such as Pissarro and Gustave Caillebotte enthusiastically painted the renovated city, employing their new style to depict its wide boulevards, public gardens, and grand buildings. While some focused on the cityscapes, others turned their sights to the city’s inhabitants. The Paris population explosion after the Franco-Prussian War gave them a tremendous amount of material for their scenes of urban life. Characteristic of these scenes was the mixing of social classes that took place in public settings. Degas and Caillebotte focused on working people, including singers and dancers, as well as workmen. Others, including Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, depicted the privileged classes. The Impressionists also painted new forms of leisure, including theatrical entertainment (such as Cassatt’s 1878 In the Loge [Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]), cafés, popular concerts, and dances. Taking an approach similar to Naturalist writers such as Émile Zola, the painters of urban scenes depicted fleeting yet typical moments in the lives of characters they observed. Caillebotte’s 1877 Paris Street, Rainy Day (Art Institute, Chicago) exemplifies how these artists abandoned sentimental depictions and explicit narratives, adopting instead a detached, objective view that merely suggests what is going on. The independent collective had a fluid membership over the course of the eight exhibitions it organized between 1874 and 1886, with the number of participating artists ranging from nine to thirty. Pissarro, the eldest, was the only artist who exhibited in all eight shows, while Morisot participated in seven. Ideas for an independent exhibition had been discussed as early as 1867, but the Franco-Prussian War intervened. The painter Frédéric Bazille, who had been leading the efforts, was killed in the war. Subsequent exhibitions were headed by different artists. Philosophical and political differences among the artists led to heated disputes and fractures, causing fluctuations in the contributors. The exhibitions even included the works of more conservative artists who simply refused to submit their work to the Salon jury. Also participating in the independent exhibitions were Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin, whose later styles grew out of their early work with the Impressionists. The last of the independent exhibitions in 1886 also saw the beginning of a new phase in avant-garde painting. By this time, few of the participants were working in a recognizably Impressionist manner. Most of the core members were developing new, individual styles that caused ruptures in the group’s tenuous unity. Pissarro promoted the participation of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, in addition to adopting their new technique based on points of pure color, known as Neo-Impressionism. The young Gauguin was making forays into Primitivism. The nascent Symbolist Odilon Redon also contributed, though his style was unlike that of any other participant. Because of the group’s stylistic and philosophical fragmentation, and because of the need for assured income, some of the core members such as Monet and Renoir exhibited in venues where their works were more likely to sell. Its many facets and varied participants make the Impressionist movement difficult to define. Indeed, its life seems as fleeting as the light effects it sought to capture. Even so, Impressionism was a movement of enduring consequence, as its embrace of modernity made it the springboard for later avant-garde art in Europe. Citation Samu, Margaret. “Impressionism: Art and Modernity.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/imml/hd_imml.htm (October 2004) Further Reading Bomford, David, et al. Art in the Making: Impressionism. Exhibition catalogue.. New Haven and London: National Gallery, 1990. Herbert, Robert L. Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. House, John. Monet: Nature into Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986. Moffett, Charles S., et al. The New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886. San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1986. Nochlin, Linda, ed. Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, 1874–1904: Sources and Documents. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966. Rewald, John. The History of Impressionism. Rev. and enl. ed. . New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1961. Tinterow, Gary, and Henri Loyrette. Origins of Impressionism. Exhibition catalogue.. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. By Alastair Sooke11th March 2015 It’s hard to believe that Monet, Degas and Renoir once faced hostility from the art world. Alastair Sooke reveals how one man changed everything. Article continues below Advertisement Few movements in the history of art feel as familiar as Impressionism. Barely a week goes by without Monet and his contemporaries generating headlines for one reason or another. Impressionist paintings attract astronomical prices at auction. Impressionist exhibitions are mainstays at museums because they offer a guaranteed way of drumming up a crowd. Even people with a cursory interest in modern art have heard the story of the notorious show of 1874, when a group of independent French artists staged what would become known as the first Impressionist exhibition away from the official Salon. Surely there is nothing new to say about the movement that launched a thousand tea towels? Actually, perhaps there is. Inventing Impressionism, a new exhibition at the National Gallery in London, offers an ingenious, fresh take on a well-worn subject. Following its opening, one British art critic, Richard Dorment, hailed it as the most significant Impressionist exhibition in the UK for two decades. Pissaro painted The Avenue, a view of the London suburb Sydenham, while in exile during the Franco-Prussian War – it was then that he met Durand-Ruel (National Gallery, London) Filled with masterpieces by Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, Sisley and Manet, the exhibition tells the story of the far-sighted French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922). During the course of his long career, it is estimated that up to 12,000 Impressionist paintings passed through Durand-Ruel’s hands. According to the exhibition’s argument, which is based on recent research conducted in the Durand-Ruel family archives, Durand-Ruel did not create Impressionism – that, of course, was the achievement of the artists themselves. But he did discover the movement and bring it to universal attention. In other words, he was responsible for branding and promoting Impressionism. Without him, the movement wouldn’t be the popular juggernaut it is today. Birth of a movement So what do we know about this Svengali of modern art? Surprisingly, given his risk-taking taste for the avant-garde, his temperament was conservative. The son of a successful art dealer, he grew up to become a conventional, haute-bourgeois Frenchman. “He was a monarchist and very Catholic, and he valued his probity,” says Christopher Riopelle of the National Gallery, one of the curators of the exhibition, which has already visited Paris and will travel to the Philadelphia Museum of Art this summer. Durand-Ruel first championed Impressionism after meeting Pissaro, and then Monet, who painted London’s Green Park (Green Park in London 1871/Claude Monet) Having followed in his father’s footsteps, Durand-Ruel was interested at first in the generation preceding the Impressionists: the likes of Delacroix and Courbet, as well as Corot, Millet and Rousseau. His conversion to Impressionism occurred in 1870, when he was living in exile in London during the Franco-Prussian War. The French painter Daubigny introduced him to Monet and Pissarro, who were also exiled, and he fell in love with their work at once. He bought several pictures by them, including a panorama of London’s Green Park by Monet and a view of the residential suburb Sydenham by Pissarro, who later wrote, “Without him, we should have died of hunger in London.” Back in Paris by 1872, he spotted two paintings by Édouard Manet, including a stunning still life called The Salmon (1869), in the studio of another artist. On a whim, he bought them both – as well as 21 other pictures that he saw when he visited Manet’s studio later that same month. In that spree alone, he spent 35,000 francs on paintings by Manet – which, in 1872, was an extremely bold and risky thing to do. In fact, his extravagant spending in these early years, when Impressionism as yet had no market to speak of, almost bankrupted him. But he felt sure that his gamble would eventually pay off. Durand-Ruel, seen here in about 1910, organised several high-profile exhibitions of Impressionist works and helped win the movement critical respect (Archives Durand-Ruel & Cie) Making money off Monet In time, it did – thanks largely to various strategies that he concocted in order to build a market for Impressionism. He masterminded the second Impressionist exhibition of 1876 at his own gallery, ensuring that professional standards were employed. Later he inaugurated a series of one-man shows for individual Impressionist artists that helped win them serious attention. He allowed curious visitors to enter his elegant, art-bedecked apartment, which functioned as an unofficial showroom. And he persuaded wealthy Americans to start purchasing Impressionist pictures. “The Americans don’t criticise, they buy,” he said. “As a result, a group of artists who were largely reviled became one of the most popular art movements in the world,” says Riopelle. “This did not just happen. Manipulations had to be done. And one of the prime manipulators was Durand-Ruel.” Perhaps his greatest coup, though, came towards the end of his life. In 1905, at the Grafton Galleries in London, he organised a mammoth exhibition of Impressionism boasting 315 works of art, including 196 from his own collection. In 1872 Durand-Ruel paid 35,000 francs for 23 paintings by Édouard Manet, including the still-life The Salmon (The Salmon 1868/Édouard Manet) With many impressive, large canvases such as Manet’s portrait of Eva Gonzalès (1870) and Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81), it has been described as the greatest exhibition of Impressionist art ever mounted. And even though London’s sluggish collectors didn’t take to it (only 13 sales were recorded, almost exclusively to foreigners), it would have a lasting impact upon perceptions of the movement. “By this point, Durand-Ruel was an old man,” says Riopelle, “and he decided to make a final great statement of what he had done – to write, if you will, the history of Impressionism so far. And by and large the story of Impressionism that we still believe today was the story laid out on those walls in that triumphant exhibition of 1905. In the true sense of the word, Durand-Ruel really did ‘invent’ Impressionism.” Alastair Sooke is art critic of The Daily Telegraph Impressionism – The influence of Photography May 5, 2015kiamaartgallery Edgar Degas, Race Horses, 1883-85 The rise of Impressionism can be seen in part as a response by artists to the newly established medium of photography. In the same way that Japonisme focused on everyday life, photography also influenced the Impressionists’ interest in capturing a ‘snapshot’ of ordinary people doing everyday things. The taking of fixed or still images provided a new medium with which to capture reality, and changed the way people in general, and artists in particular, saw the world, and created new artistic opportunities. Learning from the science of photography, artists developed a range of new painting techniques. And, rather than compete with the ability of the photograph to record ‘ a moment of truth’ the Impressionists, such as Monet, felt free to represent what they saw in an entirely different way – focusing more on light, colour and movement in  a way that was not possible with photography. Over time, these subjective observations became much more widely accepted as works of art, although initially they were thought to be ‘sketchy’ or ‘unfinished’. Claude Monet, Impression Sunrise, 1872 Early Photography In 1839, Daguerre’s disclosure of the secret process he used to record an image onto a silvered sheet of copper, which was the first workable and permanent method to achieve this (known as the Daguerreotype), led to the invention of the photograph, which was to become one of the most popular inventions of the century. Daguerre, historic photograph from 1837, two years before he shared his technique By 1849, some 100,000 Parisians*  were having their pictures taken every year. (Interestingly, in the same way we use Photoshop today, customers often requested that their photograph be re-touched to hide perceived faults, or to add colour.) Daguerreotypes were unique and non-replicable, but with the introduction of the carte de visite (visiting  or calling card) in the 1850s photographic images could be produced cheaply and easily distributed.  Cartes de visite were prints, usually, albumen, affixed to a card measuring about 6 x 10cm. This standard format was patented by a French photographer, Andre Adolphe Disderi, in 1854. Through the use of a sliding plate holder and a camera with four lenses, eight negatives could be taken on a single 8″ x 10″ glass plate, which allowed eight prints to be made every time the negative was printed. Cartes de visite were most popular from the 1860s to the 1890s,  largely coinciding with Impressionism. Influence on artists Some artists found they lost commissions to paint small intricate portraits in favour of people preferring to have studio photographs taken. However, for others it became  an inspiration for new ways of not only composing their artworks but also painting using more experimental techniques. Photographs (as they do today) assisted in the portraiture painting process. Many artists found that they could do away with tedious sittings of models and instead use both shorter sittings, and photographs, to paint portraits. Portable cameras could also be taken outdoors to record landscapes – enabling the painting process to be completed in the studio. In the early stages of camera development, long exposures with a camera were required to capture the image, which created ‘shutter-drag’, allowing for beautiful fluid movement and gracefully blurred selections. Some artists, such as Degas, sought to recreate this effect to soften the overall painting. One of the most famous photographers from the mid 1800s was Nadar (Gaspard Félix Tournachon) who established the most fashionable portrait studio in Paris – it was here that the Impressionists held their first exhibition in 1874.   As the medium developed, photographers like Eadweard Muybridge experimented with the camera’s stilled, or stopped, movement. Stopping action was a fascinating new concept. Before photographic stop-action, it was difficult to capture a muscle in a state of tension, or the gait of a horse in mid-step, for example.     Edgar Degas Edgar Degas was one Impressionist who was so intrigued with this new ability to capture a moment in time that he also pursued photography as a creative outlet. There are a number of examples of how he used his knowledge of photography in his art, which you can see in his sketches and paintings of race horses. For example, he was amazed that Muybridge’s photos proved that a horse’s feet leave the ground in a rolling sequence, not in the “hobbyhorse” pairs that most artists favoured. Edgar Degas, Before the Race Edgar Degas, Before the Race Edgar Degas, Sketch Edgar Degas, The False Start Edgar Degas, Jockey in Blue on a Chestnut Horse Edgar Degas, The Bolting Horse In the above paintings by Degas you can also see the technique of cropping, that is selecting only part of a subject to be included in the picture plane, allowing for a more intimate connection with the viewer, as it creates the illusion that there is a larger scene, just outside of the viewer’s vision. Cropping became an important compositional technique adopted by many artists. Photography, far from limiting the appeal of paintings, provided artists with new points of view, and encouraged then to translate photographic techniques in their work, enabling them to capture everyday life with a greater sense of vitality and intimacy. *  Pierre Schneider, The World of Manet, 1832-1883, Time Life Books, 1968 Top of Form How Did Photography Influence The Impressionists? Photography, Exhibition Announcements, Art History October 12, 2019 Elena Martinique In 1839, a new means of visual representation was announced to a startled world – photography. While photographers themselves spent the ensuing decades experimenting with techniques and debating the nature of this new invention, its impact on modern society proved immense. Today, it might be difficult to appreciate how revolutionary and challenging photography was, but when it first stepped into the scene, the art world quickly took notice. What started as a competition soon became an alliance of vision that changed the way we see forever. It radically changed how artists, particularly the Impressionist painters, looked at the world and depicted reality. The upcoming exhibition at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza examines the repercussions the invention of photography had on the development of the visual arts in the second half of the nineteenth century. Titled The Impressionists and Photography, it brings together 66 oil paintings and works on paper and more than 100 photographs, offering a critical reflection on the affinities and mutual influences between painting and photography, including the debate it sparked among critics and artists. Left: Armand Guillaumin – The Bridge of the Archbishop and the Apse of Notre-Dame, ca. 1880. Oil on canvas. 54 x 65 cm © Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza / Right: Édouard Baldus – Rear view of Notre-Dame, París, 1860-1870. Albumen print 22.9 x 28 cm. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid © Archivo fotográfico. Museo Nacional del Prado A New Way of Looking At the World Following the appearance of the first daguerreotypes in the late 1830s and the subsequent discovery of techniques for making photographic prints on paper, a very close relationship was established between photography and painting. The artificial eye of the camera of photographers such as Gustave Le Gray, Eugène Cuvelier, Henri Le Secq, Olympe Aguado, Charles Marville and Félix Nadar spurred Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and the young painters of Impressionism Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Marie Bracquemond, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot and Gustave Caillebotte to devise a new way of looking at the world. As photography evolved from a mere mechanical means of reproducing reality to gaining artistic credibility, it allowed painters a closer examination of light and asymmetrical, cropped spaces, as well as an exploration of spontaneity and visual ambiguity. This relationship was mutual, as the medium of photography became concerned with the materiality of their images and sought methods for making their photographs less precise and more painterly. Painters of Impressionism were keenly aware of the transient nature of reality and, for them, photography seemed to mark a symbolic victory of man over temporality and triggered a revolutionary transformation in their depictions. Left: Camille Pissarro – Boulevard Montmartre, Mardi Gras, 1897. Oil on canvas. 65.1 x 81.3 cm Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation ©The Armand Hammer Collection. / Right: Charles Marville – Boulevard Saint-Germain, 1875-1877. Albumen print from collodion on glass negative. 23,8 x 36,6 cm Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris © Bibliothèque Nationale de France The Range of Artistic Concerns To illustrate the artistic concerns shared by painters and photographs and new artistic freedoms that emerged from their relationship, The Impressionists and Photography is divided into nine sections. The section The Forest compares the landscape paintings of the forerunners of Impressionism, such as Gustave Courbet, Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau and Charles Daubigny, with the photography work of Le Gray, Cuvelier and Le Secq, who carted their photographic equipment into the forest. The influence of photography is visible in the painters’ instantaneous approach to their subject matter, their asymmetrical compositions and the effects of light filtering through the trees. In the section Figures in the Landscape, the visitors can see the comparisons between Manet’s schematic landscape backgrounds and the decorative backdrops used in photographic portraits, such as those made fashionable by Aguado or between the outdoor portraits of the relatives of Frédéric Bazille and the photographic group portraits made by Édouard Baldus. In the section The Water, we can see Le Gray’s seascapes, synthetic closeups of choppy seas and clouds off the coast of Normandy, brought into dialogue with various pictures of seas and skies painted by Eugene Louis Boudin and Monet, but also comparisons between the ghostly reflections of the trees in the tranquil river waters in the photography work of Aguado and Camille Silvy and the works of Monet and Sisley. Leisure activities in the countryside and outdoor scenes are the subjects of the section In the Countryside. It juxtaposes the instantaneous and fragmentary approach to the scene by artists such as Renoir, Sisley, Monet and Caillebotte and the manner in which photographers such as Achille Quinet, Eugène Atget and Charles Marville captured reality. In the mid-19th century, several photographers such as Baldus, Le Gray and the Bisson brothers were hired by the French government to take photographs of the historical monuments of France. Years later, these pictures aroused the interest of the Impressionists on account of the Gothic buildings, as visible in Claude Monet’s depictions of the façade of Rouen cathedral. This is the subject of the section titled The Monuments. In the section The City, we see modern urban views by Gustave Le Gray, Charles Soulier and Adolphe Braun that are found later in the paintings of Berthe Morisot and Gustave Caillebotte, as well as a dialogue between Charles Marville’s photography work and Camille Pissarro’s paintings of the boulevards. The fast growth of commercial photography and the rise of portrait photographers such as Nadar steered painted portraits in a new direction. The section The Portrait shows works of Manet, Cézanne and Degas that were based on photographs of their sitters at certain stages. The Body features naturalistic, spontaneous poses photographed by Le Gray and Paul Berthier alongside a selection of nudes painted by the painters of the Impressionism, especially Degas, the most photographic of the group of painters. The exhibition concludes with the section The Archive, featuring a group of photographs of Manet’s works taken by Anatole-Louis Godet, commissioned by the painter himself who colored some with watercolors. The last piece on show is the album Vingt Dessins, a miniature retrospective published in 1897 featuring a selection of 20 chromogravures of Degas’ works selected by the artist himself. Left: Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Woman with a Parasol in a Garden, 1875. Oil on canvas. 54.5 x 65 cm © Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. / Right: Constant Puyo – Female Nude in Nature, c. 1900. Gum bichromate print. 24.1 x 34.4 cm. Musée français de la Photographie, Briévres © Musée français de la Photographie / Conseil départamental de l’Essonne, Benoit Chain The Impressionists and Photography at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza Impressionists and Photography will be on view at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid from October 15th, 2019 to January 26th, 2020. Curated by the museum’s Paloma Alarcó, chief curator of Modern Painting, and Clara Marcellán, curator of the Department of Modern Painting, it is accompanied by a catalog with texts by Paloma Alarcó; digital publication in the Quiosco Thyssen app and educational guide with texts by Clara Marcellán. JMW Turner: master of the ocean Turner is the sublime artist of the sea. But many of his seascapes were produced away from the public eye – and never finished. As an exhibition of his work opens, Richard Johns explores the impact of these ‘secret’ paintings Fishermen upon a Lee-Shore, in Squally Weather. Credit: Southampton City Art Gallery Richard Johns Fri 15 Nov 2013 11.00 EST   39 A broad sweep of cobalt blue, applied across a wet page with a few strokes of a loaded brush, sets the scene. The dampness of the paper gives the  artist a valuable few seconds to manipulate the vibrant watercolour before it dries: enough time to add a disorderly flourish with the tip of the same brush (without pausing to adjust the colour) to indicate a fully rigged ship sailing into the picture from the left; and to work a neater, calligraphic pattern into the blue to suggest the rolling breakers of an agitated but unthreatening sea. The lightest of washes above and below denote the sky and a sandy beach, while a handful of darker yellow marks towards the bottom of the page indicate something else. But what? The carcass of a wrecked fishing boat? A group of figures? It is not clear, but the marks are just sufficient to animate the foreground, as the waves and the three-masted ship above draw the blue sweep away from the viewer towards a distant horizon. With an economy that few artists have been able to match, Turner evoked a coastal landscape – the kind of marine view that he had created countless times before, in all manner of ways. Blue Sea and Distant Ship probably dates from the early 1840s, though there is not much to distinguish it from similar works of 10 or even 20 years earlier. It belongs to a group of  several hundred rapidly made and highly expressive watercolours, sometimes referred to collectively as colour “beginnings”, that form part of the body of preparatory studies, unfinished work and related items from Turner’s studio that went to the national art collection after his death in 1851. If such works are experiments, they are so only in the loosest sense of the word, as exercises in imagination. After a lifetime of experiencing and imagining the sea, there was little practical value to be learned from such experiments, which seem to convey their maker’s undiminished delight in the materials and techniques of his profession, and in the process of transforming unadulterated colour into a boundless seascape. Blue Sea and Distant Ship. Credit: Tate Images Advertisement The more elemental of Turner’s late watercolour sketches are often discussed in relation to the non-figurative painting that emerged and flourished during the 20th century. Yet, for all their abstract appeal to modern eyes, Blue Sea and Distant Ship, and other watercolours and oil paintings made in the same spirit, are determinedly figurative. A more rounded view of the work that Turner produced away from the public eye reveals a far greater variety of imagery reaching across his whole career. Some of it is experimental, some even verges on the incomprehensible, but much of it is more conventional in subject and technique, and more clearly grounded in the principles of land- and seascape painting that had been established during the previous century. Turner rarely travelled without a pencil and pocket-sized sketchbook to hand. Among his belongings during his second visit to Scotland, in 1801, was a small sketchbook treated with a tinted wash that could be scratched away to reveal the white paper beneath. Thus armed with a single brush and colour, he was able repeatedly to model the infinitely complex surge of North Sea waves breaking on Dunbar beach. One such wave reappeared a year or so later on the walls of the Royal Academy, much embellished and combined with the contents of another sketchbook but in essence unchanged, as the central motif of Fishermen upon a Lee-Shore, in Squally Weather. Increasingly, he made his watercolour sketches and compositional studies in the studio or, when travelling, in his lodgings after a long day exploring and observing. They are filtered by memory, simplified and reconfigured by the physical properties of the artist’s chosen medium. At first glance, a watercolour thought to represent the Eddystone Lighthouse gives the impression of having been made rapidly in front of the subject. It appears in a sketchbook interleaved with numerous pencil drawings of West Country scenes and other landscapes from the early 1810s, when Turner made several visits to the Devon coast. But the lighthouse is situated 12 miles off Plymouth, and the image, a night scene, is one of three that show the structure at different times of day and in various stages of a storm. The effect of immediacy was fabricated safely on dry land, heightened by the storm of watercolour that the artist conjured around the remembered outline of the isolated tower. Turner was known for being secretive about his methods and means. Those few who saw him draw or paint first-hand recalled with excitement the variety and inventiveness of his technique. Manipulating the pigment in every way imaginable, he would even plunge whole sheets of paper into a bath when working in watercolour, as he conjured an image into existence. On one celebrated occasion, Hawkesworth Fawkes, the eldest son of his patron Walter Fawkes, expressed his amazement on seeing Turner create from memory a richly detailed watercolour of a man-of-war within a few hours – pouring, tearing, scratching and scrubbing “in a kind of frenzy” until the final, detailed image emerged in time for lunch. Others, too, likened Turner’s finished watercolours to the work of a magician who could bring forth poetical views on to the page, as if from nowhere. However, there is a marked difference between his finished watercolours, such as that witnessed by Fawkes, which he was able to sell as quickly as he could make them, and the many thousand sketches and drawings that he produced for his own purposes, and about which he was even more guarded. Advertisement In the past 50 years, this once-hidden aspect of Turner’s enterprise, particularly those drawings and watercolours that are concerned with the sea, has shaped the artist’s reputation at least as much as the oil paintings. The subjects he depicted and the many handwritten annotations, observations and memoranda that are scattered throughout his sketchbooks provide an essential, if at times elusive, source of information about the artist’s many journeys around Britain and Europe, the places he saw and the works by other artists he deemed worthy of visual record. But this incomparable record of artistic endeavour almost disappeared without trace. Turner had made clear his intention to leave about 100 finished oil paintings to the National Gallery, but he made no explicit provision for the vast quantity of preparatory and unfinished material that filled his West End studio at the time of his death. As a result of this uncertainty and a poorly drafted will, Turner’s estate was subject to a legal challenge by the artist’s extended family. The finished oil paintings that he had intended to leave to the nation – a representative selection which, with an eye on posterity, he had extended and refined over several years – already ensured that he would become (as he remains) the most comprehensively represented British artist in any national collection. With the addition of around 180 other oils that were deemed by his executors to be unfinished (the precise figure varies according to the definition of “finished”) and more than 19,000 drawings, watercolour studies and other works on paper spanning more than 50 uncommonly productive years, the legally determined Turner Bequest of 1856 grew into an unprecedented and unwieldy record of a creative life. John Ruskin was the first to impose a semblance of order on the Bequest, in ways informed by his own impassioned vision of the artist as a purveyor of divine truth through his engagement with the natural world. Named as one of Turner’s original executors, Ruskin stood down when the will was contested, but once the court case had been determined, he set about preparing an unofficial catalogue for the inaugural exhibition of works selected from the Bequest, which opened at London’s Marlborough House in 1856. A second show at Marlborough House included a selection of sketchbooks and a small group of preparatory sketches, or “trials of effects for pictures”. However, there was only a handful, as Ruskin concluded that, while such works might be useful to students, “they are not, in general, interesting”. Selections from Turner’s studio gradually became known to a wider public through a series of further displays, in London and beyond. Also selected by Ruskin (or otherwise informed by his ideas on the artist), these emphasised Turner’s experiential and imaginative response to nature, and endorsed a rigid chronological assessment of the artist’s creative ascent, maturity and decline. As Ruskin worked his way through the remainder of Turner’s career, preparing for display those works he regarded as exemplary and consigning others to tin boxes, he became the first to appreciate the full extent of his brilliant, and at times chaotic, artistic life. Waves Breaking against the Wind. Credit: Tate Images Advertisement Now prominent within the Bequest is a group of late and atmospheric seascapes, painted in oil on board or canvas, that seem to transcend the function of the preparatory sketch, and which blur the distinctions between a finished and unfinished work of art, confounding all modern attempts to assign anything as certain as a title or even a subject. They are among the most evocative (and provocative) of Turner’s works, and much about them, including his hopes for their future preservation and display, is clouded in uncertainty. They include Waves Breaking against the Wind and Seascape with Storm Coming On, two of a series of canvases that were first taken seriously and incorporated into the permanent Bequest during the 20th century, having previously remained rolled up in the basement of the National Gallery. These later exercises also include Calm Sea with Distant Grey Clouds, one of a group of chromatically complex but austere paintings that lay unnoticed for more than 100 years after his death.  With few exceptions, these late marine studies (usually described as “unfinished”, if only for want of a better word) focus on that essential maritime motif – the wave. It was a phenomenon that Turner had attempted to capture in countless sketches throughout his working life and which had been a defining aspect of his public seascapes from the beginning. From the luminous, threatening swell of Fishermen at Sea (1796), his first-exhibited painting in oil, to the storm-tossed waters of The Shipwreck, one of a series of stormy scenes that had done so much to secure his reputation in the early 1800s as a painter of the sublime sea, the visible action of the wind and tide was the driving force behind a series of seascapes that effectively reinvented the genre while raising their maker to the highest level of artistic achievement. The hoard of canvases that Turner produced during the last 10 years of his life indicate that, towards the end (a period that Ruskin characterised as one of decline and increasing incomprehensibility), the anonymous, unrelenting churn of the sea became the focus of deep self-reflection.  Following the completion of AJ Finberg’s monumental inventory of the Bequest in the early part of the 20th century, and the physical relocation of the work from the National Gallery to the Tate (via the British Museum), Turner’s private world became the subject of renewed study. As the contents of his studio became known, his posthumous identity was increasingly constructed around the shifting priorities and new formal challenges of the contemporary 20th‑century art world, which valued repetition and championed the abstract, the provisional and the raw as signs of untamed creativity. As a result, a very different artist emerged – one who would have been unrecognisable to his contemporaries. Turner was reimagined as a progenitor of modern art; first of impressionism, then of postwar abstraction. Staffa, Fingal’s Cave. Credit: Yale Centre for British Art Advertisement The late 20th-century reinvention of Turner found its clearest expression with an exhibition for the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1966. Dedicated to an artist who had been dead for more than 100 years (and who thus lay outside any commonly accepted definition of “modern” art in 1960s America), the show was unprecedented for MoMA, an institution then associated with American abstract work on a heroic scale. Within this transatlantic context, Turner was defined more than ever as a modern creative force. The re‑emergence of a body of later works that appeared to be more abstracted than anything previously known from Turner only enhanced the notion that he had single-handedly released painting from the conventions and expectations of the Victorian art world: it was as if they had come straight from the artist’s studio. More recently, with the advent of digital technology and the gradual realisation of a longstanding ambition to conserve and catalogue the entire collection, the Turner Bequest is now more accessible than ever before in its permanent home at Tate Britain. However, the visual challenge of those later, unfinished paintings remains. The “indistinct” (especially where it is deployed in such an expressive manner as, for example, in the Whalers Sketchbook) has come to define the artist’s reputation above all else: restless in his work, ceaselessly creative, and an artist whose output seems to transcend the historical circumstances of its production. The notion of Turner as an abstract artist persists precisely because the critical language of modern and contemporary art offers an explanation that these extraordinary late works otherwise seem to lack. Although Turner is not known to have sold any of his preparatory or unfinished works, a substantial number did find their way into private collections following his death. In July 2012, a watercolour study of a storm at sea was sold at auction in London. The sketch was advertised as “the first idea” for one of the artist’s most powerful late seascapes, Staffa, Fingal’s Cave. The exceptionally high critical and commercial value placed on Turner’s preparatory works (the single sheet sold for a little over £120,000) is only partly explained by their evident aesthetic and technical qualities. Equally important is the mythical status of Turner’s private studio practice, as a result of which such “beginnings” have come to represent something essential and immediate about the artistic process. In the context of Turner’s reputation as a painter of the sea, it is notable that such a brisk sketch, one of several thousand similarly ephemeral works by him on paper (albeit one of only a few that could ever appear on the market), far surpassed the record amount paid for a finished oil painting by the most prominent and successful marine painter among Turner’s contemporaries, Augustus Wall Callcott. If such a disparity tells us anything, it is that history (like the market) is fickle, and that the art of the past is always and inevitably reinvented according to the desires of the present. Richard Johns is co-curator of the exhibition Turner and the Sea at the National Maritime Museum. A Brief History of Photography: Read Time:10 minsLanguages: PhotographyHistoryInspirationFilm PhotographyCamera Obscura Photography. An art form invented in 1830s, becoming publicly recognised ten years later. Today, photography is the largest growing hobby in the world, with the hardware alone creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Not everyone knows what camera obscura or even shutter speed is, nor have many heard of Henri Cartier-Bresson or even Annie Leibovitz. In this article, we take a step back and take a look at how this fascinating technique was created and developed. Before Photography: Camera Obscura Before photography was created, people had figured out the basic principles of lenses and the camera. They could project the image on the wall or piece of paper, however no printing was possible at the time: recording light turned out to be a lot harder than projecting it. The instrument that people used for processing pictures was called the Camera Obscura (which is Latin for the dark room) and it was around for a few centuries before photography came along. It is believed that Camera Obscura was invented around 13-14th centuries, however there is a manuscript by an Arabian scholar Hassan ibn Hassan dated 10th century that describes the principles on which camera obscura works and on which analogue photography is based today. An illustration of camera obscura. Image: Public domain via Wikipedia Camera Obscura is essentially a dark, closed space in the shape of a box with a hole on one side of it. The hole has to be small enough in proportion to the box to make the camera obscura work properly. Light coming in through a tiny hole transforms and creates an image on the surface that it meets, like the wall of the box. The image is flipped and upside down, however, which is why modern analogue cameras have made use of mirrors. In the mid 16th century, Giovanni Battista della Porta, an Italian scholar, wrote an essay on how to use camera obscura to make the drawing process easier. He projected the image of people outside the camera obscura on the canvas inside of it (camera obscura was a rather big room in this case) and then drew over the image or tried to copy it. Giovanni Battista della Porta. Image: Public domain via Wikipedia The process of using camera obscura looked very strange and frightening for the people at those times. Giovanni Battista had to drop the idea after he was arrested and prosecuted on a charge of sorcery. Even though only few of the Renaissance artists admitted they used camera obscura as an aid in drawing, it is believed most of them did. The reason for not openly admitting it was the fear of being charged of association with occultism or simply not wanting to admit something many artists called cheating. Today we can state that camera obscura was a prototype of the modern photo camera. Many people still find it amusing and use it for artistic reasons or simply for fun. The Beginning by Ivan TolmachevDec 24, 2019 The First Photograph Installing film and permanently capturing an image was a logical progression. The first photo picture—as we know it—was taken in 1825 by a French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. It records a view from the window at Le Gras. The first photograph, taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Image: public domain via Wikipedia The exposure had to last for eight hours, so the sun in the picture had time to move from east to west appearing to shine on both sides of the building in the picture. Niepce came up with the idea of using a petroleum derivative called “Bitumen of Judea” to record the camera’s projection. Bitumen hardens with exposure to light, and the unhardened material could then be washed away. The metal plate, which was used by Niepce, was then polished, rendering a negative image that could be coated with ink to produce a print. One of the problems with this method was that the metal plate was heavy, expensive to produce, and took a lot of time to polish. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce 1765-1833. Image: public domain via Wikipedia Photography Takes Off In 1839, Sir John Herschel came up with a way of making the first glass negative. The same year he coined the term photography, deriving from the Greek “fos” meaning light and “grafo”—to write. Even though the process became easier and the result was better, it was still a long time until photography was publicly recognized. At first, photography was either used as an aid in the work of an painter or followed the same principles the painters followed. The first publicly recognized portraits were usually portraits of one person, or family portraits. Finally, after decades of refinements and improvements, the mass use of cameras began in earnest with Eastman’s Kodak’s simple-but-relatively-reliable cameras. Kodak’s camera went on to the market in 1888 with the slogan “You press the button, we do the rest”. In 1900 the Kodak Brownie was introduced, becoming the first commercial camera in the market available for middle-class buyers. The camera only took black and white shots, but still was very popular due to its efficiency and ease of use. The first color photograph, a tartan ribbon, taken by James Clerk Maxwell Color Photography Color photography was explored throughout the 19th century, but didn’t become truly commercially viable until the middle of the 20th century. Prior to this, color could not preserved for long; the images quickly degraded. Several methods of color photography were patented from 1862 by two French inventors: Louis Ducos du Hauron and Charlec Cros, working independently. The first practical color plate reached the market in 1907. The method it used was based on a screen of filters. The screen let filtered red, green and/or blue light through and then developed to a negative, later reversed to a positive. Applying the same screen later on in the process of the print resulted in a color photo that would be preserved. The technology, even though slightly altered, is the one that is still used in the processing. Red, green and blue are the primary colors for television and computer screens, hence the RGB modes in numerous imaging applications. The first color photo, an image of a tartan ribbon (above), was taken in 1861 by the famous Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who was famous for his work with electromagnetism. Despite the great influence his photograph had on the photo industry, Maxwell is rarely remembered for this as his inventions in the field of physics simply overshadowed this accomplishment. Photography Look at This! Lumière’s Colorful Peacock Advertisement The First Photograph With People The first ever picture to have a human in it was Boulevard du Temple by Louis Daguerre, taken in 1838. The exposure lasted for about 10 minutes at the time, so it was barely possible for the camera to capture a person on the busy street, however it did capture a man who had his shoes polished for long enough to appear in the photo. Boulevard du Temple is by Louis Daguerre Notables in Photography At one time, photography was an unusual and perhaps even controversial practice. If not for the enthusiasts who persevered and indeed, pioneered, many techniques, we might not have the photographic styles, artists, and practitioners we have today. Here are just a few of the most influential people we can thank for many of the advances in photography. Alfred Stieglitz Photography became a part of day-to-day life and an art movement. One of the people behind photography as art was Alfred Stieglitz, an American photographer and a promoter of modern art. Alfred Stieglitz in 1902 Stieglitz said that photographers are artists. He, along with F. Holland Day, led the Photo-Secession, the first photography art movement whose primary task was to show that photography was not only about the subject of the picture but also the manipulation by the photographer that led to the subject being portrayed. Stieglitz set up various exhibitions where photos were judged by photographers. Stieglitz also promoted photography through newly established journals such “Camera Notes” and “Camera Work”. Examples of Stieglitz’s Work The Terminal—Alfred SteiglitzSongs of the Sky—Alfred Steiglitz Advertisement Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (Felix Nadar) Felix Nadar (a pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon) was a French caricaturist, journalist and—once photography emerged—a photographer. He is most famous for pioneering the use of artificial lightning in photography. Nadar was a good friend of Jules Verne and is said to have inspired Five Weeks in a Balloon after creating a 60 metre high balloon named Le Géant (The Giant). Nadar was credited for having published the first ever photo interview in 1886. Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (Felix Nadar) Nadar’s portraits followed the same principles of a fine art portrait. He was known for depicting many famous people including Jules Verne, Alexander Dumas, Peter Kropotkin and George Sand. Examples of Nadar’s Work Auguste Rodin—NadarEmile Zola—Nadar Henri Cartier-Bresson Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer who is most famous for creating the “street photography” style of photojournalism, using the new compact 35mm format (which we still use today). Around the age of 23, he became very interested in photography and abandoned painting for it. “I suddenly understood that a photograph could fix eternity in an instant,” he would later explain. Strangely enough, he would take his first pictures all around the world but avoided his native France. His first exhibition took place in New York’s Julien Levy Gallery in 1932. Cartier-Bresson’s first journalistic photos were taken at the George VI coronation in London however none of those portrayed the King himself. The Frenchman’s works have influenced generations of photo artists and journalists around the world. Despite being narrative in style, his works can also be seen as iconic artworks. Despite all the fame and impact, there are very few pictures of the man. He hated being photographed, as he was embarrassed of his fame. Examples of Cartier-Bresson’s Work Trieste, Italy—Cartier-Bresson courtesy of Fondation Henri Cartier-BressonHyeres 1932—Cartier-Bresson courtesy of Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson s. manjila et al. Fig. 1. Photograph showing E. Muybridge, 1900. Public domain. leaving the stable, the driver cracked his whip and the horses immediately started on a run. When they arrived at the brow of the mountain the brakes were applied, but were found to be useless. In his efforts to stop the horses, the driver drove out off the road, and they came in collision with a tree, literally smashing the coach in pieces, killing one man … and injuring every other person on the stage to a greater or less extent. Muybridge was ejected from the vehicle and sustained a head injury. He was taken to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he was treated for 3 months.6,12,17 The lesion At the time of his trial for murder over 10 years later, Muybridge made the following statement about the acci- dent (San Francisco Chronicle, February 6, 1875):23 A fellow passenger told me after I had recovered conscious- ness that after leaving that station we had traveled for prob- ably half an hour—we were then just entering the Texas Cross-Timbers. The mustangs ran away. The driver was unable to control them. Just as we were getting to the Timbers I remarked that the best plan would be for us to get out of the back of the stage, because I saw that an accident would take place. He told me that I took out my knife to cut the canvas back of the stage, and was preparing to leave when the stage ran against either a rock or a stump and threw me out against my head. Muybridge claimed no recollection of the accident. When he recovered, he reported that each eye had an in- dividual image such that if he saw a man seated in front of him, he would see double.6,12,17 Additionally, there were indications of impaired smell and taste. From this evidence, Muybridge had endured a closed brain injury. At the time, there were obviously no means to image his brain or perform any neuropsychological testing. His vi- sual symptoms and loss of smell and taste were attributed Fig. 2. Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope, 1880. Courtesy of the National Me- dia Museum/Science & Society Picture Library. to an injury localized to the orbitofrontal cortex.9 Besides, the emotional instability, aggressiveness, and posses- siveness that developed after the accident also suggested frontal lobe involvement.5 Aggressive behavior and impul- sivity are the common symptoms in orbitofrontal cortex injury.5 Of note, he changed his name several times, modi- fying the spelling each time subsequent to the stagecoach accident. There are reports that his name changed from Edward Muggeridge, to Muggridge, to Muygridge, and fi- nally to Muybridge; however his tombstone bore another name, Maybridge. Apparently, while working in Central America in his later life, documenting coffee production, he used the name Eduardo Santiago Muybridge. His first name also underwent a similar change, to Eadweard (ap- parently after the name of King Edward I on the corona- tion stone re-erected in 1850), which followed him to his grave. This strange behavior of rechristening himself was a distinct quirk in his personality. This behavior might suggest baseline grandiose thoughts, which would inten- sify in the setting of a frontotemporal injury. In addition, he may have developed obsessive-compulsive traits in the setting of an orbitofrontal-striatal network lesion.18 career change After the stagecoach accident, Muybridge left for Eng- land and received treatment from Sir William Withey Gull, 1st Baronet of Brook Street (1816–1890). This famed neurologist was Queen Victoria’s personal physician and was also well known for his original contributions to the understanding of tabes dorsalis, myxedema, and anorex- ia nervosa. He took care of patients at Guy’s Hospital in 2 Neurosurg Focus Volume 39 • July 2015 Unauthenticated | Downloaded 05/22/22 05:28 AM UTC London. Although Muybridge stayed in England for 5 or 6 years, little is known about his relationship with Gull. Sir William prescribed outdoor activities for Muybridge’s rehabilitation. A keen observer of the personality changes unfolding before his eyes, Gull recommended that Muy- bridge consider photography as a new profession. not been the same man in any respect since.”21 (Sacramento Union, February 5, 1875) J. G. Easland testified that he had been intimately acquainted with Muybridge for a number of years before and after his European trip. Heard of the accident to him on the trip. After his return I noticed certain eccentricities of speech, manner, and action, and my impression formed thereof. I thought the change was such that had I heard of this killing before the accident it would have surprised me, but occurring after it did not.23 (San Francisco Chronicle, February 6, 1875) The change of personality that moved him to take risky decisions was described in Rulofsan’s testimony: Once he mastered the wet-collodion process, Muybridge returned to America.6,12,17 Although he had no memories of the days preceding the accident or the event itself, he had a sense of time being stopped and suspended with his near- death experience.6,12,17 He was moving fast and suddenly time stopped.6,12,17 This very much influenced his percep- tion of the surrounding world and his ability to express himself artistically. He started observing animals and humans in motion, capturing what the human eye could not distinguish as separate or fractionated movements. Then, back in America, he began to explore time through artistically deconstructing it in photographs to assemble it back into its regular flow through motion pictures. His reputation as a photographer reached new heights after his photography of Yosemite and San Francisco in 1867. His Yosemite Valley work involved images taken from chal- lenging angles that offered both a thrill and an adventure. To the viewer it was an enigma to capture nature in such an unorganized and disjointed, angular way. He loved chaos and the Darwinian theory that destroys the peace of divine order and opens the door to the age of anxiety.24 He also enjoyed taking photographs of the defiant nature of the Na- tive Americans; one picture in particular has a man point- ing an arrow directly at the camera. He had seen frequent indications of unsoundedness of mind in the defendant. The witness then related strange things, which Muybridge had done during the period of his acquaintance with him. One thing was, that while Muybridge was a strictly honest man, he would make a bargain or contract with one murder, legal battle, Acquittal, and Frontal cortex The jury discarded entirely the theory of insanity, and meeting the case on the bare issue left, acquitted the defendant on the ground that he was justified in killing Larkyns for seducing his wife. This was directly contrary to the charge of the Judge, but the jury do not mince the matter, or attempt to excuse the verdict. They say that if their verdict was not in accord with the law of the books, it is with the law of human nature; that, in short, under similar circumstances they would have done Muybridge married a 21-year-old divorcee, Flora Shall- cross Stone. They had a son, whose paternity Muybridge disputed, once he learned of her affair with drama critic Major Harry Larkyns. Muybridge shot and killed Larkyns in 1874, and Muybridge’s attorney, Mr. Pendergast, pled insanity due to the defendant’s brain injury.6,12,17 as Muybridge did, and they could not conscientiously punish him for doing what they would have done themselves. Sworn testimonies reported in newspapers during the trial depicted personality changes after Muybridge’s ac- cident:6,12,17 At the sound of the last momentous words a convulsive gasp escaped the prisoner’s lips, and he sank forward from his chair. The mental and nervous tension that had sustained him for days of uncertain fate was removed in an instant; and he became as helpless as a new-born babe. Mr. Pendegast caught him in his arms and thus prevented his falling to the floor, Silas Selleck, photographer, called and sworn—Resides in San Francisco; known Muybridge for 26 or 27 years. Muy- bridge, from 1852 to “1867, was a genial, pleasant and quick business man; after his return from Europe he was very eccen- tric, and so very unlike his way before going; the change in his appearance was such that I could scarcely recognize him after his return.21 (Sacramento Union, February 5, 1875) Silas Selleck testified that before Muybridge’s trip East he was active, energetic, strict in all his dealings, open and can- did. When he came back he had changed entirely. He was eccentric, peculiar, and had the queerest of odd notions, so much so that he seemed like a different man.23 (San Francisco Chronicle, February 6, 1875) but his body was limp as a wet cloth. His emotion became convulsive and frightful. His eyes were glassy, his jawsset and his face livid. The veins of his hands and forehead swelled out like whipcord. He moaned and wept convulsively, but uttered no word of pain or rejoicing. Such a display of overpowering emotion has seldom, if ever, been witnessed M. Gray, called and sworn—Resides in San Francisco; been there twenty years. Knew the defendant for twenty years inti- mately. Remember his going to Europe in 1859…. “Was much less irritable than after his return; was much more careless Lesion studies and virtual lesion paradigms have gen- erated abundant information concerning the behavioral role of diverse anatomical areas. Phineas Gage’s case study and Oppenheim’s neuropsychological correlates of orbitofrontal and mesial frontal lesions15,16 represent aca- in dress after his return; was not as good a businessman. Has at night and next morning go back on it in tote and make a new contract. These idiosyncrasies he had noticed within two years. The witness said he could go on and fill whole vol- umes with the peculiar things Muybridge had done. Among the strange freaks which Muybridge had committed was to have his picture taken on a rock at Yosemite valley, where a biscuit, if slightly tilted, would have fallen down 2,000 feet.23 (San Francisco Chronicle, February 6, 1875) Subsequently, Muybridge’s case was ruled as justifiable homicide. The San Francisco Chronicle described the outcome (February 7, 1875):22 Muybridge’s reaction was emotionally prodigious after the verdict (San Francisco Chronicle, February 7, 1875):22 in a Court of justice…. He rocked to and fro in his chair. His face was absolutely horrifying in its contortions as convul- sion succeeded convulsion…. Pendegast begged Muybridge to control himself and thank the jurymen for their verdict. He arose to his feet, and tried to speak, but sank back in another convulsion. He was carried out of the room by Pendegast and laid on a lounge in the latter’s office. Neurosurg Focus Volume 39 • July 2015 3 Unauthenticated | Downloaded 05/22/22 05:28 AM UTC demic milestones in our understanding of neuropsychol- ogy. Gage’s lesion was thoroughly characterized by Dr. Harlow’s5 initial description and enriched with subsequent contributions.3,19 In many ways, he shared Muybridge’s behavioral changes. Similar to Muybridge, preceding his accident while working on a railroad, Gage had always been regarded as a hardworking, capable, and well-bal- anced man. However, after the accident his physician (Dr. Harlow) described him as follows: “He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little defer- ence for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires.”5 These common behavioral changes lead to a comparison between Gage’s well-de- scribed left penetrating orbitofrontal cortex lesion and Muybridge’s closed traumatic brain injury.3,5,15,16,19 did muybridge’s injury impact his career? Fig. 3. Photograph of the cover of Muybridge’s book, Animal Locomo- tion: an Electro-Photographic Investigation of Connective Phases of Animal Movements, Philadelphia: 1887. Public domain. Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania archives. lated to plate printing (an apparatus and improved method for plate printing); another was for the zoopraxiscope, one of the earliest motion picture projectors.24 He did several displays using the zoopraxiscope, giving lectures over the course of 15 years in the United States and England. His exhibition to the paying public at the 1893 Chicago World Columbian Exposition’s Midway Plaisance is considered the first “commercial movie theater display.” connections with stanford and university of pennsylvania It has been proposed that Muybridge’s behavioral changes resembled certain aspects of clinical progres- sion in frontotemporal dementia.11 These patients develop atrophy in the orbitofrontal cortex. As a consequence, in some cases they seem to develop artistic expression. The purported explanation invokes a disinhibited expression of their emotions through art. Muybridge’s disinhibition may have possibly unveiled his artistic and inventive genius. His taking up remote areas for assignments and taking tens of thousands of pictures of animals in motion illus- trate his risk-taking behavior and obsessive-compulsive nature.18 Muybridge recorded common human movement while performing diverse tasks. As customary in his time, he assembled men above women.4 However, he notably por- trayed the uncovered before the dressed figures, in a pe- riod when controversy about nudity was significant. One wonders if this trait stemmed from his uninhibited frontal cortex.4 Leland Stanford was a prominent racehorse owner, had served as Governor of California in 1872, and later founded Stanford University. He believed in “unsupported transit” in the trot and gallop, which meant that, while gal- loping, 4 of the horse’s legs were, at a given moment, off of the ground. He hired Muybridge, who, with his zoopraxi- scope, confirmed that this was the case in Stanford’s mare Occident’s gallop (Fig. 4). He also took a series of photos at Stanford’s Palo Alto Stock Farm by placing numerous large glass-plate cameras in a line along the edge of the track. The shutter of each was triggered by a thread as the horse passed and the path was lined with cloth sheets to reflect as much light as possible. In 1878, Muybridge made a famous 13-part, 360° photographic panorama of San Francisco, to be presented to Leland Stanford’s wife. original contributions to photography In an era that predated flexible perforated film strips, Muybridge started his photography training with wet collodium but transitioned to a novel dry-plate approach through a series of large cameras with glass plates in a line, timed with a clockwork device in a brass-and-wood apparatus. 1,6,8,12,17 The images were then copied onto a disc as silhouettes and viewed in a zoopraxiscope (i.e., animal action viewer), a forerunner of motion pictures or cinema- tography.1,6,8,12,17 In 1882, Stanford financed and published the book The Horse in Motion, illustrated with Muybridge’s pho- tographs (Fig. 5). J. D. B. Stillman wrote the accompa- nying text. Notably, Muybridge was merely credited as Stanford’s employee. This led to a quarrel with Stanford, resulting in Muybridge leaving the west coast and relocat- ing to the University of Pennsylvania. During the period 1883–1886, Muybridge took well over 100,000 photographs, 20,000 of which were repro- duced as 781 plates in the seminal work Animal Locomo- tion, London 1887 (Fig. 3), a masterpiece monograph in 11 volumes produced under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania and published in an era that predated flex- ible perforated film strips. At this time, his collaboration with Dr. Francis Dercum yielded the first films character- izing neurological patients.7 Eventually, Muybridge received a grant from the Uni- versity of Pennsylvania, funding his work from 1883 to 1886. He described his goals in a prospectus:10 Muybridge was an ingenious inventor who enjoyed an outstanding career in motion photography. He secured several patents during the span of his career. One was re- An extended series of experiments will be made for accurately recording the successive attitudes, oscillations and movements 4 Neurosurg Focus Volume 39 • July 2015 Unauthenticated | Downloaded 05/22/22 05:28 AM UTC Famous injury of muybridge and beyond Fig. 4. “Horse Galloping Saddled Clothed Male Rider” by E. Muybridge, Plate 628. Courtesy of Karl Jahnke. of the human body in health and disease. These illustrations, I am assured by many eminent physicians and experimental physiologists, will be of immense value to that large class of human beings suffering from bodily deformities and chronic diseases of the joints. While supported by Philadelphia neurologist Francis Dercum (1856–1931), he captured motion in more than 100,000 images of animals and people, yielding the publi- cation of his Human and Animal Locomotion in 1887.13,14 Volume 8 included motion pictures depicting neurological patients (Videos 1–9).6,12,17 VidEo 1. Choreo-ballistic movements, in a motion picture by E. Muybridge. Plate 557. Public domain, courtesy of Karl Jahnke. Click here to view with Media Player. Click here to view with Quicktime. VidEo 2. Descending stairs. Pelvic tilt, shown in a motion picture by E. Muybridge. Plate 129. Public domain, courtesy of Karl Jahnke. Click here to view with Media Player. Click here to view with Quicktime. VidEo 3. Normal ascending gait demonstrating pelvic movements, posture, and arm swing by E. Muybridge. Plate 90. Public domain, courtesy of Karl Jahnke. Click here to view with Media Player. Click here to view with Quicktime. VidEo 4. Scissoring gait with spasticity; note hip and knee posi- tions bilaterally by E. Muybridge. Plate 561. Public domain, courtesy of Karl Jahnke. Click here to view with Media Player. Click here to view with Quicktime. Fig. 5. Front cover of The Horse in Motion by J. D. B. Stillman. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1882. Muybridge provided the illustra- tions. Public domain. Neurosurg Focus Volume 39 • July 2015 5 Unauthenticated | Downloaded 05/22/22 05:28 AM UTC s. manjila et al. Fig. 6. “Woman Dancing (Fancy),” plate 187 from Animal Locomotion, 1887 by E. Muybridge. Courtesy of Karl Jahnke. Fig. 7. Photographs of neurological patients during Muybridge’s period at University of Pennsylvania. Courtesy of Karl Jahnke. 6 Neurosurg Focus Volume 39 • July 2015 Unauthenticated | Downloaded 05/22/22 05:28 AM UTC Muybridge’s work influenced Impressionist Edgar Degas,4 among other artists. For example, Muybridge’s “Woman Dancing (Fancy),” plate 187 of Animal Locomo- tion, 1887, has been discussed as a precursor of Degas’ evolution from a stationary mode to an expressive ballet picturing movement (Fig. 6).4 14. Muybridge E: Muybridge’s Complete Human and Animal Locomotion: All 781 Plates from the 1887 Animal Loco- motion. New York: Dover, 1979, Vol 2, pp 1081–1139 More notably, Muybridge’s influence expands to the de- velopment of the movie industry in conjunction with the Lumière brothers, Thomas Edison, Dickson, and Étienne- Jules Marey.2,6,12,17,25 Not only did he characterize motion in animals, but also human physiological and pathologi- cal states. As a curiosity, he showcased a tape with the first filmed kiss.6,12,17 The motion pictures of Muybridge depicting human locomotion served as a template for clini- cal neurologists, especially those interested in movement disorders (Fig. 7 panels A–H correspond to Videos 1–8). 16. Oppenheim H: Zur Pathologie der Grosshirngeschwülste. Arch Psychiatrie Nervenkrankh 22:27–72, 1891 conclusions In summary, Edward Muybridge was an enterprising young bookseller who morphed into a revolutionary ge- nius. There is arguably strong evidence suggestive of the role that his closed traumatic brain injury played in his behavioral changes. This manuscript describes how his new personality traits might have impacted an outstand- ing career of discovery in photography, biomechanics, and clinical neurology in the late 19th century. Realism The Emergence of Realism Beginnings of the Movement Writers of Realism Other Movements: Naturalism The Independent Theatre Movement Background Realism in the last half of the 19th-century began as an experiment to make theater more useful to society. The mainstream theatre from 1859 to 1900 was still bound up in melodramas, spectacle plays (disasters, etc.), comic operas, and vaudevilles. But political events—including attempts to reform some political systems—led to some different ways of thinking. Revolutions in Europe in 1848 showed that there was a desire for political, social, and economic reform. The many governments were frightened into promising change, but most didn’t implement changes after the violence ended. Technological advances were also encouraged by industry and trade, leading to an increased belief that science could solve human problems. But the working classes still had to fight for every increase in rights: unionization and strikes became the principal weapons workers would use after the 1860s—but success came only from costly work stoppages and violence. In other words there seems to be rejection of Romantic idealism; pragmatism reigned instead. The common man seemed to feel that he needed to be recognized, and people asserted themselves through action. The Emergence of Realism 3 major developments helped lead to the emergence of realism: August Comte (1798-1857), often considered to be the “father of Sociology,” developed a theory known as Positivism. Among the Comte’s ideas was an encouragement for understanding the cause and effect of nature through precise observation. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) published The Origin of Species  in 1859, and creators a worldwide stir which exists to this day. Darwin’s essential series suggested that life developed gradually from common ancestry and that life favored “survival of the fittest.” The implications of Darwin’s Theories were threefold: people were controlled by heredity and environment behaviors were beyond our control humanity is a natural object, rather than being above all else   Karl Marx (1818-1883) in the late 1840’s espoused a political philosophy arguing against urbanization and in favor of a more equal distribution of wealth These three stated ideas that helped open the door for a type of theatre that would be different from any that had come before. Even Richard Wagner (pronounced “Rih-Kard’ Vahg’-ner”) (1813-1883), while rejecting contemporary trends toward realism, helps lead toward a moderate realistic theatre. Wagner wanted complete illusionism, but wanted the dramatists to be more than a recorder—he wanted to be of “myth-maker.” True drama, according to Wagner, should be “dipped in the magic founding of music,” which allows greater control over performance than spoken drama. Wagner wanted complete control over every aspect of the production in order to get a “gesamtkunstwerk,” or “master art work.” Because Wagner aimed for complete illusion, even though his operas were not all realistic, many of his production practices helped lead the way for realism. For instance the auditorium was darkened, the stage was framed with a double proscenium arch, there were no side boxes and no center aisle, and all seats were equally good. Further, he forbade musicians to tune in the orchestra pit, allowed no applause or curtain calls, and strove for historical accuracy in scenery and costumes. Therefore, even though Wagner’s operas are fantastic and mythical, his attempts at illusionism helped gain public acceptance for realism. Beginnings of the Movement: Realism came about partly as a response to these new social / artistic conditions. The “movement” began in France and by 1860 had some general precepts: truth resides in material objects we perceived to all five senses; truth is verified through science the scientific method—observation—would solve everything human problems were the highest were home of science Art—according to the realist view—had as its purpose to better mankind. Drama was to involve the direct observation of human behavior; therefore, there was a thrust to use contemporary settings and time periods, and it was to deal with everyday life and problems as subjects. As already mentioned, realism first showed itself in staging and costuming. Three-dimensional details had been added by 1800. By 1850, theater productions used historically accurate settings and costumes and details, partly as a result of romantic ideals. But it was harder to get realism accepted widely. The Duke of Saxe-Meiningen helped unify productions; Richard Wagner wanted theatre to fuse the emotional and the intellectual, though his operas were highly mythical and fantastic. {Top of Page} Writers of Realism In France, to Playwrights helped popularized the idea of realism but both clung to two inherent traditional morality and values: Alexandre Dumas fils (the fils  stands for “son,” and designates the “illegitimate son of Alexandre Dumas”) – (1824-1895) His novel, Camille, was dramatized in 1849. About a “kept woman,” the play was written in prose, and dealt with contemporary life. Eventually, he wrote “thesis plays,” about contemporary social problems. Emile Augier (1820-1889) also wrote plays about contemporary conditions. In Norway: Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is considered to be the father of modern realistic drama. His plays attacked society’s values and dealt with unconventional subjects within the form of the well-made play (causally related). Ibsen perfected the well-made play formula; and by using a familiar formula made his plays, with a very shocking subject matter, acceptable. He discarded soliloquies, asides, etc. Exposition in the plays was motivated, there were causally related scenes, inner psychological motivation was emphasized, the environment had an influence on characters’ personalities, and all the things characters did and all of things the characters used revealed their socio-economic milieu. He became a model for later realistic writers. Among the subjects addressed by Ibsen in his plays are: euthanasia, the role of women, war and business, and syphilis. Some of Ibsen’s Plays: Ghosts—1881—dealt with the concept of the sins of the father transferring to the son, resulting in syphilis. Pillars of Society – 1877 – dealt with war and business. Hedda Gabbler – 1890 – a powerful woman takes her life at the end of the play to get away from her boredom with society. A Doll’s House – 1879 – Nora leaves her husband Torvald and her children at the end of the play; often considered “the slam heard around the world,” Nora’s action must have been very shocking to the Victorian audience. Later in life, Ibsen turned to more symbolic and abstract dramas; but his “realism” affected others, and helped lead to realistic theatre, which has become, despite variations and rejections against it, the predominant form of theatre even today. {Top of Page} Other writers of realism: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) – in England Uncommon for his witty humor Made fun of societies notion using for the purpose of educating and changing. His plays tended to show the accepted attitude, then demolished that attitude while showing his own solutions. Arms and the Man (1894) – about love and war and honor. Mrs. Warren’s Profession – prostitution. Major Barbara (1905) – a munitions manufacturer gives more to the world (jobs, etc.) while the Salvation Army only prolongs of the status quo. Pygmalion (1913) – shows the transforming of a flower girl into a society woman, and exposes the phoniness of society. The musical My Fair Lady was based on this play. Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) – in Russia Chekhov is known more for poetic expiration and symbolism, compelling psychological reality, people trapped in social situations, hope in hopeless situations. He claimed that he wrote comedies; others think they are sad and tragic. Characters in Chekhov’s plays seem to have a fate that is a direct result of what they are. His plays have an illusion of plotlessness. The Seagull (1898). Three Sisters (1900) – we did the show here last year; about three sisters who want to move to Moscow but never do. The Cherry Orchard (1902) Again, his realism has affected other Playwrights, as did his symbolic meanings in the texts of his plays and in the titles of his plays. {Top of Page} Other Movements Two other “movements” that developed concurrently with realism warrant our attention, Naturalism and the Independent Theatre Movement. Each of these had an influence on the developing realist movement. Naturalism While Ibsen was perfecting realism, France was demanding a new drama based on Darwinism: all forms of life developed gradually from common ancestry, evolution of species is explained by survival of the fittest The implications of Darwin’s ideas seemed to be that 1) heredity and environment control people; 2) no person is responsible, since forces are beyond control; 3) the must go to society; 4) progress is the same as improvement/evolution; it is inevitable and can be hastened by the application of the scientific method; 5) man is reduced to a natural object. France had been defeated in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, ending Napoleon III’s empire, and making France a Republic. Attitudes shifted: the working man had few privileges, it appeared, and socialism gained support. By 1900, every major country in Europe had a Constitution (except Russia); there was therefore a strong interest in the plight of the working class. Science and technology became major tools for dealing with contemporary problems. Naturalism became a conscious movement in France in the 1870’s; Emile Zola (1849-1902) was an admirer of Comte and an advocate of the scientific method. Literature, he felt, must become scientific or perish; it should illustrate the inevitable laws of heredity and environment or record case studies. To experiment with the same detachment as a scientist, the writer could become like a doctor (seeking the cause of disease to cure it, bringing the disease in the open to be examined), aiming to cure social ills. Zola’s first major statement came in a novel, Thèrése Raquin, which was dramatized in 1873; his preface states his views. He also wrote a few treatises about naturalism in the theatre and in the novel: he wanted art to detect “a scrap of an existence.” Even though Thèrése Raquin failed to adhere to most of the principles of naturalism, except in the setting (it was mostly a melodrama about murder and retribution), his followers were even more zealous. The most famous phrase we hear about naturalism is that it should be “a slice of life.” We often tend to forget what a later French writer stated should be included with that phrase: “… put on the stage with art.” Naturalism, as it was interpreted, almost obliterated the distinction between life and art. As you can imagine, there is a serious lack of good naturalistic plays and embodying its principles, has it is virtually impossible to do. Henri Becque (1837-1899) most nearly captured the essence of naturalism in two of his plays, The Vultures (1882) and La Parisienne (1885), both of which it dealt with sordid subjects, were pessimistic and cynical, had no obvious climaxes, had no sympathetic characters, and progressed slowly to the end. However, Becque refused to comply with suggested changes when the show was first produced in a conservative theatre, so naturalism was still not really accepted. The Independent Theatre Movement It would take André Antoine and the Théâtre Libre – the beginnings of the Independent Theatre Movement – to make naturalism and realism more acceptable. Antoine (1858-1943) has become known as the father of naturalistic staging. He had little acting or theatre Experience—he was a clerk in a gas Co. and work in an Archer theatre—and when he wanted to produce a dramatization of a Zola novel, the amateur groups refused. So he founded the Théâtre Libre (Free Theatre), first program was a success and by the end of 1887 he was famous, and worked in the theatre till 1914. The Théâtre Libre used a subscription basis—productions were open only two members—so his theatre was exempt from censorship. His theatre did many plays that had been refused licenses other places (for instance, Ghosts had been banned in much of Europe). While some of the plays tended to reverse morality—repelling many and helping to lead to the idea that naturalism was depraved—key paved the way for greater freedom in established theatres. The Théâtre Libre also began producing at least one foreign work per year, introducing a world theatre to France. Antoine’s production techniques were innovative. He had seen the Meiningen troupe and was influenced to produce authenticity: real beef carcasses hanging on stage; the “box set” was used so that “the fourth wall” was adhered to constantly (he popularize the terms and the ideas—legend has it that he arranged rooms as they would be, and then later decided what wall to “remove”); he discouraged declamation in favor of more natural acting; replaced footlights with more natural lighting; emphasized ensemble acting; and adhered to his belief that each play had its own environment. Antoine had many problems: as actors became well-known, they left the company; his high standards left him always in debt; and his theatre did only three performances of any production. By 1894, he left the Théâtre Libre. Eventually, he opened the Théâtre Antoine in Paris in 1897, all fully professional company, and then later became the director of all fully-modernized state-subsidized theatre. His influence was undeniable in helping the acceptance of realism/naturalism and in the development of the independent theatre movement. The Independent Theatre Movement developed in other countries as well. For instance, in Germany, many small theatres had opened up buying 1890 in Berlin, but were severely limited by censorship in their choice of plays. Most had been influenced by the Meiningen troupe—some advocated realism, while others advocated severe naturalism. But these theatres lacked focus until the development of the Independent Theatre Movement. The Freie Bühne (Free Stage) was founded in Berlin and 1889. Unlike Antoine’s theatre, the Freie Bühne was democratically organized, with officers and a governing council. Otto Brahm (1856-1912), a drama critic, became president and guided the group. They gave performances on Sunday afternoons (so that professional actors could be in them), had different performers in each production, and exercised much less control over the theatrical productions. Its major contribution was performing censored plays. The theatre dissolved in 1894, and Brahm was named head of the Deutches theatre. The Freie Volksbüehne (People’s Theatre) was organized by socialist workers in 1890 after a ban on such organizations had been lifted. Using the Freie Bühne as it its model it produced plays on Sunday afternoons and sold its tickets keep. Shortly after that, another similar theatre was formed; both groups merged before World War I, and had a combined membership of 70,000. The Workers Theatre Movement flourished in Germany and Austria, and built a broad-based theatre audience. The Gift of the Daguerreotype Alan Taylor August 19, 2015 24 Photos In Focus In 1829, a French artist and designer named Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre struck a partnership with fellow inventor Joseph-Nicephore Niépce to develop a method to permanently capture the fleeting images visible in a camera obscura. Niépce passed away suddenly in 1833, but Daguerre kept experimenting, finally achieving success around 1834. The daguerreotype process used a polished sheet of silver-plated copper, treated with iodine to make it light-sensitive, which was exposed (for several minutes or more) under a lens, then “fixed” using mercury vapor. The existence of the process was first announced to the public in January of 1839—followed by an extraordinary move by the French government that would fuel the rapid growth of photography worldwide. Recognizing the enormous potential of this invention, the French government made a deal with Daguerre, acquiring the rights to the process in exchange for lifetime pensions for both Daguerre and Niépce’s son. Then the government gave it all away. On August 19, 1839, the details of the new daguerreotype process were presented to the public as a gift to the world from France. Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→. Boulevard du Temple, Paris, 3rd arrondissement, a street scene captured in a daguerreotype in either 1838 or 1839 and believed to be the earliest photograph showing a living person. It is a view of a busy street, but because the exposure time was at least 10 minutes, the moving traffic left no trace. The two men near the bottom left corner, one apparently having his boots polished by the other, stayed in one place long enough to be visible. It is also thought that just to the right of the two men, another person can be seen, sitting on a bench and reading a paper 176 years ago. # Louis Daguerre A daguerreotype of McKay’s Shipyard in East Boston made around 1855. # Southworth and Hawes / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Portrait of a man named Rollin Heber Neal, made between 1843 and 1862. # Southworth & Hawes / George Eastman House A portrait of an unidentified woman made by Mathew Brady between 1851 and 1860. # Mathew Brady / Library of Congress Family members of 19th-century poet Henry W. Longfellow, during a visit to Niagara Falls in June of 1862. # Longfellow National Historic Site / National Park Service Daguerreotype portrait of General Zachary Taylor in uniform, taken by Mathew Brady during or after the Mexican-American War, between 1846 and 1849. Taylor was later elected as the 12th President of the United States, serving until his death in office in 1850. # Matthew Brady / The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University Portsmouth Square, San Francisco, California, in January of 1851. # Sterling C. McIntyre / Library of Congress A self-portrait of Robert Cornelius, made in October or November of 1839. This is believed to be the earliest extant American portrait photo. Shortly after the French announcement of the Daguerreotype process, Cornelius, a young Philadelphian working out of doors to take advantage of the light, made this head-and-shoulders self-portrait using a box fitted with a lens from an opera glass. In the portrait, Cornelius stands slightly off-center with hair askew, in the yard behind his family’s lamp and chandelier store, peering uncertainly into the camera. # Library of Congress Gertrude Mercer Hubbard Grossman, Roberta Wolcott Hubbard Bell, and Mabel Hubbard Bell as girls, circa 1860. # Library of Congress The United States Capitol building in 1851. # John Plumbe / Library of Congress A formally dressed man shows nine different daguerreotypes in a display frame to promote a daguerreotype studio in one of the first known photographic advertisements, made in 1845. # The J. Paul Getty Museum Joseph Avery, stranded on rocks in the Niagara River in July of 1853. Three men boating in the Niagara River were overwhelmed by the river’s strong current, lost control of their boat, and crashed into a rock. The current carried two men immediately over the falls to their deaths. The daguerreotype shows the third man, stranded on a log that had jammed between two rocks. He weathered the current for 18 hours before succumbing to the river. The image is one of the earliest examples of a news photograph. # Platt Babbitt / Library of Congress Portrait of an unidentified man made by Mathew Brady between 1844 and 1860. # Mathew Brady / Library of Congress The Clark sisters, in a portrait made between 1840 and 1860. Writing on the back identifies the women as (left to right) “Aunt Harriet Allen, Aunt Ladonna Hoy, Grandma Joanette C-B, Aunt Julia Millard, and Aunt Laura” # Library of Congress A view of San Francisco Harbor, seen in January of 1851. # Sterling C. McIntyre / Library of Congress Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, in a portrait made between 1844 and 1845. # Matthew Brady / Library of Congress A large group of schoolchildren, with their teacher, standing in a town street in the 1850s. # Library of Congress Novelist and playwright George Lippard, in a portrait made around 1850. # Library of Congress A daguerreotype of the Ben Campbell steamship at landing, between 1852 and 1860. # Library of Congress A portrait of fur trader Antoine Le Claire. # Library of Congress A portrait of a man and woman, titled simply “Thos. F. Leete.” # Library of Congress The children of Lt. Montgomery C. Meigs, probably Mary Montgomery, Charles, Montgomery, and John Rodgers, in a donkey cart with a dog, circa 1850. From a note accompanying the image: “The children of Lt. M.C. Meigs, Eng. Corp U.S.A. taken in Detroit, Mich. This donkey was bought from two French trappers and missionaries to the Indians who came down from the primeval forests of the N.W.” # Library of Congress Portrait of an unidentified man, possibly Native American, possibly Choctaw, made in the 1850s. # Library of Congress A portrait of William Cranch made between 1844 and 1860. Cranch was the nephew (by marriage) of John Adams, and served as an American judge and as the second reporter of decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. Cranch was born on July 17, 1769 in the town of Weymouth, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay—then still a crown colony of Great Britain. You are viewing a photograph of a man who was born before the United States existed. # Library of Congress We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to [email protected]. Top of Form A Brief History of Opera Born in Italy more than 400 years ago during the Renaissance, opera—a combination of vocal and orchestral music, drama, visual arts and dance—has been inspiring people for ages. Discover opera with this brief timeline of important milestones in the history of this artform. A Brief History of Opera Quick answers: Born in Italy more than 400 years ago during the Renaissance, opera—a combination of vocal and orchestral music, drama, visual arts and dance—has been inspiring people for ages. In Florence, a small group of artists, statesmen, writers and musicians known as the Florentine Camerata decided to recreate the storytelling of Greek drama through music. Enter Jacopo Peri (1561–1633), who composed Dafne (1597), which many consider to be the first opera. From that beginning, two types of opera began to emerge: opera seria, or stately, formal and dignified pieces to befit the royalty that attended and sponsored them, and opera buffa, or comedies.   By the Baroque era (1600–1750), opera had taken Europe by storm and was a spectacular, expensive affair full of florid arias and ornate stage sets with moving parts. One of the greatest composers of Italian Baroque opera was a German who lived most of his life in London—Georg Frideric Handel (1685–1759). This period also saw the rise of castrati—male singers who were castrated as boys to preserve their soprano voices. The few who survived and made it to the top were the singing stars of the 17th and 18th century. Today those roles are sung by countertenors, or by women. Opera content began to change in the Classical period (1750–1830). This was brought about by the social movement known as the Enlightenment, with less elaborate musical forms and more realistic plots (read: fewer gods, more humans) and a reaction against excessive vocal display. The ultimate Classical opera composer was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91). Take his The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), a farce where servants ultimately outwit their aristocratic masters, based on a play by French writer Beaumarchais. It’s fast, irreverent and funny, but also full of stunning music. Mozart was also a master of high drama, as seen in his masterpiece Don Giovanni. Opera continued to flourish, and got bigger, louder and longer during the Romantic period (1830–1900). Grand opera was suddenly all the rage. One important style during this time was the Italian bel canto movement (literally meaning “beautiful singing”), which was all about vocal brilliance and ornamentation bolstered by a simpler harmonic structure. Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) had a particular talent for ebullient comedy and unforgettable melodies—like his The Barber of Seville (Il Barbiere di Siviglia). However, many bel canto composers enjoyed a good tragedy—often making their heroines go mad via a thwarted love affair. It was a good excuse to indulge in lengthy and elaborate vocal display. The most famous ‘mad scene’ occurs in Gaetano Donizetti’s (1797–1848) Lucia di Lammermoor, where the heroine, coerced into marriage, murders her husband on their wedding night and then spectacularly loses her mind. The best-known opera of the 19th century—and possibly the most popular of all time—is French composer Georges Bizet’s (1838–75) Carmen. It’s for good reason—the story of a Gypsy woman who values her free-spirited life above all, and the soldier who becomes obsessed with her, is packed with catchy melodies. The late 19th century was dominated by two giants of opera: Italian Giuseppe Verdi and German Richard Wagner, both born in 1813. Verdi, whose operas include Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and Aida wrote in a tuneful and dramatic style. Verdi understood the human voice and the internal processes behind the characters he created. Perhaps his most popular opera is La Traviata, which tells the story of Violetta, a beautiful courtesan who is fatally ill with tuberculosis. Meanwhile, in Germany, Wagner singlehandedly changed the course of opera with his huge ambition and talent by introducing new ideas in harmony, the use of leitmotifs and expanded use of the orchestra and operatic structure. Probably his best-known music is his 15-hour, four-opera Ring cycle: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Wagner was a significant influence on the music world, particularly for composers Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner, Jules Massenet and Richard Strauss—whose operas Salome and Der Rosenkavalier, characterized by their virtuosity in orchestral writing and tone color, are steeped in Wagner’s late-Romantic style. The early 20th century was dominated by another Italian with a fluent gift for melody, Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924). He wrote hugely popular works in the Italian grand opera tradition (usually featuring the tragic death of the heroine) with a new emphasis on realism—known as verismo—including La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Turandot. 20th century politics clashed with art in the 1934 opera by Dmitri Shostakovich, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District; so disturbingly, brilliantly dramatic it was condemned by the Soviet government. In the U.K., Benjamin Britten proved himself one of the masters of opera with his 1945 debut Peter Grimes. Set on the Suffolk coast, it’s the story of a difficult, outcast fisherman, his mistrustful neighbors and the sea that dominates their lives. Politics and opera come full circle with one of the most successful and engaging works of the late 20th century: John Adams’s Nixon in China (1987), based on Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China to meet Chairman Mao in 1972. Adams will present a new opera, Girls of the Golden West (2017). It seems that as long as there is a story to tell and ideas to be aired, opera will flourish. It is, after all, simply a heightened, multi-sensory means of making sense of the painful, glorious, complicated truths about the human condition. San Francisco Opera is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our federal tax ID is 94-0836240 | © San Francisco Opera Bottom of Form Top of Form A Brief History of Opera Born in Italy more than 400 years ago during the Renaissance, opera—a combination of vocal and orchestral music, drama, visual arts and dance—has been inspiring people for ages. Discover opera with this brief timeline of important milestones in the history of this artform. An Absolute Shit The lives and afterlives of Richard Wagner. By Mina Tavakoli May 18, 2021 Richard Wagner. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) Richard Wagner was an anti-Semite. This wasn’t just ugly, of-the-times bigotry or part of a sad and private hang-up, but a blood-and-body-consuming dimension of his being. As per the usual pageantry that comes with hate, his loathing took on enduring and complicated expressions, was pathetically pseudoscientific, a product of some combination of transference, projection, and fear, and is, in hindsight—but also was, during his lifetime—a character trait that left his name and work rank with the spice of rot. Books in Review Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music By Alex Ross Buy this book For the uninitiated, let me be clear: Wagner was a lot of things. He was a fop—a dandy who died in a room tailored in plum satins and whose last words were allegedly “My watch!” His fundamental rewiring of the ideas of harmony and tonality—the musical mathematics for how some notes are meant to go together—has made him the artist so many credit with ushering in modernism in music. He is contestably the most influential composer that ever lived, was unequivocally a genius, is outpaced only by figures like Jesus Christ and Shakespeare in the number of books written about him in the Library of Congress, and, as W.H. Auden put it, was “an absolute shit.” Alex Ross—a New Yorker music writer for the past two decades—has spent the better part of his life bedeviled by both the beautiful and the reprehensible qualities of the 19th-century composer. The outcome of his years-long infatuation is Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music. Like his muse’s operas, the work is filigreed, prone to bombast, at times bloated, and, at over 700 pages, formidable. But the remarkable trick about Ross’s undertaking is in how it steers clear of the usual critical constructions that befall bad artists who make good art. Though Wagner’s myriad hatreds are certainly deeply plumbed, judgment is not Ross’s aim in the book. Just as in his first, equally brick-sized work—the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century—Ross here makes the case that classical music from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries foregrounds much of how we think and talk about music and its relationship to the people who enjoy it. But Wagner is a figure that especially imprints on and becomes imprinted with history, revealing, in silhouette, what an epoch and its thinkers share. Ross’s new book charts the ideological pandemonium Wagner unleashed in his audiences, and the result is more an intellectual cartography than an assessment of Wagner’s influence through time. But by following Wagner’s reception rather than laying claim to a decisive reading of his work—instead hunting it, inspecting it, tracking how it moves—Ross has given us a book that does something impressive. Ross, in a rare feat of contemporary criticism, divests himself of his autonomy as a critic, hands it to others, and shows how writing about art is always an intervention between the subject and its beholders. Wagner was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1813. His mother was the daughter of bakers and his stepfather a playwright who would stoke in his stepson a fascination with theater that Wagner would later call an “almost demonic fire.” With a preternatural capacity to pump out complicated, Beethoven-inspired compositions and with an unshakable sense of grandiosity, Wagner began his musical career as something of a bête noire, virtually destined to court adoration and nemesis. From his precocious boyhood, Wagner would go on to wedge his ideas for the art of opera into the minds and hearts of not just his own milieu but generations of listeners and viewers thereafter. He would do so with an iconoclasm otherwise afforded only to inventors of things like Mickey Mouse or the iPhone. So much of how we think about, consume, and stage modern music is indebted to Wagner’s vast acreage of intellectual property—from the way we seat people steeply in theaters to some core principles and practices of conducting; from the sheer concept of atonality to the act of dimming the lights before a show. Wagner’s music is embedded not only in the global consciousness but in the recesses of the global unconscious, too. The hymn known in weddings immemorial as “Here Comes the Bride” might be the most universally identifiable—taken from a passage in his Romantic opera Lohengrin—but the thundery “Ride of the Valkyries” (from the second opera in the four-part, 15-hour-long Ring cycle) is inescapable, be it in Elmer Fudd cartoons or Apocalypse Now. There are also the tension-soaked opening notes of Tristan und Isolde, followed by the “Tristan chord”—likely the most analyzed chord in Western music—a sequence that, with its strangely unresolved, half-diminished double dissonance, still sounds remarkably horny, like an orgasm edged, then held to fermata. Current Issue Wagner’s influence is so prolific that he’s been immortalized with his own adjective, “Wagnerian,” which, not unlike “Lynchian” or “Kafkaesque,” is a term that swallows a host of meanings almost to the point of unmeaning. The ideas carried in other chronically abused terms, such as “leitmotif” (a recurring bit of music associated with a character or object) and Gesamtkunstwerk (a “total work of art”), also belong to Wagner, and are now associated with works ranging from The Lord of the Rings to the buildings of Le Corbusier. Loudly, publicly, and with the frequency of an obsessive, he also published a number of brainless essays that calcified what he called his “instinctive repugnance against the Jew’s prime essence.” The Wagner universe of art and thought was, and is, rich with things that are mammoth-sized, ideas so spacious and open to interpretation that they work like Rorschach blots for both his fans and his foes. In the right room, the mere mention of anything Wagner will yield a chorus of both love and hate, and for good reason: He inspires awe and ire in precisely the same, out-of-control proportions as the brilliance and bad politics associated with his name. By the same token, however, his work casts a strangely revealing spell that lays bare the critical framework of anyone who has an opinion of him. Despite the insistence of its title, Ross’s latest book is not only an overview of Wagner’s influence on musicians and nonmusicians alike, though it is certainly and explicitly that; more usefully, it is also a Trojan Horse that delivers a larger exercise in figuring out the limits of criticism. While the book repeatedly asks, “What does it mean to admire Richard Wagner?,” it implicitly poses a more onerous set of questions: What does it mean to stake a claim to any artist? What are we supposed to do with their damning qualities? What do we do when we equivocate about them—and what gets lost in the process? Wagner’s life and work constitute an excellent and fertile jungle to wander through in service of the everlasting riddle of whether an artist’s personal prejudices are a significant factor or an extraneous one in the art they create. Negotiating the balance of politics and aesthetics in art criticism is by no means a new endeavor, but Wagner’s corpus poses considerable challenges, especially in a contemporary mode, wherein critics often feel like arbiters of ethical consumption. Tacit declarations of a subject’s moral value (or lack thereof) are a hallmark of buzzy reviews—even a recent interview with Ross, certainly calibrated both for search engine optimization and to flatter contemporary tastes, bears the title “Wagner Was the Original Canceled Artist.” Donate Now to Power The Nation. Readers like you make our independent journalism possible. But that headline belies the size of the tangle both with Wagner and within Ross’s Wagnerism. Though the expectations associated with the adjudication of an artist’s goodness might be top of mind for modern readers who’ve gotten even a whiff of Wagner’s ridiculous hostilities, Ross measuredly warns against the promise of a finite answer for what to do with a problem like Wagner. “I am conscious of my limits,” he writes in the introduction, though he’s speaking not only of the boundaries of his “expertise and language” but, more broadly, of his aesthetic, moral, and critical project of presenting Wagner as a case study in understanding what happens—and what matters—to individuals when confronted with good art from artists with festering ethical sores. With so much landscape to cover, as fairly as possible, in Wagner’s work—and its dissonant, clanging reverberations—Ross must take on a number of jobs. Foremost, he has to be a well-equipped guide, leading us through the brambly fields of Wagner’s output and pointing out the responses his work and persona have engendered: how he’s endured endless relitigations of his character, how historical appropriations and reappropriations of him have tilted public perception, and the curiously generative hypocrisies in his fandom. But Ross also must be an anthropologist, patrolling with authority a panorama littered with past critics; he then must divide this vast geography into discrete and digestible sections that confront the ways Wagner moved from man to metaphor. But even as he dons these uniforms, what he is not doing a whole lot of, exactly, is passing judgment on the subject or his art. “You need not love Wagner or his music to register the staggering dimensions of the phenomenon,” Ross writes, though the phenomenon in question is not so much that of Wagner’s aftershocks as it is the care with which Ross needs to handle the Wagnerverse. He may fastidiously exhaust the point that Wagner has seduced and more or less wrung dry the emotional and rational faculties of all the minds who have been touched by his work. But it’s Ross’s roaming catalog of the wilderness of the world’s deep and motley approaches to Wagner (be they schools of Jewish Wagnerites or Black Wagnerites) that makes the book such a distinctly Gordian knot of the logical and emotional pathways we pave by loving an artist’s art. What Wagnerism shows, very clearly, is that while music and its creators constrain how you receive them—at least to some initial degree—they will never take away one’s freedom to respond. “In a way,” Ross writes, “this book is a story of failed analogies.” From metaphor to allegory, his main action throughout is erecting parallel constructions between Wagner the man and Wagner the myth, in order to chart the passage from Wagner to Wagnerism. Each literary, musical, and philosophical figure he calls on to give testimony provides a new translation—or mistranslation—by which to read the man’s legacy. It’s clearly not lost on Ross that this marathon act of kneading every tension in and out of Wagner’s knotty corpus is, in itself, Wagnerian. In 2016, Nicolas Dames wrote that in the best criticism, “we should hear a critic’s performance of the work in question, much like a musician’s performance of a score.” This is to say, effective criticism should be as inventive as it is ekphrastic: As it wraps itself around one artistic object, it makes a second one in the process. Furthermore, it’s obligatory: “The behemoth,” Ross points out, “whispers a different secret in each listener’s ear.” Take the case of Nietzsche. A contemporary of Wagner’s, the philosopher had a revealing relationship with the composer, moving from faraway interest to adoration, idolatry, mania, and, finally, enmity. While both were orbiting around Switzerland in 1869, they began an intimate, near father-son relationship. Fizzy with the buzz around Wagner’s latest opera, Das Rheingold, Nietzsche looked upon the composer with the reverence of a new cult inductee and treated him as a world-historical artist. In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche’s 1872 essay, he explained the need for a chaotic, “Dionysian” style of art, to oppose the staid, rational, “Socratic” bilge then dominating Germany. Wagner was that figure, he believed—a man who breathed the “sublime and the ultra-sublime,” a man whose existence accomplished the Sisyphean, superhuman task of “sum[ming] up modernity.” But Wagner’s grandiosity grew, and it began to gnaw at the disciple. Two major forces caused Nietzsche grief, the first of which was the development of Wagner’s own opera house and festival in the German hamlet of Bayreuth. Though it was conceived—and later successfully executed—as a mecca for opera, in its early days it was a remarkably garish meeting point of commodity and chauvinism, something more like a Wagner-themed amusement park filled with what Nietzsche saw as a maw of “bored, unmusical” guests and “idle European riff-raff.” (Bayreuth would even prefigure some of the gaudier features of modern branding: Shops outside the opera house were stuffed with beer mugs and “sundry toiletries” stamped with Wagner’s face.) “I no longer recognized anything,” Nietzsche practically moaned. “I scarcely recognized Wagner.” Nietzsche’s second issue with Wagner—a more fundamental, very Nietzschean one—was what he saw as a series of ethical hypocrisies in Wagner’s weak Christian ethos—in particular, his anti-Semitism. Though Wagner had, in 1850, already published a nauseating pamphlet titled “Jewishness in Music” under a pseudonym (K. Freigedank, or “Freethought”)—an essay in which he describes the Jewish people as a “swarming colony of worms that takes up residence in the body of art”—he republished the work with his full name and a more damning addendum in 1869 and would continue to churn out essays with rabid indictments of Jewishness as a scourge of art until his death in 1883. Join The Nation’s Books & the Arts newsletter Please enter your email below and subscribe to our bi-weekly collection of the best of the Books & the Arts. For Nietzsche, these texts proved to be too much. In his 1888 essays The Case of Wagner and Nietzsche Contra Wagner, he portrays Wagner as a decaying, duplicitous, anti-Semitic Christian, a stupefier of unthinking audiences with old German classics, and a man who has resolutely “made music sick.” He admits, painfully, that he had misapplied his faith in Wagner’s seemingly world-historical capacities all along. “Wagner’s art is diseased,” he writes. “Everything he touches he contaminates.” Nietzsche “revenged [himself] on Wagner for [his] deceived expectations” by spending his last year of lucidity publishing screeds against him.” The intensity of Nietzsche’s feeling—that violent ambivalence, that long-wrought, well-anthologized defense of his turn away from the composer, and, crucially, that sense of personal disloyalty to the vision of the man he’d constructed and relied on as a savior—is a refrain throughout Wagnerism. Among fans of Wagner’s music both during his life and after, this sense of personalized perfidy is a mainstay. Auden (who, again, called Wagner a shit) also considered him “perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived.” Thomas Mann seesawed between resentment and veneration; the French poet Catulle Mendès took a similar stance, as Ross notes, “admiring and despising his old idol in equal measure.” The American composer Leonard Bernstein’s wits’-end admission—“I hate Wagner, but I hate him on my knees”—may as well serve as the epitaph for a legion of writers and fans who saw revering his work as a sort of conscious hypocrisy. Adolf Hitler, tellingly, had a far less fraught relationship to the composer. For him, Wagner was an angel of Germanic ideals. Naturally, the existence of “Jewishness in Music” didn’t harm his legacy in the Führer’s eyes, and it’s very likely, according to Ross, that several particularly nasty passages in Mein Kampf were copied closely from Wagner’s essay. In Hitler Speaks, the German reactionary Hermann Rauschning even quotes Hitler as seeing something of a spiritual master in him: “I recognize in Wagner my only predecessor…. I regard him as a supreme prophetic figure.” The depth of this ardor rendered the memory of Wagner, Ross tells us, “warped…around Hitler’s presence” in the 20th century: The Wagner estate’s support of the Third Reich, the “flurry of Wagneriana” in the Nazi regime, and the consecration of the Bayreuth Festival as a site of annual Nazi visitation after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 sealed the connection securely. The critic Siegfried Scheffler, in a review of the first Nazi-packed event, referred to the pair as the “two Führers.” “One danger inherent in the incessant linking of Wagner to Hitler,” Ross notes, “is that it hands the Führer a belated cultural victory—exclusive possession of the composer he loved.” For Ross, such a victory is far more ambiguous: Though Wagner had unquestionably been an anti-Semite, he had also been something of a left-wing anarchist and a self-proclaimed man of the people. Wagner was exiled from Germany and its musical world for 12 years after playing a not-unmeaningful role in the 1849 May Uprising in Dresden by ordering hand grenades, serving on the barricades, and loudly rallying rioters from the town hall balcony. “The backshadowing narrative was too simplistic,” Ross writes; he quotes the German academic Hans Rudolf Vaget, who alleges that the young Hitler’s exaltation of Wagner is one of “patent normality within the cultural context from which he sprang.” Socialists, communists, social democrats, radicals, dilettantes, and anarchists all found sustenance in Wagner, and yet his co-option by Hitler effectively reduced him “to a cultural atrocity—the Muzak of genocide.” Declarations like “too simplistic” are a hallmark of Ross’s approach to unsnarling the life and afterlives of Wagner’s work, and this critical tool eventually becomes anticipatory. Each passage is so rhythmic in its argument, so swinging in its pendulum, that it begins to move metronomically. First, it lays out the land—a portion of Wagner’s life, a fan, a foe, a movement, a reaction to him—then, without fail, it swings in the other direction. Often, we enter baroque hyperbole, a favorite means by which Ross re-creates just how inchoate, contradictory, and dense Wagner’s system of art and belief was. Baudelaire’s ardor for the music was like that of “an addict, an opium dreamer,” and Twain’s response to the prelude to Parsifal, Ross reports, was “rhapsodic, almost delirious.” Ross himself speaks of the operas as having “near-infinite malleability” that often created “interpretive pandemonium.” But any man contains multitudes, and in its own way, the volume of commentary that describes Wagner’s spell as ineffable can feel like a critical sidestep. It often seems as if the only way to approach the darker spots that stain Wagner’s being is to blur them into murk. Ross is aware of this analytical shortcut. Wagner’s “misogyny, like his racism, can dissipate in the face of an unexplained force that erases distinctions and brings about transcendent unity,” he writes. This is to say, delusion or self-deception will necessarily be part of any equation that involves celebrating an artist. And when it comes to Wagner in particular, there is a certain sense of fantasy in believing a single idea. To paraphrase Mann, it’s more valuable to be intoxicated not by intoxication but by insight. Ross devotes crucial moments of his book to the curious cases of those fans who disdained Wagner’s cruel politics but adored his music. Wagner was embraced not only by Hitler but also by Afro-Wagnerites, feminist Wagnerites, and even the not-entirely-rare examples of Jewish Wagnerites. In these fans, we can witness the logical leaps some took to not exactly defend their adoration of him, but to be able to separate their adoration from conventional identitarian narratives and ground it in their own terms. Each subject takes things personally, but this only sometimes means politically. To take one peculiar example: Theodor Herzl considered himself a proud Wagner acolyte. As the father of modern political Zionism, he found himself “enraptured by the music of the great anti-Semite,” as his biographer Amos Elon noted, and sought deep inspiration in the ebb and flow of Wagner’s music as he wrote what would become The Jewish State. In his 1898 autobiography, he recalled, “My only rest in the evening was listening to Wagner’s music, particularly to Tannhäuser, an opera that I went to hear as often as it was given. Only on the evenings when no opera was performed did I doubt the rightness of my ideas.” W.E.B. Du Bois shared an equally glowing conviction. Transfixed after his first visit to Bayreuth, he saw in Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung a vision of particularly African American heroism. “It is as though someone of us chose out of the wealth of African folklore a body of poetic material and, with music, scene, and action, re-told for mankind the suffering and triumphs and defeats of a people,” he wrote in his travel column for the Pittsburgh Courier. In The Souls of Black Folk, he seems to get at a greater point: “Something in this world man must trust. Not everything—but Something.” Riven with apparent contradiction, Du Bois’s admiration does not absolve Wagner of his idiocy, nor does Herzl’s appreciation abate the fact that Wagner would have categorically loathed him and his cause. Neither is it easy to resolve the fact that Emma Goldman found in Wagner’s work a pressure valve for women’s “pent-up, stifled and hidden emotions,” or that, as Ross writes, Wagner became part of the “syllabus of gay taste,” with queer writers like Hanns Fuchs referring to him confidently as a “spiritual homosexual.” Sundry other surprising Wagnerites populate the history of left-wing thought, such as the Black intellectuals, like Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, who found beauty in Wagner’s Teutonic idealism. These Wagnerites’ relationships to the composer are what make Wagnerism and the idea of approaching art with a true subjectivity so fertile. Nietzsche seems to get to the core of Wagner’s sharpest effect in a journal entry written during his most passionate period of obsession with the composer. “All of the psychologically decisive passages,” he wrote, “speak only of me.” Across these nearly 700 pages, Ross has done the work of explaining that there is no science in the logic of love, but it is worth an attempt to make one. Claiming messiness does not suddenly resolve a critical argument. By the same token, reason, and conviction in that reason, cannot undo hate. Even with such a monstrous artist and such a monstrous body of work, Ross insists that no love for an artist demands complicity with their evils. Artists are notoriously uncompromising, but what we’re slated (or doomed) to do is try to compromise convincingly with what’s at hand. In an interview titled “The Value of Frustration,” the British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips makes the salient case that the language of pleasure and the language of fulfillment are inextricable. “I think that the equation of happiness with forms of satisfaction is the problem,” he notes. “I think it is that we’re bewitched by the idea of gratification and we’re bewitched by the idea that gratification is what we want and is the thing that will make us happy.” Satisfaction, or the idea of expressing complicated ideas economically—the swift and flattened thesis, tales of good versus evil—does not find a home in Wagnerism. We’re reminded again and again of his genius and his sins, but in a pattern that constantly reasserts itself in Ross’s narrative, we follow how each version of Wagner that each fan, critic, or reader holds close or views from afar is shaped by the person’s ability to see him, articulate him, separate him out into pieces, and underscore what matters most. Tugging along these lines of inquiry is not always satisfying, but it is, very literally, a model of the varying limits of empathy. “What we hate in it,” writes Ross, “we hate in ourselves; what we love in it, we love in ourselves also.” And this is where we are left at the end of Ross’s book. Wagner will remain ground zero for the method of taking an artist and measuring the person’s worth in terms of value systems that are historical, selective, and utterly emotional. Seeing oneself as a devoted Wagnerite or an anti-Wagnerite cannot be considered mutually exclusive conditions. It shows the way that individual politics work—how they are self-selective, shifting, and sometimes paradoxical. Wagner, like politics, is a perceptual proposition—a thought experiment that asks us not only what we value but also how we meaningfully justify those values as true. Moral imperfections are tantalizing, whether they’re within Wagner or any contemporary artist. And a public’s fascination with the slippages that contradict the impossible idea of “greatness” is productive—it allows us to realize that the principles of art and ideology are not so much inseparable as they are the same force. Flashes of the most Wagnerian figure in this country today came involuntarily to mind as I read Ross’s book, and no mention of his name is necessary to underscore Ross’s success in outlining the enduring relevance of a towering, self-satisfied, endlessly fascinating figure whose myth often eclipses his reality and whose seductive factors seem baffling to many. It is certainly easy and attention-getting to begin a critical appraisal with an argument for why one’s subject is reprehensible and deserves our revulsion. But Ross also insists that it’s important to consider at length why so many others have been attracted to the same figure or his work. As Wagner himself intimately understood, harmony and resolution are two entirely different forces. Skip to content Classical vs Romantic Music (Differences Between Classical And Romantic Music) Apr 18, 2019 by Dr Justin Wildridge Classical vs Romantic Era Music This article is going to give two highly important periods of Western Classical Music a chance to square up to one another and discover how they compare. Could it be that one period of musical history has extensively more to offer the performer and the listener than the other, or are they equal in their musical offerings? Classical vs Romantic Music It is important to understand the context of these periods of musical history. Before the classical period, came the Baroque period of music with composers like Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and Couperin. Following the classical period, there was what is now termed the Romantic Period that was in itself followed by the dawn of the 20th Century or loosely titled, Modern Period of music. This then places the classical period roughly between 1750 -1830, and the romantic period between 1830 – 1900. Periods of Classical music reflect the ages in which they existed. Culture, economics, society, politics all influenced and to some extent governed the development of music during these times. Each period of music is also built on the one that preceded it even though what it then comes to represent is frequently in contrast to it. By this, I mean that the musical and social conventions that were common in the classical period travelled through the Romantic period and enabled the new ideas to flourish. Music of the classical period then reflected the baroque but also rejected it too. The gilt-edged, ornate opulence of the baroque was discarded in favour of a more modest and streamlined musical model. Likewise, the Romantic period moved away from the elegance and measured control of the classical period towards increasingly larger and complex music in an effort to more fully express the great range of human emotions. This change in focus is key to understanding another difference between the periods of music. Classical music was highly expressive and communicative but the romantic composers drew perhaps an even greater focus on the human condition and the struggle of the spirit. What connected the classical and romantic periods are instrumental groupings. Many ensembles that were created during the classical period carried through and developed during the romantic period. The orchestra, for example, was firmly established in the classical period and continued to enjoy favour in the romantic period and onwards. The difference here is in respect of the pure numbers of performers. Even in the late symphonic works of Haydn, the composer would not have called for many more than 50 performers whereas the late romantic symphonic works regularly require in excess of one hundred performers. The piano continued to be one of the most popular instruments during both periods of music as a solo instrument and also in the orchestral setting of the concerto. Piano trios, quartets and quintets also thrived through both periods of music. In addition, the full choir (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), as an ensemble continued to be the focus for many extraordinary works through both periods. There were significant developments in the instruments themselves across both periods of musical history. The piano began in the times of Mozart and Haydn developing to the piano we recognise today as the concert grand. Woodwind instruments developed more complex key-work to cope with the demands made by classical composers. Brass instruments established valve systems that brought a greater range and technical possibilities that the natural instruments could not offer. These steps forward were furthered significantly in the romantic period and encouraged the rise of the virtuoso performer who in a very real sense became the struggling hero ever popular during this era. From the orchestra, choir, piano, string quartets came very different types of musical composition during these two periods of music. The symphony began in the classical period as a three or four movements musical form with a duration of around twenty minutes. As the symphony developed in the romantic period the form dramatically changed towards a more unified structure. Symphonies that were thematically linked (Berlioz idée fixe for example), evolved and four movements became one continuous piece. The romantic symphony often had a programme or was inspired by literature leading to the tone poem and gigantic works like the Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz or Mahler’s “Symphony for a Thousand”. This, in turn, meant that the musical structures changed too. Familiar forms from the classical period like sonata form, rondo, ternary, variation form, all tended towards dramatic expansion in the romantic period. The gentle confines of periodic phrasing from the classical period grew into lengthy, extended melodic expressions that soared across the new expanses of the developed forms. The romantic period pushed the older musical forms to breaking point, and in some cases where they are no longer recognisable. The composers focused on the facility to fully express the richest emotions in the romantic period often to the detriment of the composition which could be prolonged far beyond the natural possibilities of the musical material. Whilst the classical period remained tonal (even in Mozart’s ‘Dissonance Quartet’), the romantic composers eventually drove tonality towards destruction. Harmonically the periods differ widely in this respect. Even though there are examples of highly intricate classical pieces they do not come close to the intense chromaticism that underlies the works of composers like Wagner, Scriabin and Schoenberg. In many of Wagner’s compositions, the idea of a tonal centre, that dominated the classical models, vanishes in a haze of ever transient harmonic movement. Arnold Schoenberg then took the next step and devised his own harmonic system that completely dismissed tonal harmony. The gradual dissolution of the tonal framework that threaded its way through classical music began even as far back as the later works of Beethoven. Beethoven spanned both classical and romantic periods and in many ways prepared the way for the composers that followed to further develop his harmonic and structural innovations. If we judge the classical and romantic periods in terms of the scale then the romantic period would win. The concertos and symphonies were almost demonstrations of excess and indulgence compared to the measured, concise classical pieces. If however, we are looking more completely at the music itself, then both periods produced remarkable works in their own right. The classical period gave rise to the romantic and in that sense they are inseparable. Beethoven: How the World’s First Rock Star Changed Music Forever By Lucas Reilly Dec 1, 2016 Byron Eggenschwiler / Byron Eggenschwiler Thumbing his nose at authority and whipping crowds into a frenzy, he changed music forever. Ludwig van Beethoven was often mistaken for a vagrant. With wads of yellow cotton stuffed in his ears, he stomped around 1820s Vienna, flailing his arms, mumbling as he scribbled on scraps of paper. Residents would frequently alert the police. Once, he was tossed in jail when cops refused to believe he was the city’s most famous composer. “You’re a tramp!” they argued. “Beethoven doesn’t look like this.” The city was crawling with spies—they lurked in taverns, markets, and coffeehouses, looking to suss out anti-aristocratic rebels. Since Beethoven seemed suspect, these spies followed him and eavesdropped on his conversations. But authorities didn’t consider him a real threat. Like the rest of Vienna, they thought he was crazy. It had been nearly 10 years since he wrote his Symphony No. 8, and just as long since he’d last given a public concert. “He is apparently quite incapable of greater accomplishments,” the newspaper Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung concluded. Little did they know, Beethoven was composing like a man possessed. At his apartment, he stomped out tempos and pounded his piano keys so hard the strings snapped. Sweat-stained manuscripts littered the room. He was so focused, he often forgot to empty the chamber pot under his piano. The piece would be his grandest yet: Symphony No. 9 in D minor. With it, he planned to give those spies reason to worry—not only would the piece be political, but he intended to play it for the largest audience possible. The music, he hoped, would put the nobility in its place. Born to a family of Flemish court musicians in 1770, Beethoven had no choice but to take up music. His grandfather was a well-respected music director in Bonn, Germany. His father, Johann, was a not-so-well-respected court singer who gave young Ludwig piano lessons. Some nights, Johann would stagger home from the tavern, barge into Ludwig’s room, and make him practice until dawn. The piano keys were routinely glazed with tears. A decade earlier, 7-year-old Mozart had toured Europe, playing music for royal courts and generating income for his family. Johann dreamed of a similar course for his son. He lied about Ludwig’s age to make him appear younger, and for a time, even Ludwig didn’t know his real age. But the Beethovens saw neither fame nor fortune. Johann’s drinking debts were so deep his wife had to sell her clothes. When Ludwig turned 11, his family pulled him from elementary school to focus on music full-time. The truncated education meant he never mastered spelling or simple multiplication. By the time he was 22, Beethoven’s world had changed. His parents passed away, and he left Bonn for Vienna, making a name for himself improvising at the piano for royal soirees. With Mozart now dead, he quickly became regarded as one of Vienna’s most talented musicians. But the more Beethoven hobnobbed with aristocrats, the more he despised them. Musicians were treated like cooks, maids, and shoe shiners—they were merely servants of the court. Even Mozart had to sit with the cooks at dinnertime. Beethoven refused to be put in his place. He demanded to be seated at the head table with royalty. When other musicians arrived at court wearing wigs and silk stockings, he came in a commoner’s clothes. (Composer Luigi Cherubini said he resembled an “unlicked bear cub.”) He refused to play if he wasn’t in the mood. When other musicians performed, he talked over them. When people talked over him, he exploded and called them “swine.” Once, when his improvisations moved listeners to tears, he chastised them for crying instead of clapping. Most musicians would have been fired for this behavior, but Beethoven’s talent was too magnetic. “He knew how to produce such an effect upon every hearer that frequently not an eye remained dry, while many would break into loud sobs,” Carl Czerny wrote in Cocks’s Musical Miscellany. So Archduke Rudolph made an exception: Beethoven could ignore court etiquette. But Beethoven wasn’t alone in his resentment. A few hundred miles to the west, in France, aristocrats were being queued up for the guillotine, and a stiff anti-royalist air was sweeping in toward Vienna. While not a fan of bloodshed, Beethoven supported the Revolution. He loved the free thought it encouraged, and he toyed with the idea of setting music to Friedrich Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy,” a call for brotherhood and liberty. But he never wrote the piece. Harboring revolutionary sentiments left him in a pickle: His career depended on the people he wanted to see uprooted. So he kept quiet. As the decade wore on, Viennese nobility continued to lionize him—he rose to be one of the city’s biggest celebrities. Then his ears began to ring. It started as a faint whistle. Doctors advised him to fill his ears with almond oil and take cold baths. Nothing worked. By 1800, his ears were buzzing day and night. Beethoven sank into depression, stopped attending social functions, and retreated to the countryside, where loneliness drove him to consider suicide. Music kept him going. “It seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt was within me,” he wrote. At 31, he was known as a virtuoso, not as a composer. But it seemed he had little choice. He snuffed his performing career and dedicated himself to writing. Artistically, isolation had its benefits. Every morning, he woke at 5:30 a.m. and composed for two hours until breakfast. Then he wandered through meadows, a pencil and notebook in hand, lost in thought. Sketching ideas, he mumbled, waved his arms, sang, and stomped. One time, he made such a ruckus that a yoke of oxen began to stampede. He often forgot to sleep or eat, but did pause to make coffee—counting precisely 60 beans for each cup. He sat in restaurants for hours, scribbling music on napkins, menus, even windows. Distracted, he’d accidentally pay other people’s bills. He started grumbling more openly about politics. He admired Napoleon and planned on publicly naming his third symphony for the general. It was a daring move: Napoleon was imperial Austria’s enemy. But when Napoleon declared himself Emperor of the French, Beethoven was disgusted. “Now he will trample on all human rights and indulge only his own ambition. He will place himself above everyone and become a tyrant,” he wrote, ditching the dedication. In 1809, Napoleon’s troops stormed into Vienna. The booming of his cannons hurt Beethoven’s eardrums so much he retreated to the cellar and buried his head under pillows. In 1814, Napoleon’s empire collapsed and Austria’s nobility attempted to restore order. Within a few years, Prince Klemens von Metternich had established the world’s first modern police state. The press was banned from publishing without the state’s blessing. The government removed university professors who expounded “harmful doctrines hostile to public order.” Undercover cops infested Vienna. Beethoven’s contempt for power grew. Although he still had royal patrons, Beethoven had fewer friends in high places. Many were missing or dead, and his ordinary friends were just as unlucky—briefly jailed or censored. Thankfully, Beethoven wrote instrumental music. For years, listeners considered it an inferior, even vulgar, art form compared to song or poetry. But as tyrants returned to power, Romantic thinkers like E.T.A. Hoffmann and Goethe praised instrumental music as a place for solace and truth. “The censor cannot hold anything against musicians,” Franz Grillparzer told Beethoven. “If they only knew what you think about in your music!” That’s when the composer made the brash decision to return to Schiller’s “Ode to Joy.” Censors in Vienna had banned Schiller’s works in 1783, then reauthorized it 25 years later only after some whitewashing. (The original says, “Beggars will become the brothers of princes.” Beethoven had stronger feelings, writing in his notebook, “Princes are beggars.”) Adding words to a symphony would destroy the safety net of ambiguity that instrumental composers enjoyed, spelling Beethoven’s motives out for all to hear. On May 7, 1824, Vienna’s Kärntnertor Theater was packed. Beethoven had spent months preparing for this moment, corralling nearly 200 musicians and dealing with censors who quibbled over a religious work on the program. They did not, however, complain about Symphony No. 9. No one had heard it yet. Beethoven took the conductor’s baton, beating time for the start of each movement. The musicians’ eyes were glued to his every move, but in reality, none of them followed his lead. They had been ordered not to. Stone deaf, Beethoven was an unreliable conductor, so a friend actually led the orchestra. The piece was four movements long and lasted a little more than an hour. The first three movements were purely instrumental; the last contained Schiller’s ode. But when one of the movements finished, the hall exploded with applause. Modern audiences would scold such behavior, but during Beethoven’s lifetime, a public concert was more like a rock show. People spontaneously clapped, cheered, and booed mid-performance. As the audience hollered for more, Beethoven continued waving his arms, oblivious to the cheering and sea of waving handkerchiefs behind him. The applause was so loud, and lasted for so long, that the police had to yell for silence. When the performance finished, a teary-eyed Beethoven almost fainted. The Ninth was a hit. But not with the aristocracy, who never showed up. Undeterred, Beethoven kept with tradition and dedicated the Symphony to a royal, King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia. He sent the King a copy of the score and, in return, the King sent Beethoven a beautiful diamond ring. It appeared to be a gift of gratitude, but when Beethoven took the ring to a jeweler to sell it, the jeweler had bad news: The diamond was fake. Beethoven had clearly pushed some buttons. The Ninth would be Beethoven’s last, and most famous, symphony. When he died in 1827, some 20,000 people filled the streets for his funeral. Schools were closed. Soldiers were called to ensure order. Five years later, people suggested erecting a Beethoven monument in Bonn. In the 1840s, Bonn celebrated its first “Beethoven Festival.” Salespeople hawked Beethoven neckties, Beethoven cigars, and even Beethoven pants. All of it was groundbreaking. Never before had a musician garnered so much attention. It indicated a larger cultural sea change: A society that reveres artists and makes them celebrities. In a way, Beethoven was the world’s first rock star. Beethoven-worship changed the course of art history. Isolated. Autonomous. Rebellious. Sublime. He was Romanticism’s posterboy, and his stature elevated the meaning of artist: No longer a skilled craftsman, like a cook or carpenter, an artist became a person who suffered to express emotions, genius, or—in drippier language—their soul. Beethoven’s success helped cement ideas that now define Western art. And, of course, his influence on classical music is vast. The bigger, stronger modern piano emerged partly to accommodate his pieces. The first professional orchestras appeared in his wake, many with the goal of preserving his work. He was one of the first musicians to be canonized. Some argue the movement to immortalize his work eventually made classical music turn stale. Before Beethoven, the works of dead composers were rarely played. But by the 1870s, dead composers owned the concert hall. They still do today. Aaron Copland would complain that “musical art, as we hear it in our day, suffers if anything from an overdose of masterworks.” John Cage bemoaned that “[Beethoven’s] influence, which has been as extensive as it is lamentable, has been deadening to the art of music.” Indeed, attending a classical music concert can be like visiting a museum. It’s often forgotten that the piece that secured Beethoven’s status as an icon and reshaped the course of classical music was, at its heart, a powerful work of politics. In concentration camps during World War II, prisoners took solace in Beethoven’s message of freedom. In one heartbreaking tale, a children’s choir rehearsed “Ode to Joy” in Auschwitz’s latrines. It’s been sung at every Olympic Games since 1956. When the Berlin Wall fell, Leonard Bernstein conducted the Ninth with musicians from both sides of the divide. Today, it’s the national anthem of the European Union, and the message remains relevant. The same problems that plagued Vienna nearly 200 years ago—war, inequality, censorship, surveillance—have not disappeared. Perhaps it’s naive to believe that “all men will become brothers,” as the piece proclaims. But Beethoven, who never heard his own symphony, didn’t write it for himself. He wrote it for others. It’s our job to not only hear his message, but also to truly listen. To listen to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, jump to 33:45 in the audio file below. Project Gutenberg’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, by George Bernard Shaw This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Mrs. Warren’s Profession Author: George Bernard Shaw Release Date: February 11, 2006 [EBook #1097] Last Updated: September 21, 2016 Language: English Character set encoding: UTF-8 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION *** Produced by An Anonymous Volunteer and David Widger MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION by George Bernard Shaw 1894 With The Author’s Apology (1902) Contents THE AUTHOR’S APOLOGY MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION ACT I ACT II ACT III ACT IV THE AUTHOR’S APOLOGY Mrs Warren’s Profession has been performed at last, after a delay of only eight years; and I have once more shared with Ibsen the triumphant amusement of startling all but the strongest-headed of the London theatre critics clean out of the practice of their profession. No author who has ever known the exultation of sending the Press into an hysterical tumult of protest, of moral panic, of involuntary and frantic confession of sin, of a horror of conscience in which the power of distinguishing between the work of art on the stage and the real life of the spectator is confused and overwhelmed, will ever care for the stereotyped compliments which every successful farce or melodrama elicits from the newspapers. Give me that critic who rushed from my play to declare furiously that Sir George Crofts ought to be kicked. What a triumph for the actor, thus to reduce a jaded London journalist to the condition of the simple sailor in the Wapping gallery, who shouts execrations at Iago and warnings to Othello not to believe him! But dearer still than such simplicity is that sense of the sudden earthquake shock to the foundations of morality which sends a pallid crowd of critics into the street shrieking that the pillars of society are cracking and the ruin of the State is at hand. Even the Ibsen champions of ten years ago remonstrate with me just as the veterans of those brave days remonstrated with them. Mr Grein, the hardy iconoclast who first launched my plays on the stage alongside Ghosts and The Wild Duck, exclaimed that I have shattered his ideals. Actually his ideals! What would Dr Relling say? And Mr William Archer himself disowns me because I “cannot touch pitch without wallowing in it”. Truly my play must be more needed than I knew; and yet I thought I knew how little the others know. Do not suppose, however, that the consternation of the Press reflects any consternation among the general public. Anybody can upset the theatre critics, in a turn of the wrist, by substituting for the romantic commonplaces of the stage the moral commonplaces of the pulpit, platform, or the library. Play Mrs Warren’s Profession to an audience of clerical members of the Christian Social Union and of women well experienced in Rescue, Temperance, and Girls’ Club work, and no moral panic will arise; every man and woman present will know that as long as poverty makes virtue hideous and the spare pocket-money of rich bachelordom makes vice dazzling, their daily hand-to-hand fight against prostitution with prayer and persuasion, shelters and scanty alms, will be a losing one. There was a time when they were able to urge that though “the white-lead factory where Anne Jane was poisoned” may be a far more terrible place than Mrs Warren’s house, yet hell is still more dreadful. Nowadays they no longer believe in hell; and the girls among whom they are working know that they do not believe in it, and would laugh at them if they did. So well have the rescuers learnt that Mrs Warren’s defence of herself and indictment of society is the thing that most needs saying, that those who know me personally reproach me, not for writing this play, but for wasting my energies on “pleasant plays” for the amusement of frivolous people, when I can build up such excellent stage sermons on their own work. Mrs Warren’s Profession is the one play of mine which I could submit to a censorship without doubt of the result; only, it must not be the censorship of the minor theatre critic, nor of an innocent court official like the Lord Chamberlain’s Examiner, much less of people who consciously profit by Mrs Warren’s profession, or who personally make use of it, or who hold the widely whispered view that it is an indispensable safety-valve for the protection of domestic virtue, or, above all, who are smitten with a sentimental affection for our fallen sister, and would “take her up tenderly, lift her with care, fashioned so slenderly, young, and SO fair.” Nor am I prepared to accept the verdict of the medical gentlemen who would compulsorily sanitate and register Mrs Warren, whilst leaving Mrs Warren’s patrons, especially her military patrons, free to destroy her health and anybody else’s without fear of reprisals. But I should be quite content to have my play judged by, say, a joint committee of the Central Vigilance Society and the Salvation Army. And the sterner moralists the members of the committee were, the better. Some of the journalists I have shocked reason so unripely that they will gather nothing from this but a confused notion that I am accusing the National Vigilance Association and the Salvation Army of complicity in my own scandalous immorality. It will seem to them that people who would stand this play would stand anything. They are quite mistaken. Such an audience as I have described would be revolted by many of our fashionable plays. They would leave the theatre convinced that the Plymouth Brother who still regards the playhouse as one of the gates of hell is perhaps the safest adviser on the subject of which he knows so little. If I do not draw the same conclusion, it is not because I am one of those who claim that art is exempt from moral obligations, and deny that the writing or performance of a play is a moral act, to be treated on exactly the same footing as theft or murder if it produces equally mischievous consequences. I am convinced that fine art is the subtlest, the most seductive, the most effective instrument of moral propaganda in the world, excepting only the example of personal conduct; and I waive even this exception in favor of the art of the stage, because it works by exhibiting examples of personal conduct made intelligible and moving to crowds of unobservant, unreflecting people to whom real life means nothing. I have pointed out again and again that the influence of the theatre in England is growing so great that whilst private conduct, religion, law, science, politics, and morals are becoming more and more theatrical, the theatre itself remains impervious to common sense, religion, science, politics, and morals. That is why I fight the theatre, not with pamphlets and sermons and treatises, but with plays; and so effective do I find the dramatic method that I have no doubt I shall at last persuade even London to take its conscience and its brains with it when it goes to the theatre, instead of leaving them at home with its prayer-book as it does at present. Consequently, I am the last man in the world to deny that if the net effect of performing Mrs Warren’s Profession were an increase in the number of persons entering that profession, its performance should be dealt with accordingly. Now let us consider how such recruiting can be encouraged by the theatre. Nothing is easier. Let the King’s Reader of Plays, backed by the Press, make an unwritten but perfectly well understood regulation that members of Mrs Warren’s profession shall be tolerated on the stage only when they are beautiful, exquisitely dressed, and sumptuously lodged and fed; also that they shall, at the end of the play, die of consumption to the sympathetic tears of the whole audience, or step into the next room to commit suicide, or at least be turned out by their protectors and passed on to be “redeemed” by old and faithful lovers who have adored them in spite of their levities. Naturally, the poorer girls in the gallery will believe in the beauty, in the exquisite dresses, and the luxurious living, and will see that there is no real necessity for the consumption, the suicide, or the ejectment: mere pious forms, all of them, to save the Censor’s face. Even if these purely official catastrophes carried any conviction, the majority of English girls remain so poor, so dependent, so well aware that the drudgeries of such honest work as is within their reach are likely enough to lead them eventually to lung disease, premature death, and domestic desertion or brutality, that they would still see reason to prefer the primrose path to the strait path of virtue, since both, vice at worst and virtue at best, lead to the same end in poverty and overwork. It is true that the Board School mistress will tell you that only girls of a certain kind will reason in this way. But alas! that certain kind turns out on inquiry to be simply the pretty, dainty kind: that is, the only kind that gets the chance of acting on such reasoning. Read the first report of the Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes [Bluebook C 4402, 8d., 1889]; read the Report on Home Industries (sacred word, Home!) issued by the Women’s Industrial Council [Home Industries of Women in London, 1897, 1s., 12 Buckingham Street, W. C.]; and ask yourself whether, if the lot in life therein described were your lot in life, you would not prefer the lot of Cleopatra, of Theodora, of the Lady of the Camellias, of Mrs Tanqueray, of Zaza, of Iris. If you can go deep enough into things to be able to say no, how many ignorant half-starved girls will believe you are speaking sincerely? To them the lot of Iris is heavenly in comparison with their own. Yet our King, like his predecessors, says to the dramatist, “Thus, and thus only, shall you present Mrs Warren’s profession on the stage, or you shall starve. Witness Shaw, who told the untempting truth about it, and whom We, by the Grace of God, accordingly disallow and suppress, and do what in Us lies to silence.” Fortunately, Shaw cannot be silenced. “The harlot’s cry from street to street” is louder than the voices of all the kings. I am not dependent on the theatre, and cannot be starved into making my play a standing advertisement of the attractive side of Mrs Warren’s business. Here I must guard myself against a misunderstanding. It is not the fault of their authors that the long string of wanton’s tragedies, from Antony and Cleopatra to Iris, are snares to poor girls, and are objected to on that account by many earnest men and women who consider Mrs Warren’s Profession an excellent sermon. Mr Pinero is in no way bound to suppress the fact that his Iris is a person to be envied by millions of better women. If he made his play false to life by inventing fictitious disadvantages for her, he would be acting as unscrupulously as any tract writer. If society chooses to provide for its Irises better than for its working women, it must not expect honest playwrights to manufacture spurious evidence to save its credit. The mischief lies in the deliberate suppression of the other side of the case: the refusal to allow Mrs Warren to expose the drudgery and repulsiveness of plying for hire among coarse, tedious drunkards; the determination not to let the Parisian girl in Brieux’s Les Avaries come on the stage and drive into people’s minds what her diseases mean for her and for themselves. All that, says the King’s Reader in effect, is horrifying, loathsome. Precisely: what does he expect it to be? would he have us represent it as beautiful and gratifying? The answer to this question, I fear, must be a blunt Yes; for it seems impossible to root out of an Englishman’s mind the notion that vice is delightful, and that abstention from it is privation. At all events, as long as the tempting side of it is kept towards the public, and softened by plenty of sentiment and sympathy, it is welcomed by our Censor, whereas the slightest attempt to place it in the light of the policeman’s lantern or the Salvation Army shelter is checkmated at once as not merely disgusting, but, if you please, unnecessary. Everybody will, I hope, admit that this state of things is intolerable; that the subject of Mrs Warren’s profession must be either tapu altogether, or else exhibited with the warning side as freely displayed as the tempting side. But many persons will vote for a complete tapu, and an impartial sweep from the boards of Mrs Warren and Gretchen and the rest; in short, for banishing the sexual instincts from the stage altogether. Those who think this impossible can hardly have considered the number and importance of the subjects which are actually banished from the stage. Many plays, among them Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, have no sex complications: the thread of their action can be followed by children who could not understand a single scene of Mrs Warren’s Profession or Iris. None of our plays rouse the sympathy of the audience by an exhibition of the pains of maternity, as Chinese plays constantly do. Each nation has its own particular set of tapus in addition to the common human stock; and though each of these tapus limits the scope of the dramatist, it does not make drama impossible. If the Examiner were to refuse to license plays with female characters in them, he would only be doing to the stage what our tribal customs already do to the pulpit and the bar. I have myself written a rather entertaining play with only one woman in it, and she is quite heartwhole; and I could just as easily write a play without a woman in it at all. I will even go so far as to promise the Mr Redford my support if he will introduce this limitation for part of the year, say during Lent, so as to make a close season for that dullest of stock dramatic subjects, adultery, and force our managers and authors to find out what all great dramatists find out spontaneously: to wit, that people who sacrifice every other consideration to love are as hopelessly unheroic on the stage as lunatics or dipsomaniacs. Hector is the world’s hero; not Paris nor Antony. But though I do not question the possibility of a drama in which love should be as effectively ignored as cholera is at present, there is not the slightest chance of that way out of the difficulty being taken by the Mr Redford. If he attempted it there would be a revolt in which he would be swept away in spite of my singlehanded efforts to defend him. A complete tapu is politically impossible. A complete toleration is equally impossible to Mr Redford, because his occupation would be gone if there were no tapu to enforce. He is therefore compelled to maintain the present compromise of a partial tapu, applied, to the best of his judgement, with a careful respect to persons and to public opinion. And a very sensible English solution of the difficulty, too, most readers will say. I should not dispute it if dramatic poets really were what English public opinion generally assumes them to be during their lifetime: that is, a licentiously irregular group to be kept in order in a rough and ready way by a magistrate who will stand no nonsense from them. But I cannot admit that the class represented by Eschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Euripides, Shakespear, Goethe, Ibsen, and Tolstoy, not to mention our own contemporary playwrights, is as much in place in Mr Redford’s office as a pickpocket is in Bow Street. Further, it is not true that the Censorship, though it certainly suppresses Ibsen and Tolstoy, and would suppress Shakespear but for the absurd rule that a play once licensed is always licensed (so that Wycherly is permitted and Shelley prohibited), also suppresses unscrupulous playwrights. I challenge Mr Redford to mention any extremity of sexual misconduct which any manager in his senses would risk presenting on the London stage that has not been presented under his license and that of his predecessor. The compromise, in fact, works out in practice in favor of loose plays as against earnest ones. To carry conviction on this point, I will take the extreme course of narrating the plots of two plays witnessed within the last ten years by myself at London West End theatres, one licensed by the late Queen Victoria’s Reader of Plays, the other by the present Reader to the King. Both plots conform to the strictest rules of the period when La Dame aux Camellias was still a forbidden play, and when The Second Mrs Tanqueray would have been tolerated only on condition that she carefully explained to the audience that when she met Captain Ardale she sinned “but in intention.” Play number one. A prince is compelled by his parents to marry the daughter of a neighboring king, but loves another maiden. The scene represents a hall in the king’s palace at night. The wedding has taken place that day; and the closed door of the nuptial chamber is in view of the audience. Inside, the princess awaits her bridegroom. A duenna is in attendance. The bridegroom enters. His sole desire is to escape from a marriage which is hateful to him. An idea strikes him. He will assault the duenna, and get ignominiously expelled from the palace by his indignant father-in-law. To his horror, when he proceeds to carry out this stratagem, the duenna, far from raising an alarm, is flattered, delighted, and compliant. The assaulter becomes the assaulted. He flings her angrily to the ground, where she remains placidly. He flies. The father enters; dismisses the duenna; and listens at the keyhole of his daughter’s nuptial chamber, uttering various pleasantries, and declaring, with a shiver, that a sound of kissing, which he supposes to proceed from within, makes him feel young again. In deprecation of the scandalized astonishment with which such a story as this will be read, I can only say that it was not presented on the stage until its propriety had been certified by the chief officer of the Queen of England’s household. Story number two. A German officer finds himself in an inn with a French lady who has wounded his national vanity. He resolves to humble her by committing a rape upon her. He announces his purpose. She remonstrates, implores, flies to the doors and finds them locked, calls for help and finds none at hand, runs screaming from side to side, and, after a harrowing scene, is overpowered and faints. Nothing further being possible on the stage without actual felony, the officer then relents and leaves her. When she recovers, she believes that he has carried out his threat; and during the rest of the play she is represented as vainly vowing vengeance upon him, whilst she is really falling in love with him under the influence of his imaginary crime against her. Finally she consents to marry him; and the curtain falls on their happiness. This story was certified by the present King’s Reader, acting for the Lord Chamberlain, as void in its general tendency of “anything immoral or otherwise improper for the stage.” But let nobody conclude therefore that Mr Redford is a monster, whose policy it is to deprave the theatre. As a matter of fact, both the above stories are strictly in order from the official point of view. The incidents of sex which they contain, though carried in both to the extreme point at which another step would be dealt with, not by the King’s Reader, but by the police, do not involve adultery, nor any allusion to Mrs Warren’s profession, nor to the fact that the children of any polyandrous group will, when they grow up, inevitably be confronted, as those of Mrs Warren’s group are in my play, with the insoluble problem of their own possible consanguinity. In short, by depending wholly on the coarse humors and the physical fascination of sex, they comply with all the formulable requirements of the Censorship, whereas plays in which these humors and fascinations are discarded, and the social problems created by sex seriously faced and dealt with, inevitably ignore the official formula and are suppressed. If the old rule against the exhibition of illicit sex relations on stage were revived, and the subject absolutely barred, the only result would be that Antony and Cleopatra, Othello (because of the Bianca episode), Troilus and Cressida, Henry IV, Measure for Measure, Timon of Athens, La Dame aux Camellias, The Profligate, The Second Mrs Tanqueray, The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith, The Gay Lord Quex, Mrs Dane’s Defence, and Iris would be swept from the stage, and placed under the same ban as Tolstoy’s Dominion of Darkness and Mrs Warren’s Profession, whilst such plays as the two described above would have a monopoly of the theatre as far as sexual interest is concerned. What is more, the repulsiveness of the worst of the certified plays would protect the Censorship against effective exposure and criticism. Not long ago an American Review of high standing asked me for an article on the Censorship of the English stage. I replied that such an article would involve passages too disagreeable for publication in a magazine for general family reading. The editor persisted nevertheless; but not until he had declared his readiness to face this, and had pledged himself to insert the article unaltered (the particularity of the pledge extending even to a specification of the exact number of words in the article) did I consent to the proposal. What was the result? The editor, confronted with the two stories given above, threw his pledge to the winds, and, instead of returning the article, printed it with the illustrative examples omitted, and nothing left but the argument from political principles against the Censorship. In doing this he fired my broadside after withdrawing the cannon balls; for neither the Censor nor any other Englishman, except perhaps Mr Leslie Stephen and a few other veterans of the dwindling old guard of Benthamism, cares a dump about political principle. The ordinary Briton thinks that if every other Briton is not kept under some form of tutelage, the more childish the better, he will abuse his freedom viciously. As far as its principle is concerned, the Censorship is the most popular institution in England; and the playwright who criticizes it is slighted as a blackguard agitating for impunity. Consequently nothing can really shake the confidence of the public in the Lord Chamberlain’s department except a remorseless and unbowdlerized narration of the licentious fictions which slip through its net, and are hallmarked by it with the approval of the Throne. But since these narrations cannot be made public without great difficulty, owing to the obligation an editor is under not to deal unexpectedly with matters that are not virginibus puerisque, the chances are heavily in favor of the Censor escaping all remonstrance. With the exception of such comments as I was able to make in my own critical articles in The World and The Saturday Review when the pieces I have described were first produced, and a few ignorant protests by churchmen against much better plays which they confessed they had not seen nor read, nothing has been said in the press that could seriously disturb the easygoing notion that the stage would be much worse than it admittedly is but for the vigilance of the King’s Reader. The truth is, that no manager would dare produce on his own responsibility the pieces he can now get royal certificates for at two guineas per piece. I hasten to add that I believe these evils to be inherent in the nature of all censorship, and not merely a consequence of the form the institution takes in London. No doubt there is a staggering absurdity in appointing an ordinary clerk to see that the leaders of European literature do not corrupt the morals of the nation, and to restrain Sir Henry Irving, as a rogue and a vagabond, from presuming to impersonate Samson or David on the stage, though any other sort of artist may daub these scriptural figures on a signboard or carve them on a tombstone without hindrance. If the General Medical Council, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Incorporated Law Society, and Convocation were abolished, and their functions handed over to the Mr Redford, the Concert of Europe would presumably declare England mad, and treat her accordingly. Yet, though neither medicine nor painting nor law nor the Church moulds the character of the nation as potently as the theatre does, nothing can come on the stage unless its dimensions admit of its passing through Mr Redford’s mind! Pray do not think that I question Mr Redford’s honesty. I am quite sure that he sincerely thinks me a blackguard, and my play a grossly improper one, because, like Tolstoy’s Dominion of Darkness, it produces, as they are both meant to produce, a very strong and very painful impression of evil. I do not doubt for a moment that the rapine play which I have described, and which he licensed, was quite incapable in manuscript of producing any particular effect on his mind at all, and that when he was once satisfied that the ill-conducted hero was a German and not an English officer, he passed the play without studying its moral tendencies. Even if he had undertaken that study, there is no more reason to suppose that he is a competent moralist than there is to suppose that I am a competent mathematician. But truly it does not matter whether he is a moralist or not. Let nobody dream for a moment that what is wrong with the Censorship is the shortcoming of the gentleman who happens at any moment to be acting as Censor. Replace him to-morrow by an Academy of Letters and an Academy of Dramatic Poetry, and the new and enlarged filter will still exclude original and epoch-making work, whilst passing conventional, old-fashioned, and vulgar work without question. The conclave which compiles the index of the Roman Catholic Church is the most august, ancient, learned, famous, and authoritative censorship in Europe. Is it more enlightened, more liberal, more tolerant that the comparatively infinitesimal office of the Lord Chamberlain? On the contrary, it has reduced itself to a degree of absurdity which makes a Catholic university a contradiction in terms. All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current concepts, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships. There is the whole case against censorships in a nutshell. It will be asked whether theatrical managers are to be allowed to produce what they like, without regard to the public interest. But that is not the alternative. The managers of our London music-halls are not subject to any censorship. They produce their entertainments on their own responsibility, and have no two-guinea certificates to plead if their houses are conducted viciously. They know that if they lose their character, the County Council will simply refuse to renew their license at the end of the year; and nothing in the history of popular art is more amazing than the improvement in music-halls that this simple arrangement has produced within a few years. Place the theatres on the same footing, and we shall promptly have a similar revolution: a whole class of frankly blackguardly plays, in which unscrupulous low comedians attract crowds to gaze at bevies of girls who have nothing to exhibit but their prettiness, will vanish like the obscene songs which were supposed to enliven the squalid dulness, incredible to the younger generation, of the music-halls fifteen years ago. On the other hand, plays which treat sex questions as problems for thought instead of as aphrodisiacs will be freely performed. Gentlemen of Mr Redford’s way of thinking will have plenty of opportunity of protesting against them in Council; but the result will be that the Mr Redford will find his natural level; Ibsen and Tolstoy theirs; so no harm will be done. This question of the Censorship reminds me that I have to apologize to those who went to the recent performance of Mrs Warren’s Profession expecting to find it what I have just called an aphrodisiac. That was not my fault; it was Mr Redford’s. After the specimens I have given of the tolerance of his department, it was natural enough for thoughtless people to infer that a play which overstepped his indulgence must be a very exciting play indeed. Accordingly, I find one critic so explicit as to the nature of his disappointment as to say candidly that “such airy talk as there is upon the matter is utterly unworthy of acceptance as being a representation of what people with blood in them think or do on such occasions.” Thus am I crushed between the upper millstone of the Mr Redford, who thinks me a libertine, and the nether popular critic, who thinks me a prude. Critics of all grades and ages, middle-aged fathers of families no less than ardent young enthusiasts, are equally indignant with me. They revile me as lacking in passion, in feeling, in manhood. Some of them even sum the matter up by denying me any dramatic power: a melancholy betrayal of what dramatic power has come to mean on our stage under the Censorship! Can I be expected to refrain from laughing at the spectacle of a number of respectable gentlemen lamenting because a playwright lures them to the theatre by a promise to excite their senses in a very special and sensational manner, and then, having successfully trapped them in exceptional numbers, proceeds to ignore their senses and ruthlessly improve their minds? But I protest again that the lure was not mine. The play had been in print for four years; and I have spared no pains to make known that my plays are built to induce, not voluptuous reverie but intellectual interest, not romantic rhapsody but humane concern. Accordingly, I do not find those critics who are gifted with intellectual appetite and political conscience complaining of want of dramatic power. Rather do they protest, not altogether unjustly, against a few relapses into staginess and caricature which betray the young playwright and the old playgoer in this early work of mine. As to the voluptuaries, I can assure them that the playwright, whether he be myself or another, will always disappoint them. The drama can do little to delight the senses: all the apparent instances to the contrary are instances of the personal fascination of the performers. The drama of pure feeling is no longer in the hands of the playwright: it has been conquered by the musician, after whose enchantments all the verbal arts seem cold and tame. Romeo and Juliet with the loveliest Juliet is dry, tedious, and rhetorical in comparison with Wagner’s Tristan, even though Isolde be both fourteen stone and forty, as she often is in Germany. Indeed, it needed no Wagner to convince the public of this. The voluptuous sentimentality of Gounod’s Faust and Bizet’s Carmen has captured the common playgoer; and there is, flatly, no future now for any drama without music except the drama of thought. The attempt to produce a genus of opera without music (and this absurdity is what our fashionable theatres have been driving at for a long time without knowing it) is far less hopeful than my own determination to accept problem as the normal materiel of the drama. That this determination will throw me into a long conflict with our theatre critics, and with the few playgoers who go to the theatre as often as the critics, I well know; but I am too well equipped for the strife to be deterred by it, or to bear malice towards the losing side. In trying to produce the sensuous effects of opera, the fashionable drama has become so flaccid in its sentimentality, and the intellect of its frequenters so atrophied by disuse, that the reintroduction of problem, with its remorseless logic and iron framework of fact, inevitably produces at first an overwhelming impression of coldness and inhuman rationalism. But this will soon pass away. When the intellectual muscle and moral nerve of the critics has been developed in the struggle with modern problem plays, the pettish luxuriousness of the clever ones, and the sulky sense of disadvantaged weakness in the sentimental ones, will clear away; and it will be seen that only in the problem play is there any real drama, because drama is no mere setting up of the camera to nature: it is the presentation in parable of the conflict between Man’s will and his environment: in a word, of problem. The vapidness of such drama as the pseudo-operatic plays contain lies in the fact that in them animal passion, sentimentally diluted, is shewn in conflict, not with real circumstances, but with a set of conventions and assumptions half of which do not exist off the stage, whilst the other half can either be evaded by a pretence of compliance or defied with complete impunity by any reasonably strong-minded person. Nobody can feel that such conventions are really compulsory; and consequently nobody can believe in the stage pathos that accepts them as an inexorable fate, or in the genuineness of the people who indulge in such pathos. Sitting at such plays, we do not believe: we make-believe. And the habit of make-believe becomes at last so rooted that criticism of the theatre insensibly ceases to be criticism at all, and becomes more and more a chronicle of the fashionable enterprises of the only realities left on the stage: that is, the performers in their own persons. In this phase the playwright who attempts to revive genuine drama produces the disagreeable impression of the pedant who attempts to start a serious discussion at a fashionable at-home. Later on, when he has driven the tea services out and made the people who had come to use the theatre as a drawing-room understand that it is they and not the dramatist who are the intruders, he has to face the accusation that his plays ignore human feeling, an illusion produced by that very resistance of fact and law to human feeling which creates drama. It is the deus ex machina who, by suspending that resistance, makes the fall of the curtain an immediate necessity, since drama ends exactly where resistance ends. Yet the introduction of this resistance produces so strong an impression of heartlessness nowadays that a distinguished critic has summed up the impression made on him by Mrs Warren’s Profession, by declaring that “the difference between the spirit of Tolstoy and the spirit of Mr Shaw is the difference between the spirit of Christ and the spirit of Euclid.” But the epigram would be as good if Tolstoy’s name were put in place of mine and D’Annunzio’s in place of Tolstoy. At the same time I accept the enormous compliment to my reasoning powers with sincere complacency; and I promise my flatterer that when he is sufficiently accustomed to and therefore undazzled by problem on the stage to be able to attend to the familiar factor of humanity in it as well as to the unfamiliar one of a real environment, he will both see and feel that Mrs Warren’s Profession is no mere theorem, but a play of instincts and temperaments in conflict with each other and with a flinty social problem that never yields an inch to mere sentiment. I go further than this. I declare that the real secret of the cynicism and inhumanity of which shallower critics accuse me is the unexpectedness with which my characters behave like human beings, instead of conforming to the romantic logic of the stage. The axioms and postulates of that dreary mimanthropometry are so well known that it is almost impossible for its slaves to write tolerable last acts to their plays, so conventionally do their conclusions follow from their premises. Because I have thrown this logic ruthlessly overboard, I am accused of ignoring, not stage logic, but, of all things, human feeling. People with completely theatrified imaginations tell me that no girl would treat her mother as Vivie Warren does, meaning that no stage heroine would in a popular sentimental play. They say this just as they might say that no two straight lines would enclose a space. They do not see how completely inverted their vision has become even when I throw its preposterousness in their faces, as I repeatedly do in this very play. Praed, the sentimental artist (fool that I was not to make him a theatre critic instead of an architect!) burlesques them by expecting all through the piece that the feelings of others will be logically deducible from their family relationships and from his “conventionally unconventional” social code. The sarcasm is lost on the critics: they, saturated with the same logic, only think him the sole sensible person on the stage. Thus it comes about that the more completely the dramatist is emancipated from the illusion that men and women are primarily reasonable beings, and the more powerfully he insists on the ruthless indifference of their great dramatic antagonist, the external world, to their whims and emotions, the surer he is to be denounced as blind to the very distinction on which his whole work is built. Far from ignoring idiosyncrasy, will, passion, impulse, whim, as factors in human action, I have placed them so nakedly on the stage that the elderly citizen, accustomed to see them clothed with the veil of manufactured logic about duty, and to disguise even his own impulses from himself in this way, finds the picture as unnatural as Carlyle’s suggested painting of parliament sitting without its clothes. I now come to those critics who, intellectually baffled by the problem in Mrs Warren’s Profession, have made a virtue of running away from it. I will illustrate their method by quotation from Dickens, taken from the fifth chapter of Our Mutual Friend: “Hem!” began Wegg. “This, Mr Boffin and Lady, is the first chapter of the first wollume of the Decline and Fall off——” here he looked hard at the book, and stopped. “What’s the matter, Wegg?” “Why, it comes into my mind, do you know, sir,” said Wegg with an air of insinuating frankness (having first again looked hard at the book), “that you made a little mistake this morning, which I had meant to set you right in; only something put it out of my head. I think you said Rooshan Empire, sir?” “It is Rooshan; ain’t it, Wegg?” “No, sir. Roman. Roman.” “What’s the difference, Wegg?” “The difference, sir?” Mr Wegg was faltering and in danger of breaking down, when a bright thought flashed upon him. “The difference, sir? There you place me in a difficulty, Mr Boffin. Suffice it to observe, that the difference is best postponed to some other occasion when Mrs Boffin does not honor us with her company. In Mrs Boffin’s presence, sir, we had better drop it.” Mr Wegg thus came out of his disadvantage with quite a chivalrous air, and not only that, but by dint of repeating with a manly delicacy, “In Mrs Boffin’s presence, sir, we had better drop it!” turned the disadvantage on Boffin, who felt that he had committed himself in a very painful manner. I am willing to let Mr Wegg drop it on these terms, provided I am allowed to mention here that Mrs Warren’s Profession is a play for women; that it was written for women; that it has been performed and produced mainly through the determination of women that it should be performed and produced; that the enthusiasm of women made its first performance excitingly successful; and that not one of these women had any inducement to support it except their belief in the timeliness and the power of the lesson the play teaches. Those who were “surprised to see ladies present” were men; and when they proceeded to explain that the journals they represented could not possibly demoralize the public by describing such a play, their editors cruelly devoted the space saved by their delicacy to an elaborate and respectful account of the progress of a young lord’s attempt to break the bank at Monte Carlo. A few days sooner Mrs Warren would have been crowded out of their papers by an exceptionally abominable police case. I do not suggest that the police case should have been suppressed; but neither do I believe that regard for public morality had anything to do with their failure to grapple with the performance by the Stage Society. And, after all, there was no need to fall back on Silas Wegg’s subterfuge. Several critics saved the faces of their papers easily enough by the simple expedient of saying all they had to say in the tone of a shocked governess lecturing a naughty child. To them I might plead, in Mrs Warren’s words, “Well, it’s only good manners to be ashamed, dearie;” but it surprises me, recollecting as I do the effect produced by Miss Fanny Brough’s delivery of that line, that gentlemen who shivered like violets in a zephyr as it swept through them, should so completely miss the full width of its application as to go home and straightway make a public exhibition of mock modesty. My old Independent Theatre manager, Mr Grein, besides that reproach to me for shattering his ideals, complains that Mrs Warren is not wicked enough, and names several romancers who would have clothed her black soul with all the terrors of tragedy. I have no doubt they would; but if you please, my dear Grein, that is just what I did not want to do. Nothing would please our sanctimonious British public more than to throw the whole guilt of Mrs Warren’s profession on Mrs Warren herself. Now the whole aim of my play is to throw that guilt on the British public itself. You may remember that when you produced my first play, Widowers’ Houses, exactly the same misunderstanding arose. When the virtuous young gentleman rose up in wrath against the slum landlord, the slum landlord very effectively shewed him that slums are the product, not of individual Harpagons, but of the indifference of virtuous young gentlemen to the condition of the city they live in, provided they live at the west end of it on money earned by someone else’s labor. The notion that prostitution is created by the wickedness of Mrs Warren is as silly as the notion—prevalent, nevertheless, to some extent in Temperance circles—that drunkenness is created by the wickedness of the publican. Mrs Warren is not a whit a worse woman than the reputable daughter who cannot endure her. Her indifference to the ultimate social consequences of her means of making money, and her discovery of that means by the ordinary method of taking the line of least resistance to getting it, are too common in English society to call for any special remark. Her vitality, her thrift, her energy, her outspokenness, her wise care of her daughter, and the managing capacity which has enabled her and her sister to climb from the fried fish shop down by the Mint to the establishments of which she boasts, are all high English social virtues. Her defence of herself is so overwhelming that it provokes the St James Gazette to declare that “the tendency of the play is wholly evil” because “it contains one of the boldest and most specious defences of an immoral life for poor women that has ever been penned.” Happily the St James Gazette here speaks in its haste. Mrs Warren’s defence of herself is not only bold and specious, but valid and unanswerable. But it is no defence at all of the vice which she organizes. It is no defence of an immoral life to say that the alternative offered by society collectively to poor women is a miserable life, starved, overworked, fetid, ailing, ugly. Though it is quite natural and RIGHT for Mrs Warren to choose what is, according to her lights, the least immoral alternative, it is none the less infamous of society to offer such alternatives. For the alternatives offered are not morality and immorality, but two sorts of immorality. The man who cannot see that starvation, overwork, dirt, and disease are as anti-social as prostitution—that they are the vices and crimes of a nation, and not merely its misfortunes—is (to put it as politely as possible) a hopelessly Private Person. The notion that Mrs Warren must be a fiend is only an example of the violence and passion which the slightest reference to sex arouses in undisciplined minds, and which makes it seem natural for our lawgivers to punish silly and negligible indecencies with a ferocity unknown in dealing with, for example, ruinous financial swindling. Had my play been titled Mr Warren’s Profession, and Mr Warren been a bookmaker, nobody would have expected me to make him a villain as well. Yet gambling is a vice, and bookmaking an institution, for which there is absolutely nothing to be said. The moral and economic evil done by trying to get other people’s money without working for it (and this is the essence of gambling) is not only enormous but uncompensated. There are no two sides to the question of gambling, no circumstances which force us to tolerate it lest its suppression lead to worse things, no consensus of opinion among responsible classes, such as magistrates and military commanders, that it is a necessity, no Athenian records of gambling made splendid by the talents of its professors, no contention that instead of violating morals it only violates a legal institution which is in many respects oppressive and unnatural, no possible plea that the instinct on which it is founded is a vital one. Prostitution can confuse the issue with all these excuses: gambling has none of them. Consequently, if Mrs Warren must needs be a demon, a bookmaker must be a cacodemon. Well, does anybody who knows the sporting world really believe that bookmakers are worse than their neighbors? On the contrary, they have to be a good deal better; for in that world nearly everybody whose social rank does not exclude such an occupation would be a bookmaker if he could; but the strength of character for handling large sums of money and for strict settlements and unflinching payment of losses is so rare that successful bookmakers are rare too. It may seem that at least public spirit cannot be one of a bookmaker’s virtues; but I can testify from personal experience that excellent public work is done with money subscribed by bookmakers. It is true that there are abysses in bookmaking: for example, welshing. Mr Grein hints that there are abysses in Mrs Warren’s profession also. So there are in every profession: the error lies in supposing that every member of them sounds these depths. I sit on a public body which prosecutes Mrs Warren zealously; and I can assure Mr Grein that she is often leniently dealt with because she has conducted her business “respectably” and held herself above its vilest branches. The degrees in infamy are as numerous and as scrupulously observed as the degrees in the peerage: the moralist’s notion that there are depths at which the moral atmosphere ceases is as delusive as the rich man’s notion that there are no social jealousies or snobberies among the very poor. No: had I drawn Mrs Warren as a fiend in human form, the very people who now rebuke me for flattering her would probably be the first to deride me for deducing her character logically from occupation instead of observing it accurately in society. One critic is so enslaved by this sort of logic that he calls my portraiture of the Reverend Samuel Gardner an attack on religion. According to this view Subaltern Iago is an attack on the army, Sir John Falstaff an attack on knighthood, and King Claudius an attack on royalty. Here again the clamor for naturalness and human feeling, raised by so many critics when they are confronted by the real thing on the stage, is really a clamor for the most mechanical and superficial sort of logic. The dramatic reason for making the clergyman what Mrs Warren calls “an old stick-in-the-mud,” whose son, in spite of much capacity and charm, is a cynically worthless member of society, is to set up a mordant contrast between him and the woman of infamous profession, with her well brought-up, straightforward, hardworking daughter. The critics who have missed the contrast have doubtless observed often enough that many clergymen are in the Church through no genuine calling, but simply because, in circles which can command preferment, it is the refuge of “the fool of the family”; and that clergymen’s sons are often conspicuous reactionists against the restraints imposed on them in childhood by their father’s profession. These critics must know, too, from history if not from experience, that women as unscrupulous as Mrs Warren have distinguished themselves as administrators and rulers, both commercially and politically. But both observation and knowledge are left behind when journalists go to the theatre. Once in their stalls, they assume that it is “natural” for clergymen to be saintly, for soldiers to be heroic, for lawyers to be hard-hearted, for sailors to be simple and generous, for doctors to perform miracles with little bottles, and for Mrs Warren to be a beast and a demon. All this is not only not natural, but not dramatic. A man’s profession only enters into the drama of his life when it comes into conflict with his nature. The result of this conflict is tragic in Mrs Warren’s case, and comic in the clergyman’s case (at least we are savage enough to laugh at it); but in both cases it is illogical, and in both cases natural. I repeat, the critics who accuse me of sacrificing nature to logic are so sophisticated by their profession that to them logic is nature, and nature absurdity. Many friendly critics are too little skilled in social questions and moral discussions to be able to conceive that respectable gentlemen like themselves, who would instantly call the police to remove Mrs Warren if she ventured to canvass them personally, could possibly be in any way responsible for her proceedings. They remonstrate sincerely, asking me what good such painful exposures can possibly do. They might as well ask what good Lord Shaftesbury did by devoting his life to the exposure of evils (by no means yet remedied) compared to which the worst things brought into view or even into surmise by this play are trifles. The good of mentioning them is that you make people so extremely uncomfortable about them that they finally stop blaming “human nature” for them, and begin to support measures for their reform. Can anything be more absurd than the copy of The Echo which contains a notice of the performance of my play? It is edited by a gentleman who, having devoted his life to work of the Shaftesbury type, exposes social evils and clamors for their reform in every column except one; and that one is occupied by the declaration of the paper’s kindly theatre critic, that the performance left him “wondering what useful purpose the play was intended to serve.” The balance has to be redressed by the more fashionable papers, which usually combine capable art criticism with West-End solecism on politics and sociology. It is very noteworthy, however, on comparing the press explosion produced by Mrs Warren’s Profession in 1902 with that produced by Widowers’ Houses about ten years earlier, that whereas in 1892 the facts were frantically denied and the persons of the drama flouted as monsters of wickedness, in 1902 the facts are admitted and the characters recognized, though it is suggested that this is exactly why no gentleman should mention them in public. Only one writer has ventured to imply this time that the poverty mentioned by Mrs Warren has since been quietly relieved, and need not have been dragged back to the footlights. I compliment him on his splendid mendacity, in which he is unsupported, save by a little plea in a theatrical paper which is innocent enough to think that ten guineas a year with board and lodging is an impossibly low wage for a barmaid. It goes on to cite Mr Charles Booth as having testified that there are many laborers’ wives who are happy and contented on eighteen shillings a week. But I can go further than that myself. I have seen an Oxford agricultural laborer’s wife looking cheerful on eight shillings a week; but that does not console me for the fact that agriculture in England is a ruined industry. If poverty does not matter as long as it is contented, then crime does not matter as long as it is unscrupulous. The truth is that it is only then that it does matter most desperately. Many persons are more comfortable when they are dirty than when they are clean; but that does not recommend dirt as a national policy. Here I must for the present break off my arduous work of educating the Press. We shall resume our studies later on; but just now I am tired of playing the preceptor; and the eager thirst of my pupils for improvement does not console me for the slowness of their progress. Besides, I must reserve space to gratify my own vanity and do justice to the six artists who acted my play, by placing on record the hitherto unchronicled success of the first representation. It is not often that an author, after a couple of hours of those rare alternations of excitement and intensely attentive silence which only occur in the theatre when actors and audience are reacting on one another to the utmost, is able to step on the stage and apply the strong word genius to the representation with the certainty of eliciting an instant and overwhelming assent from the audience. That was my good fortune on the afternoon of Sunday, the fifth of January last. I was certainly extremely fortunate in my interpreters in the enterprise, and that not alone in respect of their artistic talent; for had it not been for their superhuman patience, their imperturbable good humor and good fellowship, there could have been no performance. The terror of the Censor’s power gave us trouble enough to break up any ordinary commercial enterprise. Managers promised and even engaged their theatres to us after the most explicit warnings that the play was unlicensed, and at the last moment suddenly realized that Mr Redford had their livelihoods in the hollow of his hand, and backed out. Over and over again the date and place were fixed and the tickets printed, only to be canceled, until at last the desperate and overworked manager of the Stage Society could only laugh, as criminals broken on the wheel used to laugh at the second stroke. We rehearsed under great difficulties. Christmas pieces and plays for the new year were being produced in all directions; and my six actor colleagues were busy people, with engagements in these pieces in addition to their current professional work every night. On several raw winter days stages for rehearsal were unattainable even by the most distinguished applicants; and we shared corridors and saloons with them whilst the stage was given over to children in training for Boxing night. At last we had to rehearse at an hour at which no actor or actress has been out of bed within the memory of man; and we sardonically congratulated one another every morning on our rosy matutinal looks and the improvement wrought by our early rising in our health and characters. And all this, please observe, for a society without treasury or commercial prestige, for a play which was being denounced in advance as unmentionable, for an author without influence at the fashionable theatres! I victoriously challenge the West End managers to get as much done for interested motives, if they can. Three causes made the production the most notable that has fallen to my lot. First, the veto of the Censor, which put the supporters of the play on their mettle. Second, the chivalry of the Stage Society, which, in spite of my urgent advice to the contrary, and my demonstration of the difficulties, dangers, and expenses the enterprise would cost, put my discouragements to shame and resolved to give battle at all costs to the attempt of the Censorship to suppress the play. Third, the artistic spirit of the actors, who made the play their own and carried it through triumphantly in spite of a series of disappointments and annoyances much more trying to the dramatic temperament than mere difficulties. The acting, too, required courage and character as well as skill and intelligence. The veto of the Censor introduced quite a novel element of moral responsibility into the undertaking. And the characters were very unusual on the English stage. The younger heroine is, like her mother, an Englishwoman to the backbone, and not, like the heroines of our fashionable drama, a prima donna of Italian origin. Consequently she was sure to be denounced as unnatural and undramatic by the critics. The most vicious man in the play is not in the least a stage villain; indeed, he regards his own moral character with the sincere complacency of a hero of melodrama. The amiable devotee of romance and beauty is shewn at an age which brings out the futilization which these worships are apt to produce if they are made the staple of life instead of the sauce. The attitude of the clever young people to their elders is faithfully represented as one of pitiless ridicule and unsympathetic criticism, and forms a spectacle incredible to those who, when young, were not cleverer than their nearest elders, and painful to those sentimental parents who shrink from the cruelty of youth, which pardons nothing because it knows nothing. In short, the characters and their relations are of a kind that the routineer critic has not yet learned to place; so that their misunderstanding was a foregone conclusion. Nevertheless, there was no hesitation behind the curtain. When it went up at last, a stage much too small for the company was revealed to an auditorium much too small for the audience. But the players, though it was impossible for them to forget their own discomfort, at once made the spectators forget theirs. It certainly was a model audience, responsive from the first line to the last; and it got no less than it deserved in return. I grieve to add that the second performance, given for the edification of the London Press and of those members of the Stage Society who cannot attend the Sunday performances, was a less inspiriting one than the first. A solid phalanx of theatre-weary journalists in an afternoon humor, most of them committed to irreconcilable disparagement of problem plays, and all of them bound by etiquette to be as undemonstrative as possible, is not exactly the sort of audience that rises at the performers and cures them of the inevitable reaction after an excitingly successful first night. The artist nature is a sensitive and therefore a vindictive one; and masterful players have a way with recalcitrant audiences of rubbing a play into them instead of delighting them with it. I should describe the second performance of Mrs Warren’s Profession, especially as to its earlier stages, as decidedly a rubbed-in one. The rubbing was no doubt salutary; but it must have hurt some of the thinner skins. The charm of the lighter passages fled; and the strong scenes, though they again carried everything before them, yet discharged that duty in a grim fashion, doing execution on the enemy rather than moving them to repentance and confession. Still, to those who had not seen the first performance, the effect was sufficiently impressive; and they had the advantage of witnessing a fresh development in Mrs Warren, who, artistically jealous, as I took it, of the overwhelming effect of the end of the second act on the previous day, threw herself into the fourth act in quite a new way, and achieved the apparently impossible feat of surpassing herself. The compliments paid to Miss Fanny Brough by the critics, eulogistic as they are, are the compliments of men three-fourths duped as Partridge was duped by Garrick. By much of her acting they were so completely taken in that they did not recognize it as acting at all. Indeed, none of the six players quite escaped this consequence of their own thoroughness. There was a distinct tendency among the less experienced critics to complain of their sentiments and behavior. Naturally, the author does not share that grievance. PICCARD’S COTTAGE, JANUARY 1902. MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION [Mrs Warren’s Profession was performed for the first time in the theatre of the New Lyric Club, London, on the 5th and 6th January 1902, with Madge McIntosh as Vivie, Julius Knight as Praed, Fanny Brough as Mrs Warren, Charles Goodhart as Crofts, Harley Granville-Barker as Frank, and Cosmo Stuart as the Reverend Samuel Gardner.] ACT I [Summer afternoon in a cottage garden on the eastern slope of a hill a little south of Haslemere in Surrey. Looking up the hill, the cottage is seen in the left hand corner of the garden, with its thatched roof and porch, and a large latticed window to the left of the porch. A paling completely shuts in the garden, except for a gate on the right. The common rises uphill beyond the paling to the sky line. Some folded canvas garden chairs are leaning against the side bench in the porch. A lady’s bicycle is propped against the wall, under the window. A little to the right of the porch a hammock is slung from two posts. A big canvas umbrella, stuck in the ground, keeps the sun off the hammock, in which a young lady is reading and making notes, her head towards the cottage and her feet towards the gate. In front of the hammock, and within reach of her hand, is a common kitchen chair, with a pile of serious-looking books and a supply of writing paper on it.] [A gentleman walking on the common comes into sight from behind the cottage. He is hardly past middle age, with something of the artist about him, unconventionally but carefully dressed, and clean-shaven except for a moustache, with an eager susceptible face and very amiable and considerate manners. He has silky black hair, with waves of grey and white in it. His eyebrows are white, his moustache black. He seems not certain of his way. He looks over the palings; takes stock of the place; and sees the young lady.] THE GENTLEMAN [taking off his hat] I beg your pardon. Can you direct me to Hindhead View—Mrs Alison’s? THE YOUNG LADY [glancing up from her book] This is Mrs Alison’s. [She resumes her work]. THE GENTLEMAN. Indeed! Perhaps—may I ask are you Miss Vivie Warren? THE YOUNG LADY [sharply, as she turns on her elbow to get a good look at him] Yes. THE GENTLEMAN [daunted and conciliatory] I’m afraid I appear intrusive. My name is Praed. [Vivie at once throws her books upon the chair, and gets out of the hammock]. Oh, pray don’t let me disturb you. VIVIE [striding to the gate and opening it for him] Come in, Mr Praed. [He comes in]. Glad to see you. [She proffers her hand and takes his with a resolute and hearty grip. She is an attractive specimen of the sensible, able, highly-educated young middle-class Englishwoman. Age 22. Prompt, strong, confident, self-possessed. Plain business-like dress, but not dowdy. She wears a chatelaine at her belt, with a fountain pen and a paper knife among its pendants]. PRAED. Very kind of you indeed, Miss Warren. [She shuts the gate with a vigorous slam. He passes in to the middle of the garden, exercising his fingers, which are slightly numbed by her greeting]. Has your mother arrived? VIVIE [quickly, evidently scenting aggression] Is she coming? PRAED [surprised] Didn’t you expect us? VIVIE. No. PRAED. Now, goodness me, I hope I’ve not mistaken the day. That would be just like me, you know. Your mother arranged that she was to come down from London and that I was to come over from Horsham to be introduced to you. VIVIE [not at all pleased] Did she? Hm! My mother has rather a trick of taking me by surprise—to see how I behave myself while she’s away, I suppose. I fancy I shall take my mother very much by surprise one of these days, if she makes arrangements that concern me without consulting me beforehand. She hasnt come. PRAED [embarrassed] I’m really very sorry. VIVIE [throwing off her displeasure] It’s not your fault, Mr Praed, is it? And I’m very glad you’ve come. You are the only one of my mother’s friends I have ever asked her to bring to see me. PRAED [relieved and delighted] Oh, now this is really very good of you, Miss Warren! VIVIE. Will you come indoors; or would you rather sit out here and talk? PRAED. It will be nicer out here, don’t you think? VIVIE. Then I’ll go and get you a chair. [She goes to the porch for a garden chair]. PRAED [following her] Oh, pray, pray! Allow me. [He lays hands on the chair]. VIVIE [letting him take it] Take care of your fingers; theyre rather dodgy things, those chairs. [She goes across to the chair with the books on it; pitches them into the hammock; and brings the chair forward with one swing]. PRAED [who has just unfolded his chair] Oh, now do let me take that hard chair. I like hard chairs. VIVIE. So do I. Sit down, Mr Praed. [This invitation she gives with a genial peremptoriness, his anxiety to please her clearly striking her as a sign of weakness of character on his part. But he does not immediately obey]. PRAED. By the way, though, hadnt we better go to the station to meet your mother? VIVIE [coolly] Why? She knows the way. PRAED [disconcerted] Er—I suppose she does [he sits down]. VIVIE. Do you know, you are just like what I expected. I hope you are disposed to be friends with me. PRAED [again beaming] Thank you, my dear Miss Warren; thank you. Dear me! I’m so glad your mother hasnt spoilt you! VIVIE. How? PRAED. Well, in making you too conventional. You know, my dear Miss Warren, I am a born anarchist. I hate authority. It spoils the relations between parent and child; even between mother and daughter. Now I was always afraid that your mother would strain her authority to make you very conventional. It’s such a relief to find that she hasnt. VIVIE. Oh! have I been behaving unconventionally? PRAED. Oh no: oh dear no. At least, not conventionally unconventionally, you understand. [She nods and sits down. He goes on, with a cordial outburst] But it was so charming of you to say that you were disposed to be friends with me! You modern young ladies are splendid: perfectly splendid! VIVIE [dubiously] Eh? [watching him with dawning disappointment as to the quality of his brains and character]. PRAED. When I was your age, young men and women were afraid of each other: there was no good fellowship. Nothing real. Only gallantry copied out of novels, and as vulgar and affected as it could be. Maidenly reserve! gentlemanly chivalry! always saying no when you meant yes! simple purgatory for shy and sincere souls. VIVIE. Yes, I imagine there must have been a frightful waste of time. Especially women’s time. PRAED. Oh, waste of life, waste of everything. But things are improving. Do you know, I have been in a positive state of excitement about meeting you ever since your magnificent achievements at Cambridge: a thing unheard of in my day. It was perfectly splendid, your tieing with the third wrangler. Just the right place, you know. The first wrangler is always a dreamy, morbid fellow, in whom the thing is pushed to the length of a disease. VIVIE. It doesn’t pay. I wouldn’t do it again for the same money. PRAED [aghast] The same money! VIVIE. Yes. Fifty pounds. Perhaps you don’t know how it was. Mrs Latham, my tutor at Newnham, told my mother that I could distinguish myself in the mathematical tripos if I went in for it in earnest. The papers were full just then of Phillipa Summers beating the senior wrangler. You remember about it, of course. PRAED [shakes his head energetically] !!! VIVIE. Well, anyhow, she did; and nothing would please my mother but that I should do the same thing. I said flatly that it was not worth my while to face the grind since I was not going in for teaching; but I offered to try for fourth wrangler or thereabouts for fifty pounds. She closed with me at that, after a little grumbling; and I was better than my bargain. But I wouldn’t do it again for that. Two hundred pounds would have been nearer the mark. PRAED [much damped] Lord bless me! Thats a very practical way of looking at it. VIVIE. Did you expect to find me an unpractical person? PRAED. But surely it’s practical to consider not only the work these honors cost, but also the culture they bring. VIVIE. Culture! My dear Mr Praed: do you know what the mathematical tripos means? It means grind, grind, grind for six to eight hours a day at mathematics, and nothing but mathematics. I’m supposed to know something about science; but I know nothing except the mathematics it involves. I can make calculations for engineers, electricians, insurance companies, and so on; but I know next to nothing about engineering or electricity or insurance. I don’t even know arithmetic well. Outside mathematics, lawn-tennis, eating, sleeping, cycling, and walking, I’m a more ignorant barbarian than any woman could possibly be who hadn’t gone in for the tripos. PRAED [revolted] What a monstrous, wicked, rascally system! I knew it! I felt at once that it meant destroying all that makes womanhood beautiful! VIVIE. I don’t object to it on that score in the least. I shall turn it to very good account, I assure you. PRAED. Pooh! In what way? VIVIE. I shall set up chambers in the City, and work at actuarial calculations and conveyancing. Under cover of that I shall do some law, with one eye on the Stock Exchange all the time. I’ve come down here by myself to read law: not for a holiday, as my mother imagines. I hate holidays. PRAED. You make my blood run cold. Are you to have no romance, no beauty in your life? VIVIE. I don’t care for either, I assure you. PRAED. You can’t mean that. VIVIE. Oh yes I do. I like working and getting paid for it. When I’m tired of working, I like a comfortable chair, a cigar, a little whisky, and a novel with a good detective story in it. PRAED [rising in a frenzy of repudiation] I don’t believe it. I am an artist; and I can’t believe it: I refuse to believe it. It’s only that you havn’t discovered yet what a wonderful world art can open up to you. VIVIE. Yes I have. Last May I spent six weeks in London with Honoria Fraser. Mamma thought we were doing a round of sightseeing together; but I was really at Honoria’s chambers in Chancery Lane every day, working away at actuarial calculations for her, and helping her as well as a greenhorn could. In the evenings we smoked and talked, and never dreamt of going out except for exercise. And I never enjoyed myself more in my life. I cleared all my expenses and got initiated into the business without a fee in the bargain. PRAED. But bless my heart and soul, Miss Warren, do you call that discovering art? VIVIE. Wait a bit. That wasn’t the beginning. I went up to town on an invitation from some artistic people in Fitzjohn’s Avenue: one of the girls was a Newnham chum. They took me to the National Gallery— PRAED [approving] Ah!! [He sits down, much relieved]. VIVIE [continuing]—to the Opera— PRAED [still more pleased] Good! VIVIE.—and to a concert where the band played all the evening: Beethoven and Wagner and so on. I wouldn’t go through that experience again for anything you could offer me. I held out for civility’s sake until the third day; and then I said, plump out, that I couldn’t stand any more of it, and went off to Chancery Lane. N o w you know the sort of perfectly splendid modern young lady I am. How do you think I shall get on with my mother? PRAED [startled] Well, I hope—er— VIVIE. It’s not so much what you hope as what you believe, that I want to know. PRAED. Well, frankly, I am afraid your mother will be a little disappointed. Not from any shortcoming on your part, you know: I don’t mean that. But you are so different from her ideal. VIVIE. Her what?! PRAED. Her ideal. VIVIE. Do you mean her ideal of ME? PRAED. Yes. VIVIE. What on earth is it like? PRAED. Well, you must have observed, Miss Warren, that people who are dissatisfied with their own bringing-up generally think that the world would be all right if everybody were to be brought up quite differently. Now your mother’s life has been—er—I suppose you know— VIVIE. Don’t suppose anything, Mr Praed. I hardly know my mother. Since I was a child I have lived in England, at school or at college, or with people paid to take charge of me. I have been boarded out all my life. My mother has lived in Brussels or Vienna and never let me go to her. I only see her when she visits England for a few days. I don’t complain: it’s been very pleasant; for people have been very good to me; and there has always been plenty of money to make things smooth. But don’t imagine I know anything about my mother. I know far less than you do. PRAED [very ill at ease] In that case—[He stops, quite at a loss. Then, with a forced attempt at gaiety] But what nonsense we are talking! Of course you and your mother will get on capitally. [He rises, and looks abroad at the view]. What a charming little place you have here! VIVIE [unmoved] Rather a violent change of subject, Mr Praed. Why won’t my mother’s life bear being talked about? PRAED. Oh, you mustn’t say that. Isn’t it natural that I should have a certain delicacy in talking to my old friend’s daughter about her behind her back? You and she will have plenty of opportunity of talking about it when she comes. VIVIE. No: she won’t talk about it either. [Rising] However, I daresay you have good reasons for telling me nothing. Only, mind this, Mr Praed, I expect there will be a battle royal when my mother hears of my Chancery Lane project. PRAED [ruefully] I’m afraid there will. VIVIE. Well, I shall win because I want nothing but my fare to London to start there to-morrow earning my own living by devilling for Honoria. Besides, I have no mysteries to keep up; and it seems she has. I shall use that advantage over her if necessary. PRAED [greatly shocked] Oh no! No, pray. Youd not do such a thing. VIVIE. Then tell me why not. PRAED. I really cannot. I appeal to your good feeling. [She smiles at his sentimentality]. Besides, you may be too bold. Your mother is not to be trifled with when she’s angry. VIVIE. You can’t frighten me, Mr Praed. In that month at Chancery Lane I had opportunities of taking the measure of one or two women v e r y like my mother. You may back me to win. But if I hit harder in my ignorance than I need, remember it is you who refuse to enlighten me. Now, let us drop the subject. [She takes her chair and replaces it near the hammock with the same vigorous swing as before]. PRAED [taking a desperate resolution] One word, Miss Warren. I had better tell you. It’s very difficult; but— [Mrs Warren and Sir George Crofts arrive at the gate. Mrs Warren is between 40 and 50, formerly pretty, showily dressed in a brilliant hat and a gay blouse fitting tightly over her bust and flanked by fashionable sleeves. Rather spoilt and domineering, and decidedly vulgar, but, on the whole, a genial and fairly presentable old blackguard of a woman.] [Crofts is a tall powerfully-built man of about 50, fashionably dressed in the style of a young man. Nasal voice, reedier than might be expected from his strong frame. Clean-shaven bulldog jaws, large flat ears, and thick neck: gentlemanly combination of the most brutal types of city man, sporting man, and man about town.] VIVIE. Here they are. [Coming to them as they enter the garden] How do, mater? Mr Praed’s been here this half hour, waiting for you. MRS WARREN. Well, if you’ve been waiting, Praddy, it’s your own fault: I thought youd have had the gumption to know I was coming by the 3.10 train. Vivie: put your hat on, dear: youll get sunburnt. Oh, I forgot to introduce you. Sir George Crofts: my little Vivie. [Crofts advances to Vivie with his most courtly manner. She nods, but makes no motion to shake hands.] CROFTS. May I shake hands with a young lady whom I have known by reputation very long as the daughter of one of my oldest friends? VIVIE [who has been looking him up and down sharply] If you like. [She takes his tenderly proferred hand and gives it a squeeze that makes him open his eyes; then turns away, and says to her mother] Will you come in, or shall I get a couple more chairs? [She goes into the porch for the chairs]. MRS WARREN. Well, George, what do you think of her? CROFTS [ruefully] She has a powerful fist. Did you shake hands with her, Praed? PRAED. Yes: it will pass off presently. CROFTS. I hope so. [Vivie reappears with two more chairs. He hurries to her assistance]. Allow me. MRS WARREN [patronizingly] Let Sir George help you with the chairs, dear. VIVIE [pitching them into his arms] Here you are. [She dusts her hands and turns to Mrs Warren]. Youd like some tea, wouldn’t you? MRS WARREN [sitting in Praed’s chair and fanning herself] I’m dying for a drop to drink. VIVIE. I’ll see about it. [She goes into the cottage]. [Sir George has by this time managed to unfold a chair and plant it by Mrs Warren, on her left. He throws the other on the grass and sits down, looking dejected and rather foolish, with the handle of his stick in his mouth. Praed, still very uneasy, fidgets around the garden on their right.] MRS WARREN [to Praed, looking at Crofts] Just look at him, Praddy: he looks cheerful, don’t he? He’s been worrying my life out these three years to have that little girl of mine shewn to him; and now that Ive done it, he’s quite out of countenance. [Briskly] Come! sit up, George; and take your stick out of your mouth. [Crofts sulkily obeys]. PRAED. I think, you know—if you don’t mind my saying so—that we had better get out of the habit of thinking of her as a little girl. You see she has really distinguished herself; and I’m not sure, from what I have seen of her, that she is not older than any of us. MRS WARREN [greatly amused] Only listen to him, George! Older than any of us! Well she has been stuffing you nicely with her importance. PRAED. But young people are particularly sensitive about being treated in that way. MRS WARREN. Yes; and young people have to get all that nonsense taken out of them, and good deal more besides. Don’t you interfere, Praddy: I know how to treat my own child as well as you do. [Praed, with a grave shake of his head, walks up the garden with his hands behind his back. Mrs Warren pretends to laugh, but looks after him with perceptible concern. Then, she whispers to Crofts] Whats the matter with him? What does he take it like that for? CROFTS [morosely] Youre afraid of Praed. MRS WARREN. What! Me! Afraid of dear old Praddy! Why, a fly wouldn’t be afraid of him. CROFTS. You’re afraid of him. MRS WARREN [angry] I’ll trouble you to mind your own business, and not try any of your sulks on me. I’m not afraid of y o u, anyhow. If you can’t make yourself agreeable, youd better go home. [She gets up, and, turning her back on him, finds herself face to face with Praed]. Come, Praddy, I know it was only your tender-heartedness. Youre afraid I’ll bully her. PRAED. My dear Kitty: you think I’m offended. Don’t imagine that: pray don’t. But you know I often notice things that escape you; and though you never take my advice, you sometimes admit afterwards that you ought to have taken it. MRS WARREN. Well, what do you notice now? PRAED. Only that Vivie is a grown woman. Pray, Kitty, treat her with every respect. MRS WARREN [with genuine amazement] Respect! Treat my own daughter with respect! What next, pray! VIVIE [appearing at the cottage door and calling to Mrs Warren] Mother: will you come to my room before tea? MRS WARREN. Yes, dearie. [She laughs indulgently at Praed’s gravity, and pats him on the cheek as she passes him on her way to the porch]. Don’t be cross, Praddy. [She follows Vivie into the cottage]. CROFTS [furtively] I say, Praed. PRAED. Yes. CROFTS. I want to ask you a rather particular question. PRAED. Certainly. [He takes Mrs Warren’s chair and sits close to Crofts]. CROFTS. Thats right: they might hear us from the window. Look here: did Kitty every tell you who that girl’s father is? PRAED. Never. CROFTS. Have you any suspicion of who it might be? PRAED. None. CROFTS [not believing him] I know, of course, that you perhaps might feel bound not to tell if she had said anything to you. But it’s very awkward to be uncertain about it now that we shall be meeting the girl every day. We don’t exactly know how we ought to feel towards her. PRAED. What difference can that make? We take her on her own merits. What does it matter who her father was? CROFTS [suspiciously] Then you know who he was? PRAED [with a touch of temper] I said no just now. Did you not hear me? CROFTS. Look here, Praed. I ask you as a particular favor. If you do know [movement of protest from Praed]—I only say, if you know, you might at least set my mind at rest about her. The fact is, I fell attracted. PRAED [sternly] What do you mean? CROFTS. Oh, don’t be alarmed: it’s quite an innocent feeling. Thats what puzzles me about it. Why, for all I know, I might be her father. PRAED. You! Impossible! CROFTS [catching him up cunningly] You know for certain that I’m not? PRAED. I know nothing about it, I tell you, any more than you. But really, Crofts—oh no, it’s out of the question. Theres not the least resemblance. CROFTS. As to that, theres no resemblance between her and her mother that I can see. I suppose she’s not y o u r daughter, is she? PRAED [rising indignantly] Really, Crofts—! CROFTS. No offence, Praed. Quite allowable as between two men of the world. PRAED [recovering himself with an effort and speaking gently and gravely] Now listen to me, my dear Crofts. [He sits down again]. I have nothing to do with that side of Mrs Warren’s life, and never had. She has never spoken to me about it; and of course I have never spoken to her about it. Your delicacy will tell you that a handsome woman needs some friends who are not—well, not on that footing with her. The effect of her own beauty would become a torment to her if she could not escape from it occasionally. You are probably on much more confidential terms with Kitty than I am. Surely you can ask her the question yourself. CROFTS. I h a v e asked her, often enough. But she’s so determined to keep the child all to herself that she would deny that it ever had a father if she could. [Rising] I’m thoroughly uncomfortable about it, Praed. PRAED [rising also] Well, as you are, at all events, old enough to be her father, I don’t mind agreeing that we both regard Miss Vivie in a parental way, as a young girl who we are bound to protect and help. What do you say? CROFTS [aggressively] I’m no older than you, if you come to that. PRAED. Yes you are, my dear fellow: you were born old. I was born a boy: Ive never been able to feel the assurance of a grown-up man in my life. [He folds his chair and carries it to the porch]. MRS WARREN [calling from within the cottage] Prad-dee! George! Tea-ea-ea-ea! CROFTS [hastily] She’s calling us. [He hurries in]. [Praed shakes his head bodingly, and is following Crofts when he is hailed by a young gentleman who has just appeared on the common, and is making for the gate. He is pleasant, pretty, smartly dressed, cleverly good-for-nothing, not long turned 20, with a charming voice and agreeably disrespectful manners. He carries a light sporting magazine rifle.] THE YOUNG GENTLEMAN. Hallo! Praed! PRAED. Why, Frank Gardner! [Frank comes in and shakes hands cordially]. What on earth are you doing here? FRANK. Staying with my father. PRAED. The Roman father? FRANK. He’s rector here. I’m living with my people this autumn for the sake of economy. Things came to a crisis in July: the Roman father had to pay my debts. He’s stony broke in consequence; and so am I. What are you up to in these parts? do you know the people here? PRAED. Yes: I’m spending the day with a Miss Warren. FRANK [enthusiastically] What! Do you know Vivie? Isn’t she a jolly girl? I’m teaching her to shoot with this [putting down the rifle]. I’m so glad she knows you: youre just the sort of fellow she ought to know. [He smiles, and raises the charming voice almost to a singing tone as he exclaims] It’s e v e r so jolly to find you here, Praed. PRAED. I’m an old friend of her mother. Mrs Warren brought me over to make her daughter’s acquaintance. FRANK. The mother! Is she here? PRAED. Yes: inside, at tea. MRS WARREN [calling from within] Prad-dee-ee-ee-eee! The tea-cake’ll be cold. PRAED [calling] Yes, Mrs Warren. In a moment. I’ve just met a friend here. MRS WARREN. A what? PRAED [louder] A friend. MRS WARREN. Bring him in. PRAED. All right. [To Frank] Will you accept the invitation? FRANK [incredulous, but immensely amused] Is that Vivie’s mother? PRAED. Yes. FRANK. By Jove! What a lark! Do you think she’ll like me? PRAED. I’ve no doubt youll make yourself popular, as usual. Come in and try [moving towards the house]. FRANK. Stop a bit. [Seriously] I want to take you into my confidence. PRAED. Pray don’t. It’s only some fresh folly, like the barmaid at Redhill. FRANK. It’s ever so much more serious than that. You say you’ve only just met Vivie for the first time? PRAED. Yes. FRANK [rhapsodically] Then you can have no idea what a girl she is. Such character! Such sense! And her cleverness! Oh, my eye, Praed, but I can tell you she is clever! And—need I add?—she loves me. CROFTS [putting his head out of the window] I say, Praed: what are you about? Do come along. [He disappears]. FRANK. Hallo! Sort of chap that would take a prize at a dog show, ain’t he? Who’s he? PRAED. Sir George Crofts, an old friend of Mrs Warren’s. I think we had better come in. [On their way to the porch they are interrupted by a call from the gate. Turning, they see an elderly clergyman looking over it.] THE CLERGYMAN [calling] Frank! FRANK. Hallo! [To Praed] The Roman father. [To the clergyman] Yes, gov’nor: all right: presently. [To Praed] Look here, Praed: youd better go in to tea. I’ll join you directly. PRAED. Very good. [He goes into the cottage]. [The clergyman remains outside the gate, with his hands on the top of it. The Rev. Samuel Gardner, a beneficed clergyman of the Established Church, is over 50. Externally he is pretentious, booming, noisy, important. Really he is that obsolescent phenomenon the fool of the family dumped on the Church by his father the patron, clamorously asserting himself as father and clergyman without being able to command respect in either capacity.] REV. S. Well, sir. Who are your friends here, if I may ask? FRANK. Oh, it’s all right, gov’nor! Come in. REV. S. No, sir; not until I know whose garden I am entering. FRANK. It’s all right. It’s Miss Warren’s. REV. S. I have not seen her at church since she came. FRANK. Of course not: she’s a third wrangler. Ever so intellectual. Took a higher degree than you did; so why should she go to hear you preach? REV. S. Don’t be disrespectful, sir. FRANK. Oh, it don’t matter: nobody hears us. Come in. [He opens the gate, unceremoniously pulling his father with it into the garden]. I want to introduce you to her. Do you remember the advice you gave me last July, gov’nor? REV. S. [severely] Yes. I advised you to conquer your idleness and flippancy, and to work your way into an honorable profession and live on it and not upon me. FRANK. No: thats what you thought of afterwards. What you actually said was that since I had neither brains nor money, I’d better turn my good looks to account by marrying someone with both. Well, look here. Miss Warren has brains: you can’t deny that. REV. S. Brains are not everything. FRANK. No, of course not: theres the money— REV. S. [interrupting him austerely] I was not thinking of money, sir. I was speaking of higher things. Social position, for instance. FRANK. I don’t care a rap about that. REV. S. But I do, sir. FRANK. Well, nobody wants y o u to marry her. Anyhow, she has what amounts to a high Cambridge degree; and she seems to have as much money as she wants. REV. S. [sinking into a feeble vein of humor] I greatly doubt whether she has as much money as y o u will want. FRANK. Oh, come: I havn’t been so very extravagant. I live ever so quietly; I don’t drink; I don’t bet much; and I never go regularly to the razzle-dazzle as you did when you were my age. REV. S. [booming hollowly] Silence, sir. FRANK. Well, you told me yourself, when I was making every such an ass of myself about the barmaid at Redhill, that you once offered a woman fifty pounds for the letters you wrote to her when— REV. S. [terrified] Sh-sh-sh, Frank, for Heaven’s sake! [He looks round apprehensively Seeing no one within earshot he plucks up courage to boom again, but more subduedly]. You are taking an ungentlemanly advantage of what I confided to you for your own good, to save you from an error you would have repented all your life long. Take warning by your father’s follies, sir; and don’t make them an excuse for your own. FRANK. Did you ever hear the story of the Duke of Wellington and his letters? REV. S. No, sir; and I don’t want to hear it. FRANK. The old Iron Duke didn’t throw away fifty pounds: not he. He just wrote: “Dear Jenny: publish and be damned! Yours affectionately, Wellington.” Thats what you should have done. REV. S. [piteously] Frank, my boy: when I wrote those letters I put myself into that woman’s power. When I told you about them I put myself, to some extent, I am sorry to say, in your power. She refused my money with these words, which I shall never forget. “Knowledge is power” she said; “and I never sell power.” Thats more than twenty years ago; and she has never made use of her power or caused me a moment’s uneasiness. You are behaving worse to me than she did, Frank. FRANK. Oh yes I dare say! Did you ever preach at her the way you preach at me every day? REV. S. [wounded almost to tears] I leave you, sir. You are incorrigible. [He turns towards the gate]. FRANK [utterly unmoved] Tell them I shan’t be home to tea, will you, gov’nor, like a good fellow? [He moves towards the cottage door and is met by Praed and Vivie coming out]. VIVIE [to Frank] Is that your father, Frank? I do so want to meet him. FRANK. Certainly. [Calling after his father] Gov’nor. Youre wanted. [The parson turns at the gate, fumbling nervously at his hat. Praed crosses the garden to the opposite side, beaming in anticipation of civilities]. My father: Miss Warren. VIVIE [going to the clergyman and shaking his hand] Very glad to see you here, Mr Gardner. [Calling to the cottage] Mother: come along: youre wanted. [Mrs Warren appears on the threshold, and is immediately transfixed, recognizing the clergyman.] VIVIE [continuing] Let me introduce— MRS WARREN [swooping on the Reverend Samuel] Why it’s Sam Gardner, gone into the Church! Well, I never! Don’t you know us, Sam? This is George Crofts, as large as life and twice as natural. Don’t you remember me? REV. S. [very red] I really—er— MRS WARREN. Of course you do. Why, I have a whole album of your letters still: I came across them only the other day. REV. S. [miserably confused] Miss Vavasour, I believe. MRS WARREN [correcting him quickly in a loud whisper] Tch! Nonsense! Mrs Warren: don’t you see my daughter there? ACT II [Inside the cottage after nightfall. Looking eastward from within instead of westward from without, the latticed window, with its curtains drawn, is now seen in the middle of the front wall of the cottage, with the porch door to the left of it. In the left-hand side wall is the door leading to the kitchen. Farther back against the same wall is a dresser with a candle and matches on it, and Frank’s rifle standing beside them, with the barrel resting in the plate-rack. In the centre a table stands with a lighted lamp on it. Vivie’s books and writing materials are on a table to the right of the window, against the wall. The fireplace is on the right, with a settle: there is no fire. Two of the chairs are set right and left of the table.] [The cottage door opens, shewing a fine starlit night without; and Mrs Warren, her shoulders wrapped in a shawl borrowed from Vivie, enters, followed by Frank, who throws his cap on the window seat. She has had enough of walking, and gives a gasp of relief as she unpins her hat; takes it off; sticks the pin through the crown; and puts it on the table.] MRS WARREN. O Lord! I don’t know which is the worst of the country, the walking or the sitting at home with nothing to do. I could do with a whisky and soda now very well, if only they had such a things in this place. FRANK. Perhaps Vivie’s got some. MRS WARREN. Nonsense! What would a young girl like her be doing with such things! Never mind: it don’t matter. I wonder how she passes her time here! I’d a good deal rather be in Vienna. FRANK. Let me take you there. [He helps her to take off her shawl, gallantly giving her shoulders a very perceptible squeeze as he does so]. MRS WARREN. Ah! would you? I’m beginning to think youre a chip of the old block. FRANK. Like the gov’nor, eh? [He hangs the shawl on the nearest chair, and sits down]. MRS WARREN. Never you mind. What do you know about such things? Youre only a boy. [She goes to the hearth to be farther from temptation]. FRANK. Do come to Vienna with me? It’d be ever such larks. MRS WARREN. No, thank you. Vienna is no place for you—at least not until youre a little older. [She nods at him to emphasize this piece of advice. He makes a mock-piteous face, belied by his laughing eyes. She looks at him; then comes back to him]. Now, look here, little boy [taking his face in her hands and turning it up to her]: I know you through and through by your likeness to your father, better than you know yourself. Don’t you go taking any silly ideas into your head about me. Do you hear? FRANK [gallantly wooing her with his voice] Can’t help it, my dear Mrs Warren: it runs in the family. [She pretends to box his ears; then looks at the pretty laughing upturned face of a moment, tempted. At last she kisses him, and immediately turns away, out of patience with herself.] MRS WARREN. There! I shouldn’t have done that. I am wicked. Never you mind, my dear: it’s only a motherly kiss. Go and make love to Vivie. FRANK. So I have. MRS WARREN [turning on him with a sharp note of alarm in her voice] What! FRANK. Vivie and I are ever such chums. MRS WARREN. What do you mean? Now see here: I won’t have any young scamp tampering with my little girl. Do you hear? I won’t have it. FRANK [quite unabashed] My dear Mrs Warren: don’t you be alarmed. My intentions are honorable: ever so honorable; and your little girl is jolly well able to take care of herself. She don’t need looking after half so much as her mother. She ain’t so handsome, you know. MRS WARREN [taken aback by his assurance] Well, you have got a nice healthy two inches of cheek all over you. I don’t know where you got it. Not from your father, anyhow. CROFTS [in the garden] The gipsies, I suppose? REV. S. [replying] The broomsquires are far worse. MRS WARREN [to Frank] S-sh! Remember! you’ve had your warning. [Crofts and the Reverend Samuel Gardner come in from the garden, the clergyman continuing his conversation as he enters.] REV. S. The perjury at the Winchester assizes is deplorable. MRS WARREN. Well? what became of you two? And wheres Praddy and Vivie? CROFTS [putting his hat on the settle and his stick in the chimney corner] They went up the hill. We went to the village. I wanted a drink. [He sits down on the settle, putting his legs up along the seat]. MRS WARREN. Well, she oughtn’t to go off like that without telling me. [To Frank] Get your father a chair, Frank: where are your manners? [Frank springs up and gracefully offers his father his chair; then takes another from the wall and sits down at the table, in the middle, with his father on his right and Mrs Warren on his left]. George: where are you going to stay to-night? You can’t stay here. And whats Praddy going to do? CROFTS. Gardner’ll put me up. MRS WARREN. Oh, no doubt you’ve taken care of yourself! But what about Praddy? CROFTS. Don’t know. I suppose he can sleep at the inn. MRS WARREN. Havn’t you room for him, Sam? REV. S. Well—er—you see, as rector here, I am not free to do as I like. Er—what is Mr Praed’s social position? MRS WARREN. Oh, he’s all right: he’s an architect. What an old stick-in-the-mud you are, Sam! FRANK. Yes, it’s all right, gov’nor. He built that place down in Wales for the Duke. Caernarvon Castle they call it. You must have heard of it. [He winks with lightning smartness at Mrs Warren, and regards his father blandly]. REV. S. Oh, in that case, of course we shall only be too happy. I suppose he knows the Duke personally. FRANK. Oh, ever so intimately! We can stick him in Georgina’s old room. MRS WARREN. Well, thats settled. Now if those two would only come in and let us have supper. Theyve no right to stay out after dark like this. CROFTS [aggressively] What harm are they doing you? MRS WARREN. Well, harm or not, I don’t like it. FRANK. Better not wait for them, Mrs Warren. Praed will stay out as long as possible. He has never known before what it is to stray over the heath on a summer night with my Vivie. CROFTS [sitting up in some consternation] I say, you know! Come! REV. S. [rising, startled out of his professional manner into real force and sincerity] Frank, once and for all, it’s out of the question. Mrs Warren will tell you that it’s not to be thought of. CROFTS. Of course not. FRANK [with enchanting placidity] Is that so, Mrs Warren? MRS WARREN [reflectively] Well, Sam, I don’t know. If the girl wants to get married, no good can come of keeping her unmarried. REV. S. [astounded] But married to him!—your daughter to my son! Only think: it’s impossible. CROFTS. Of course it’s impossible. Don’t be a fool, Kitty. MRS WARREN [nettled] Why not? Isn’t my daughter good enough for your son? REV. S. But surely, my dear Mrs Warren, you know the reasons— MRS WARREN [defiantly] I know no reasons. If you know any, you can tell them to the lad, or to the girl, or to your congregation, if you like. REV. S. [collapsing helplessly into his chair] You know very well that I couldn’t tell anyone the reasons. But my boy will believe me when I tell him there a r e reasons. FRANK. Quite right, Dad: he will. But has your boy’s conduct ever been influenced by your reasons? CROFTS. You can’t marry her; and thats all about it. [He gets up and stands on the hearth, with his back to the fireplace, frowning determinedly]. MRS WARREN [turning on him sharply] What have you got to do with it, pray? FRANK [with his prettiest lyrical cadence] Precisely what I was going to ask, myself, in my own graceful fashion. CROFTS [to Mrs Warren] I suppose you don’t want to marry the girl to a man younger than herself and without either a profession or twopence to keep her on. Ask Sam, if you don’t believe me. [To the parson] How much more money are you going to give him? REV. S. Not another penny. He has had his patrimony; and he spent the last of it in July. [Mrs Warren’s face falls]. CROFTS [watching her] There! I told you. [He resumes his place on the settle and puts his legs on the seat again, as if the matter were finally disposed of]. FRANK [plaintively] This is ever so mercenary. Do you suppose Miss Warren’s going to marry for money? If we love one another— MRS WARREN. Thank you. Your love’s a pretty cheap commodity, my lad. If you have no means of keeping a wife, that settles it; you can’t have Vivie. FRANK [much amused] What do y o u say, gov’nor, eh? REV. S. I agree with Mrs Warren. FRANK. And good old Crofts has already expressed his opinion. CROFTS [turning angrily on his elbow] Look here: I want none of your cheek. FRANK [pointedly] I’m e v e r so sorry to surprise you, Crofts; but you allowed yourself the liberty of speaking to me like a father a moment ago. One father is enough, thank you. CROFTS [contemptuously] Yah! [He turns away again]. FRANK [rising] Mrs Warren: I cannot give my Vivie up, even for your sake. MRS WARREN [muttering] Young scamp! FRANK [continuing] And as you no doubt intend to hold out other prospects to her, I shall lose no time in placing my case before her. [They stare at him; and he begins to declaim gracefully] He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, That dares not put it to the touch, To gain or lose it all. [The cottage doors open whilst he is reciting; and Vivie and Praed come in. He breaks off. Praed puts his hat on the dresser. There is an immediate improvement in the company’s behavior. Crofts takes down his legs from the settle and pulls himself together as Praed joins him at the fireplace. Mrs Warren loses her ease of manner and takes refuge in querulousness.] MRS WARREN. Wherever have you been, Vivie? VIVIE [taking off her hat and throwing it carelessly on the table] On the hill. MRS WARREN. Well, you shouldn’t go off like that without letting me know. How could I tell what had become of you? And night coming on too! VIVIE [going to the door of the kitchen and opening it, ignoring her mother] Now, about supper? [All rise except Mrs Warren] We shall be rather crowded in here, I’m afraid. MRS WARREN. Did you hear what I said, Vivie? VIVIE [quietly] Yes, mother. [Reverting to the supper difficulty] How many are we? [Counting] One, two, three, four, five, six. Well, two will have to wait until the rest are done: Mrs Alison has only plates and knives for four. PRAED. Oh, it doesn’t matter about me. I— VIVIE. You have had a long walk and are hungry, Mr Praed: you shall have your supper at once. I can wait myself. I want one person to wait with me. Frank: are you hungry? FRANK. Not the least in the world. Completely off my peck, in fact. MRS WARREN [to Crofts] Neither are you, George. You can wait. CROFTS. Oh, hang it, I’ve eaten nothing since tea-time. Can’t Sam do it? FRANK. Would you starve my poor father? REV. S. [testily] Allow me to speak for myself, sir. I am perfectly willing to wait. VIVIE [decisively] There’s no need. Only two are wanted. [She opens the door of the kitchen]. Will you take my mother in, Mr Gardner. [The parson takes Mrs Warren; and they pass into the kitchen. Praed and Crofts follow. All except Praed clearly disapprove of the arrangement, but do not know how to resist it. Vivie stands at the door looking in at them]. Can you squeeze past to that corner, Mr Praed: it’s rather a tight fit. Take care of your coat against the white-wash: that right. Now, are you all comfortable? PRAED [within] Quite, thank you. MRS WARREN [within] Leave the door open, dearie. [Vivie frowns; but Frank checks her with a gesture, and steals to the cottage door, which he softly sets wide open]. Oh Lor, what a draught! Youd better shut it, dear. [Vivie shuts it with a slam, and then, noting with disgust that her mother’s hat and shawl are lying about, takes them tidily to the window seat, whilst Frank noiselessly shuts the cottage door.] FRANK [exulting] Aha! Got rid of em. Well, Vivvums: what do you think of my governor? VIVIE [preoccupied and serious] I’ve hardly spoken to him. He doesn’t strike me as a particularly able person. FRANK. Well, you know, the old man is not altogether such a fool as he looks. You see, he was shoved into the Church, rather; and in trying to live up to it he makes a much bigger ass of himself than he really is. I don’t dislike him as much as you might expect. He means well. How do you think youll get on with him? VIVIE [rather grimly] I don’t think my future life will be much concerned with him, or with any of that old circle of my mother’s, except perhaps Praed. [She sits down on the settle] What do you think of my mother? FRANK. Really and truly? VIVIE. Yes, really and truly. FRANK. Well, she’s ever so jolly. But she’s rather a caution, isn’t she? And Crofts! Oh, my eye, Crofts! [He sits beside her]. VIVIE. What a lot, Frank! FRANK. What a crew! VIVIE [with intense contempt for them] If I thought that I was like that—that I was going to be a waster, shifting along from one meal to another with no purpose, and no character, and no grit in me, I’d open an artery and bleed to death without one moment’s hesitation. FRANK. Oh no, you wouldn’t. Why should they take any grind when they can afford not to? I wish I had their luck. No: what I object to is their form. It isn’t the thing: it’s slovenly, ever so slovenly. VIVIE. Do you think your form will be any better when youre as old as Crofts, if you don’t work? FRANK. Of course I do. Ever so much better. Vivvums mustn’t lecture: her little boy’s incorrigible. [He attempts to take her face caressingly in his hands]. VIVIE [striking his hands down sharply] Off with you: Vivvums is not in a humor for petting her little boy this evening. [She rises and comes forward to the other side of the room]. FRANK [following her] How unkind! VIVIE [stamping at him] Be serious. I’m serious. FRANK. Good. Let us talk learnedly, Miss Warren: do you know that all the most advanced thinkers are agreed that half the diseases of modern civilization are due to starvation of the affections of the young. Now, I— VIVIE [cutting him short] You are very tiresome. [She opens the inner door] Have you room for Frank there? He’s complaining of starvation. MRS WARREN [within] Of course there is [clatter of knives and glasses as she moves the things on the table]. Here! theres room now beside me. Come along, Mr Frank. FRANK. Her little boy will be ever so even with his Vivvums for this. [He passes into the kitchen]. MRS WARREN [within] Here, Vivie: come on you too, child. You must be famished. [She enters, followed by Crofts, who holds the door open with marked deference. She goes out without looking at him; and he shuts the door after her]. Why George, you can’t be done: you’ve eaten nothing. Is there anything wrong with you? CROFTS. Oh, all I wanted was a drink. [He thrusts his hands in his pockets, and begins prowling about the room, restless and sulky]. MRS WARREN. Well, I like enough to eat. But a little of that cold beef and cheese and lettuce goes a long way. [With a sigh of only half repletion she sits down lazily on the settle]. CROFTS. What do you go encouraging that young pup for? MRS WARREN [on the alert at once] Now see here, George: what are you up to about that girl? I’ve been watching your way of looking at her. Remember: I know you and what your looks mean. CROFTS. Theres no harm in looking at her, is there? MRS WARREN. I’d put you out and pack you back to London pretty soon if I saw any of your nonsense. My girl’s little finger is more to me than your whole body and soul. [Crofts receives this with a sneering grin. Mrs Warren, flushing a little at her failure to impose on him in the character of a theatrically devoted mother, adds in a lower key] Make your mind easy: the young pup has no more chance than you have. CROFTS. Mayn’t a man take an interest in a girl? MRS WARREN. Not a man like you. CROFTS. How old is she? MRS WARREN. Never you mind how old she is. CROFTS. Why do you make such a secret of it? MRS WARREN. Because I choose. CROFTS. Well, I’m not fifty yet; and my property is as good as it ever was— MRS [interrupting him] Yes; because youre as stingy as youre vicious. CROFTS [continuing] And a baronet isn’t to be picked up every day. No other man in my position would put up with you for a mother-in-law. Why shouldn’t she marry me? MRS WARREN. You! CROFTS. We three could live together quite comfortably. I’d die before her and leave her a bouncing widow with plenty of money. Why not? It’s been growing in my mind all the time I’ve been walking with that fool inside there. MRS WARREN [revolted] Yes; it’s the sort of thing that would grow in your mind. [He halts in his prowling; and the two look at one another, she steadfastly, with a sort of awe behind her contemptuous disgust: he stealthily, with a carnal gleam in his eye and a loose grin.] CROFTS [suddenly becoming anxious and urgent as he sees no sign of sympathy in her] Look here, Kitty: youre a sensible woman: you needn’t put on any moral airs. I’ll ask no more questions; and you need answer none. I’ll settle the whole property on her; and if you want a checque for yourself on the wedding day, you can name any figure you like—in reason. MRS WARREN. So it’s come to that with you, George, like all the other worn-out old creatures! CROFTS [savagely] Damn you! [Before she can retort the door of the kitchen is opened; and the voices of the others are heard returning. Crofts, unable to recover his presence of mind, hurries out of the cottage. The clergyman appears at the kitchen door.] REV. S. [looking round] Where is Sir George? MRS WARREN. Gone out to have a pipe. [The clergyman takes his hat from the table, and joins Mrs Warren at the fireside. Meanwhile, Vivie comes in, followed by Frank, who collapses into the nearest chair with an air of extreme exhaustion. Mrs Warren looks round at Vivie and says, with her affectation of maternal patronage even more forced than usual] Well, dearie: have you had a good supper? VIVIE. You know what Mrs Alison’s suppers are. [She turns to Frank and pets him] Poor Frank! was all the beef gone? did it get nothing but bread and cheese and ginger beer? [Seriously, as if she had done quite enough trifling for one evening] Her butter is really awful. I must get some down from the stores. FRANK. Do, in Heaven’s name! [Vivie goes to the writing-table and makes a memorandum to order the butter. Praed comes in from the kitchen, putting up his handkerchief, which he has been using as a napkin.] REV. S. Frank, my boy: it is time for us to be thinking of home. Your mother does not know yet that we have visitors. PRAED. I’m afraid we’re giving trouble. FRANK [rising] Not the least in the world: my mother will be delighted to see you. She’s a genuinely intellectual artistic woman; and she sees nobody here from one year’s end to another except the gov’nor; so you can imagine how jolly dull it pans out for her. [To his father] Y o u r e not intellectual or artistic: are you pater? So take Praed home at once; and I’ll stay here and entertain Mrs Warren. Youll pick up Crofts in the garden. He’ll be excellent company for the bull-pup. PRAED [taking his hat from the dresser, and coming close to Frank] Come with us, Frank. Mrs Warren has not seen Miss Vivie for a long time; and we have prevented them from having a moment together yet. FRANK [quite softened, and looking at Praed with romantic admiration] Of course. I forgot. Ever so thanks for reminding me. Perfect gentleman, Praddy. Always were. My ideal through life. [He rises to go, but pauses a moment between the two older men, and puts his hand on Praed’s shoulder]. Ah, if you had only been my father instead of this unworthy old man! [He puts his other hand on his father’s shoulder]. REV. S. [blustering] Silence, sir, silence: you are profane. MRS WARREN [laughing heartily] You should keep him in better order, Sam. Good-night. Here: take George his hat and stick with my compliments. REV. S. [taking them] Good-night. [They shake hands. As he passes Vivie he shakes hands with her also and bids her good-night. Then, in booming command, to Frank] Come along, sir, at once. [He goes out]. MRS WARREN. Byebye, Praddy. PRAED. Byebye, Kitty. [They shake hands affectionately and go out together, she accompanying him to the garden gate.] FRANK [to Vivie] Kissums? VIVIE [fiercely] No. I hate you. [She takes a couple of books and some paper from the writing-table, and sits down with them at the middle table, at the end next the fireplace]. FRANK [grimacing] Sorry. [He goes for his cap and rifle. Mrs Warren returns. He takes her hand] Good-night, dear Mrs Warren. [He kisses her hand. She snatches it away, her lips tightening, and looks more than half disposed to box his ears. He laughs mischievously and runs off, clapping-to the door behind him]. MRS WARREN [resigning herself to an evening of boredom now that the men are gone] Did you ever in your life hear anyone rattle on so? Isn’t he a tease? [She sits at the table]. Now that I think of it, dearie, don’t you go encouraging him. I’m sure he’s a regular good-for-nothing. VIVIE [rising to fetch more books] I’m afraid so. Poor Frank! I shall have to get rid of him; but I shall feel sorry for him, though he’s not worth it. That man Crofts does not seem to me to be good for much either: is he? [She throws the books on the table rather roughly]. MRS WARREN [galled by Vivie’s indifference] What do you know of men, child, to talk that way of them? Youll have to make up your mind to see a good deal of Sir George Crofts, as he’s a friend of mine. VIVIE [quite unmoved] Why? [She sits down and opens a book]. Do you expect that we shall be much together? You and I, I mean? MRS WARREN [staring at her] Of course: until youre married. Youre not going back to college again. VIVIE. Do you think my way of life would suit you? I doubt it. MRS WARREN. Y o u r way of life! What do you mean? VIVIE [cutting a page of her book with the paper knife on her chatelaine] Has it really never occurred to you, mother, that I have a way of life like other people? MRS WARREN. What nonsense is this youre trying to talk? Do you want to shew your independence, now that youre a great little person at school? Don’t be a fool, child. VIVIE [indulgently] Thats all you have to say on the subject, is it, mother? MRS WARREN [puzzled, then angry] Don’t you keep on asking me questions like that. [Violently] Hold your tongue. [Vivie works on, losing no time, and saying nothing]. You and your way of life, indeed! What next? [She looks at Vivie again. No reply]. Your way of life will be what I please, so it will. [Another pause]. Ive been noticing these airs in you ever since you got that tripos or whatever you call it. If you think I’m going to put up with them, youre mistaken; and the sooner you find it out, the better. [Muttering] All I have to say on the subject, indeed! [Again raising her voice angrily] Do you know who youre speaking to, Miss? VIVIE [looking across at her without raising her head from her book] No. Who are you? What are you? MRS WARREN [rising breathless] You young imp! VIVIE. Everybody knows my reputation, my social standing, and the profession I intend to pursue. I know nothing about you. What is that way of life which you invite me to share with you and Sir George Crofts, pray? MRS WARREN. Take care. I shall do something I’ll be sorry for after, and you too. VIVIE [putting aside her books with cool decision] Well, let us drop the subject until you are better able to face it. [Looking critically at her mother] You want some good walks and a little lawn tennis to set you up. You are shockingly out of condition: you were not able to manage twenty yards uphill today without stopping to pant; and your wrists are mere rolls of fat. Look at mine. [She holds out her wrists]. MRS WARREN [after looking at her helplessly, begins to whimper] Vivie— VIVIE [springing up sharply] Now pray don’t begin to cry. Anything but that. I really cannot stand whimpering. I will go out of the room if you do. MRS WARREN [piteously] Oh, my darling, how can you be so hard on me? Have I no rights over you as your mother? VIVIE. A r e you my mother? MRS WARREN. Am I your mother? Oh, Vivie! VIVIE. Then where are our relatives? my father? our family friends? You claim the rights of a mother: the right to call me fool and child; to speak to me as no woman in authority over me at college dare speak to me; to dictate my way of life; and to force on me the acquaintance of a brute whom anyone can see to be the most vicious sort of London man about town. Before I give myself the trouble to resist such claims, I may as well find out whether they have any real existence. MRS WARREN [distracted, throwing herself on her knees] Oh no, no. Stop, stop. I am your mother: I swear it. Oh, you can’t mean to turn on me—my own child! it’s not natural. You believe me, don’t you? Say you believe me. VIVIE. Who was my father? MRS WARREN. You don’t know what youre asking. I can’t tell you. VIVIE [determinedly] Oh yes you can, if you like. I have a right to know; and you know very well that I have that right. You can refuse to tell me if you please; but if you do, you will see the last of me tomorrow morning. MRS WARREN. Oh, it’s too horrible to hear you talk like that. You wouldn’t—you couldn’t leave me. VIVIE [ruthlessly] Yes, without a moment’s hesitation, if you trifle with me about this. [Shivering with disgust] How can I feel sure that I may not have the contaminated blood of that brutal waster in my veins? MRS WARREN. No, no. On my oath it’s not he, nor any of the rest that you have ever met. I’m certain of that, at least. [Vivie’s eyes fasten sternly on her mother as the significance of this flashes on her.] VIVIE [slowly] You are certain of that, at least. Ah! You mean that that is all you are certain of. [Thoughtfully] I see. [Mrs Warren buries her face in her hands]. Don’t do that, mother: you know you don’t feel it a bit. [Mrs Warren takes down her hands and looks up deplorably at Vivie, who takes out her watch and says] Well, that is enough for tonight. At what hour would you like breakfast? Is half-past eight too early for you? MRS WARREN [wildly] My God, what sort of woman are you? VIVIE [coolly] The sort the world is mostly made of, I should hope. Otherwise I don’t understand how it gets its business done. Come [taking her mother by the wrist and pulling her up pretty resolutely]: pull yourself together. Thats right. MRS WARREN [querulously] Youre very rough with me, Vivie. VIVIE. Nonsense. What about bed? It’s past ten. MRS WARREN [passionately] Whats the use of my going to bed? Do you think I could sleep? VIVIE. Why not? I shall. MRS WARREN. You! you’ve no heart. [She suddenly breaks out vehemently in her natural tongue—the dialect of a woman of the people—with all her affectations of maternal authority and conventional manners gone, and an overwhelming inspiration of true conviction and scorn in her] Oh, I wont bear it: I won’t put up with the injustice of it. What right have you to set yourself up above me like this? You boast of what you are to me—to me, who gave you a chance of being what you are. What chance had I? Shame on you for a bad daughter and a stuck-up prude! VIVIE [sitting down with a shrug, no longer confident; for her replies, which have sounded sensible and strong to her so far, now begin to ring rather woodenly and even priggishly against the new tone of her mother] Don’t think for a moment I set myself above you in any way. You attacked me with the conventional authority of a mother: I defended myself with the conventional superiority of a respectable woman. Frankly, I am not going to stand any of your nonsense; and when you drop it I shall not expect you to stand any of mine. I shall always respect your right to your own opinions and your own way of life. MRS WARREN. My own opinions and my own way of life! Listen to her talking! Do you think I was brought up like you? able to pick and choose my own way of life? Do you think I did what I did because I liked it, or thought it right, or wouldn’t rather have gone to college and been a lady if I’d had the chance? VIVIE. Everybody has some choice, mother. The poorest girl alive may not be able to choose between being Queen of England or Principal of Newnham; but she can choose between ragpicking and flowerselling, according to her taste. People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. MRS WARREN. Oh, it’s easy to talk, isn’t it? Here! would you like to know what my circumstances were? VIVIE. Yes: you had better tell me. Won’t you sit down? MRS WARREN. Oh, I’ll sit down: don’t you be afraid. [She plants her chair farther forward with brazen energy, and sits down. Vivie is impressed in spite of herself]. D’you know what your gran’mother was? VIVIE. No. MRS WARREN. No, you don’t. I do. She called herself a widow and had a fried-fish shop down by the Mint, and kept herself and four daughters out of it. Two of us were sisters: that was me and Liz; and we were both good-looking and well made. I suppose our father was a well-fed man: mother pretended he was a gentleman; but I don’t know. The other two were only half sisters: undersized, ugly, starved looking, hard working, honest poor creatures: Liz and I would have half-murdered them if mother hadn’t half-murdered us to keep our hands off them. They were the respectable ones. Well, what did they get by their respectability? I’ll tell you. One of them worked in a whitelead factory twelve hours a day for nine shillings a week until she died of lead poisoning. She only expected to get her hands a little paralyzed; but she died. The other was always held up to us as a model because she married a Government laborer in the Deptford victualling yard, and kept his room and the three children neat and tidy on eighteen shillings a week—until he took to drink. That was worth being respectable for, wasn’t it? VIVIE [now thoughtfully attentive] Did you and your sister think so? MRS WARREN. Liz didn’t, I can tell you: she had more spirit. We both went to a church school—that was part of the ladylike airs we gave ourselves to be superior to the children that knew nothing and went nowhere—and we stayed there until Liz went out one night and never came back. I know the schoolmistress thought I’d soon follow her example; for the clergyman was always warning me that Lizzie’d end by jumping off Waterloo Bridge. Poor fool: that was all he knew about it! But I was more afraid of the whitelead factory than I was of the river; and so would you have been in my place. That clergyman got me a situation as a scullery maid in a temperance restaurant where they sent out for anything you liked. Then I was a waitress; and then I went to the bar at Waterloo station: fourteen hours a day serving drinks and washing glasses for four shillings a week and my board. That was considered a great promotion for me. Well, one cold, wretched night, when I was so tired I could hardly keep myself awake, who should come up for a half of Scotch but Lizzie, in a long fur cloak, elegant and comfortable, with a lot of sovereigns in her purse. VIVIE [grimly] My aunt Lizzie! MRS WARREN. Yes; and a very good aunt to have, too. She’s living down at Winchester now, close to the cathedral, one of the most respectable ladies there. Chaperones girls at the country ball, if you please. No river for Liz, thank you! You remind me of Liz a little: she was a first-rate business woman—saved money from the beginning—never let herself look too like what she was—never lost her head or threw away a chance. When she saw I’d grown up good-looking she said to me across the bar “What are you doing there, you little fool? wearing out your health and your appearance for other people’s profit!” Liz was saving money then to take a house for herself in Brussels; and she thought we two could save faster than one. So she lent me some money and gave me a start; and I saved steadily and first paid her back, and then went into business with her as a partner. Why shouldn’t I have done it? The house in Brussels was real high class: a much better place for a woman to be in than the factory where Anne Jane got poisoned. None of the girls were ever treated as I was treated in the scullery of that temperance place, or at the Waterloo bar, or at home. Would you have had me stay in them and become a worn out old drudge before I was forty? VIVIE [intensely interested by this time] No; but why did you choose that business? Saving money and good management will succeed in any business. MRS WARREN. Yes, saving money. But where can a woman get the money to save in any other business? Could y o u save out of four shillings a week and keep yourself dressed as well? Not you. Of course, if youre a plain woman and can’t earn anything more; or if you have a turn for music, or the stage, or newspaper-writing: thats different. But neither Liz nor I had any turn for such things at all: all we had was our appearance and our turn for pleasing men. Do you think we were such fools as to let other people trade in our good looks by employing us as shopgirls, or barmaids, or waitresses, when we could trade in them ourselves and get all the profits instead of starvation wages? Not likely. VIVIE. You were certainly quite justified—from the business point of view. MRS WARREN. Yes; or any other point of view. What is any respectable girl brought up to do but to catch some rich man’s fancy and get the benefit of his money by marrying him?—as if a marriage ceremony could make any difference in the right or wrong of the thing! Oh, the hypocrisy of the world makes me sick! Liz and I had to work and save and calculate just like other people; elseways we should be as poor as any good-for-nothing drunken waster of a woman that thinks her luck will last for ever. [With great energy] I despise such people: theyve no character; and if theres a thing I hate in a woman, it’s want of character. VIVIE. Come now, mother: frankly! Isn’t it part of what you call character in a woman that she should greatly dislike such a way of making money? MRS WARREN. Why, of course. Everybody dislikes having to work and make money; but they have to do it all the same. I’m sure I’ve often pitied a poor girl, tired out and in low spirits, having to try to please some man that she doesn’t care two straws for—some half-drunken fool that thinks he’s making himself agreeable when he’s teasing and worrying and disgusting a woman so that hardly any money could pay her for putting up with it. But she has to bear with disagreeables and take the rough with the smooth, just like a nurse in a hospital or anyone else. It’s not work that any woman would do for pleasure, goodness knows; though to hear the pious people talk you would suppose it was a bed of roses. VIVIE. Still, you consider it worth while. It pays. MRS WARREN. Of course it’s worth while to a poor girl, if she can resist temptation and is good-looking and well conducted and sensible. It’s far better than any other employment open to her. I always thought that it oughtn’t to be. It can’t be right, Vivie, that there shouldn’t be better opportunities for women. I stick to that: it’s wrong. But it’s so, right or wrong; and a girl must make the best of it. But of course it’s not worth while for a lady. If you took to it youd be a fool; but I should have been a fool if I’d taken to anything else. VIVIE [more and more deeply moved] Mother: suppose we were both as poor as you were in those wretched old days, are you quite sure that you wouldn’t advise me to try the Waterloo bar, or marry a laborer, or even go into the factory? MRS WARREN [indignantly] Of course not. What sort of mother do you take me for! How could you keep your self-respect in such starvation and slavery? And whats a woman worth? whats life worth? without self-respect! Why am I independent and able to give my daughter a first-rate education, when other women that had just as good opportunities are in the gutter? Because I always knew how to respect myself and control myself. Why is Liz looked up to in a cathedral town? The same reason. Where would we be now if we’d minded the clergyman’s foolishness? Scrubbing floors for one and sixpence a day and nothing to look forward to but the workhouse infirmary. Don’t you be led astray by people who don’t know the world, my girl. The only way for a woman to provide for herself decently is for her to be good to some man that can afford to be good to her. If she’s in his own station of life, let her make him marry her; but if she’s far beneath him she can’t expect it: why should she? it wouldn’t be for her own happiness. Ask any lady in London society that has daughters; and she’ll tell you the same, except that I tell you straight and she’ll tell you crooked. Thats all the difference. VIVIE [fascinated, gazing at her] My dear mother: you are a wonderful woman: you are stronger than all England. And are you really and truly not one wee bit doubtful—or—or—ashamed? MRS WARREN. Well, of course, dearie, it’s only good manners to be ashamed of it: it’s expected from a woman. Women have to pretend to feel a great deal that they don’t feel. Liz used to be angry with me for plumping out the truth about it. She used to say that when every woman could learn enough from what was going on in the world before her eyes, there was no need to talk about it to her. But then Liz was such a perfect lady! She had the true instinct of it; while I was always a bit of a vulgarian. I used to be so pleased when you sent me your photos to see that you were growing up like Liz: you’ve just her ladylike, determined way. But I can’t stand saying one thing when everyone knows I mean another. Whats the use in such hypocrisy? If people arrange the world that way for women, theres no good pretending it’s arranged the other way. No: I never was a bit ashamed really. I consider I had a right to be proud of how we managed everything so respectably, and never had a word against us, and how the girls were so well taken care of. Some of them did very well: one of them married an ambassador. But of course now I daren’t talk about such things: whatever would they think of us! [She yawns]. Oh dear! I do believe I’m getting sleepy after all. [She stretches herself lazily, thoroughly relieved by her explosion, and placidly ready for her night’s rest]. VIVIE. I believe it is I who will not be able to sleep now. [She goes to the dresser and lights the candle. Then she extinguishes the lamp, darkening the room a good deal]. Better let in some fresh air before locking up. [She opens the cottage door, and finds that it is broad moonlight]. What a beautiful night! Look! [She draws the curtains of the window. The landscape is seen bathed in the radiance of the harvest moon rising over Blackdown]. MRS WARREN [with a perfunctory glance at the scene] Yes, dear; but take care you don’t catch your death of cold from the night air. VIVIE [contemptuously] Nonsense. MRS WARREN [querulously] Oh yes: everything I say is nonsense, according to you. VIVIE [turning to her quickly] No: really that is not so, mother. You have got completely the better of me tonight, though I intended it to be the other way. Let us be good friends now. MRS WARREN [shaking her head a little ruefully] So it has been the other way. But I suppose I must give in to it. I always got the worst of it from Liz; and now I suppose it’ll be the same with you. VIVIE. Well, never mind. Come: good-night, dear old mother. [She takes her mother in her arms]. MRS WARREN [fondly] I brought you up well, didn’t I, dearie? VIVIE. You did. MRS WARREN. And youll be good to your poor old mother for it, won’t you? VIVIE. I will, dear. [Kissing her] Good-night. MRS WARREN [with unction] Blessings on my own dearie darling! a mother’s blessing! [She embraces her daughter protectingly, instinctively looking upward for divine sanction.] ACT III [In the Rectory garden next morning, with the sun shining from a cloudless sky. The garden wall has a five-barred wooden gate, wide enough to admit a carriage, in the middle. Beside the gate hangs a bell on a coiled spring, communicating with a pull outside. The carriage drive comes down the middle of the garden and then swerves to its left, where it ends in a little gravelled circus opposite the Rectory porch. Beyond the gate is seen the dusty high road, parallel with the wall, bounded on the farther side by a strip of turf and an unfenced pine wood. On the lawn, between the house and the drive, is a clipped yew tree, with a garden bench in its shade. On the opposite side the garden is shut in by a box hedge; and there is a little sundial on the turf, with an iron chair near it. A little path leads through the box hedge, behind the sundial.] [Frank, seated on the chair near the sundial, on which he has placed the morning paper, is reading The Standard. His father comes from the house, red-eyed and shivery, and meets Frank’s eye with misgiving.] FRANK [looking at his watch] Half-past eleven. Nice hour for a rector to come down to breakfast! REV. S. Don’t mock, Frank: don’t mock. I am a little—er—[Shivering]— FRANK. Off color? REV. S. [repudiating the expression] No, sir: unwell this morning. Where’s your mother? FRANK. Don’t be alarmed: she’s not here. Gone to town by the 11.13 with Bessie. She left several messages for you. Do you feel equal to receiving them now, or shall I wait til you’ve breakfasted? REV. S. I h a v e breakfasted, sir. I am surprised at your mother going to town when we have people staying with us. They’ll think it very strange. FRANK. Possibly she has considered that. At all events, if Crofts is going to stay here, and you are going to sit up every night with him until four, recalling the incidents of your fiery youth, it is clearly my mother’s duty, as a prudent housekeeper, to go up to the stores and order a barrel of whisky and a few hundred siphons. REV. S. I did not observe that Sir George drank excessively. FRANK. You were not in a condition to, gov’nor. REV. S. Do you mean to say that I—? FRANK [calmly] I never saw a beneficed clergyman less sober. The anecdotes you told about your past career were so awful that I really don’t think Praed would have passed the night under your roof if it hadnt been for the way my mother and he took to one another. REV. S. Nonsense, sir. I am Sir George Crofts’ host. I must talk to him about something; and he has only one subject. Where is Mr Praed now? FRANK. He is driving my mother and Bessie to the station. REV. S. Is Crofts up yet? FRANK. Oh, long ago. He hasn’t turned a hair: he’s in much better practice than you. Has kept it up ever since, probably. He’s taken himself off somewhere to smoke. [Frank resumes his paper. The parson turns disconsolately towards the gate; then comes back irresolutely.] REV. S. Er—Frank. FRANK. Yes. REV. S. Do you think the Warrens will expect to be asked here after yesterday afternoon? FRANK. Theyve been asked already. REV. S. [appalled] What!!! FRANK. Crofts informed us at breakfast that you told him to bring Mrs Warren and Vivie over here to-day, and to invite them to make this house their home. My mother then found she must go to town by the 11.13 train. REV. S. [with despairing vehemence] I never gave any such invitation. I never thought of such a thing. FRANK [compassionately] How do you know, gov’nor, what you said and thought last night? PRAED [coming in through the hedge] Good morning. REV. S. Good morning. I must apologize for not having met you at breakfast. I have a touch of—of— FRANK. Clergyman’s sore throat, Praed. Fortunately not chronic. PRAED [changing the subject] Well I must say your house is in a charming spot here. Really most charming. REV. S. Yes: it is indeed. Frank will take you for a walk, Mr Praed, if you like. I’ll ask you to excuse me: I must take the opportunity to write my sermon while Mrs Gardner is away and you are all amusing yourselves. You won’t mind, will you? PRAED. Certainly not. Don’t stand on the slightest ceremony with me. REV. S. Thank you. I’ll—er—er—[He stammers his way to the porch and vanishes into the house]. PRAED. Curious thing it must be writing a sermon every week. FRANK. Ever so curious, if he did it. He buys em. He’s gone for some soda water. PRAED. My dear boy: I wish you would be more respectful to your father. You know you can be so nice when you like. FRANK. My dear Praddy: you forget that I have to live with the governor. When two people live together—it don’t matter whether theyre father and son or husband and wife or brother and sister—they can’t keep up the polite humbug thats so easy for ten minutes on an afternoon call. Now the governor, who unites to many admirable domestic qualities the irresoluteness of a sheep and the pompousness and aggressiveness of a jackass— PRAED. No, pray, pray, my dear Frank, remember! He is your father. FRANK. I give him due credit for that. [Rising and flinging down his paper] But just imagine his telling Crofts to bring the Warrens over here! He must have been ever so drunk. You know, my dear Praddy, my mother wouldn’t stand Mrs Warren for a moment. Vivie mustn’t come here until she’s gone back to town. PRAED. But your mother doesn’t know anything about Mrs Warren, does she? [He picks up the paper and sits down to read it]. FRANK. I don’t know. Her journey to town looks as if she did. Not that my mother would mind in the ordinary way: she has stuck like a brick to lots of women who had got into trouble. But they were all nice women. Thats what makes the real difference. Mrs Warren, no doubt, has her merits; but she’s ever so rowdy; and my mother simply wouldn’t put up with her. So—hallo! [This exclamation is provoked by the reappearance of the clergyman, who comes out of the house in haste and dismay]. REV. S. Frank: Mrs Warren and her daughter are coming across the heath with Crofts: I saw them from the study windows. What am I to say about your mother? FRANK. Stick on your hat and go out and say how delighted you are to see them; and that Frank’s in the garden; and that mother and Bessie have been called to the bedside of a sick relative, and were ever so sorry they couldn’t stop; and that you hope Mrs Warren slept well; and—and—say any blessed thing except the truth, and leave the rest to Providence. REV. S. But how are we to get rid of them afterwards? FRANK. Theres no time to think of that now. Here! [He bounds into the house]. REV. S. He’s so impetuous. I don’t know what to do with him, Mr Praed. FRANK [returning with a clerical felt hat, which he claps on his father’s head]. Now: off with you. [Rushing him through the gate]. Praed and I’ll wait here, to give the thing an unpremeditated air. [The clergyman, dazed but obedient, hurries off]. FRANK. We must get the old girl back to town somehow, Praed. Come! Honestly, dear Praddy, do you like seeing them together? PRAED. Oh, why not? FRANK [his teeth on edge] Don’t it make your flesh creep ever so little? that wicked old devil, up to every villainy under the sun, I’ll swear, and Vivie—ugh! PRAED. Hush, pray. Theyre coming. [The clergyman and Crofts are seen coming along the road, followed by Mrs Warren and Vivie walking affectionately together.] FRANK. Look: she actually has her arm round the old woman’s waist. It’s her right arm: she began it. She’s gone sentimental, by God! Ugh! ugh! Now do you feel the creeps? [The clergyman opens the gate: and Mrs Warren and Vivie pass him and stand in the middle of the garden looking at the house. Frank, in an ecstasy of dissimulation, turns gaily to Mrs Warren, exclaiming] Ever so delighted to see you, Mrs Warren. This quiet old rectory garden becomes you perfectly. MRS WARREN. Well, I never! Did you hear that, George? He says I look well in a quiet old rectory garden. REV. S. [still holding the gate for Crofts, who loafs through it, heavily bored] You look well everywhere, Mrs Warren. FRANK. Bravo, gov’nor! Now look here: lets have a treat before lunch. First lets see the church. Everyone has to do that. It’s a regular old thirteenth century church, you know: the gov’nor’s ever so fond of it, because he got up a restoration fund and had it completely rebuilt six years ago. Praed will be able to shew its points. PRAED [rising] Certainly, if the restoration has left any to shew. REV. S. [mooning hospitably at them] I shall be pleased, I’m sure, if Sir George and Mrs Warren really care about it. MRS WARREN. Oh, come along and get it over. CROFTS [turning back toward the gate] I’ve no objection. REV. S. Not that way. We go through the fields, if you don’t mind. Round here. [He leads the way by the little path through the box hedge]. CROFTS. Oh, all right. [He goes with the parson]. [Praed follows with Mrs Warren. Vivie does not stir: she watches them until they have gone, with all the lines of purpose in her face marking it strongly.] FRANK. Ain’t you coming? VIVIE. No. I want to give you a warning, Frank. You were making fun of my mother just now when you said that about the rectory garden. That is barred in the future. Please treat my mother with as much respect as you treat your own. FRANK. My dear Viv: she wouldn’t appreciate it: the two cases require different treatment. But what on earth has happened to you? Last night we were perfectly agreed as to your mother and her set. This morning I find you attitudinizing sentimentally with your arm around your parent’s waist. VIVIE [flushing] Attitudinizing! FRANK. That was how it struck me. First time I ever saw you do a second-rate thing. VIVIE [controlling herself] Yes, Frank: there has been a change: but I don’t think it a change for the worse. Yesterday I was a little prig. FRANK. And today? VIVIE [wincing; then looking at him steadily] Today I know my mother better than you do. FRANK. Heaven forbid! VIVIE. What do you mean? FRANK. Viv: theres a freemasonry among thoroughly immoral people that you know nothing of. You’ve too much character. That’s the bond between your mother and me: that’s why I know her better than youll ever know her. VIVIE. You are wrong: you know nothing about her. If you knew the circumstances against which my mother had to struggle— FRANK [adroitly finishing the sentence for her] I should know why she is what she is, shouldn’t I? What difference would that make? Circumstances or no circumstances, Viv, you won’t be able to stand your mother. VIVIE [very angry] Why not? FRANK. Because she’s an old wretch, Viv. If you ever put your arm around her waist in my presence again, I’ll shoot myself there and then as a protest against an exhibition which revolts me. VIVIE. Must I choose between dropping your acquaintance and dropping my mother’s? FRANK [gracefully] That would put the old lady at ever such a disadvantage. No, Viv: your infatuated little boy will have to stick to you in any case. But he’s all the more anxious that you shouldn’t make mistakes. It’s no use, Viv: your mother’s impossible. She may be a good sort; but she’s a bad lot, a very bad lot. VIVIE [hotly] Frank—! [He stands his ground. She turns away and sits down on the bench under the yew tree, struggling to recover her self-command. Then she says] Is she to be deserted by the world because she’s what you call a bad lot? Has she no right to live? FRANK. No fear of that, Viv: she won’t ever be deserted. [He sits on the bench beside her]. VIVIE. But I am to desert her, I suppose. FRANK [babyishly, lulling her and making love to her with his voice] Mustn’t go live with her. Little family group of mother and daughter wouldn’t be a success. Spoil o u r little group. VIVIE [falling under the spell] What little group? FRANK. The babes in the wood: Vivie and little Frank. [He nestles against her like a weary child]. Lets go and get covered up with leaves. VIVIE [rhythmically, rocking him like a nurse] Fast asleep, hand in hand, under the trees. FRANK. The wise little girl with her silly little boy. VIVIE. The dear little boy with his dowdy little girl. FRANK. Ever so peaceful, and relieved from the imbecility of the little boy’s father and the questionableness of the little girl’s— VIVIE [smothering the word against her breast] Sh-sh-sh-sh! little girl wants to forget all about her mother. [They are silent for some moments, rocking one another. Then Vivie wakes up with a shock, exclaiming] What a pair of fools we are! Come: sit up. Gracious! your hair. [She smooths it]. I wonder do all grown up people play in that childish way when nobody is looking. I never did it when I was a child. FRANK. Neither did I. You are my first playmate. [He catches her hand to kiss it, but checks himself to look around first. Very unexpectedly, he sees Crofts emerging from the box hedge]. Oh damn! VIVIE. Why damn, dear? FRANK [whispering] Sh! Here’s this brute Crofts. [He sits farther away from her with an unconcerned air]. CROFTS. Could I have a few words with you, Miss Vivie? VIVIE. Certainly. CROFTS [to Frank] Youll excuse me, Gardner. Theyre waiting for you in the church, if you don’t mind. FRANK [rising] Anything to oblige you, Crofts—except church. If you should happen to want me, Vivvums, ring the gate bell. [He goes into the house with unruffled suavity]. CROFTS [watching him with a crafty air as he disappears, and speaking to Vivie with an assumption of being on privileged terms with her] Pleasant young fellow that, Miss Vivie. Pity he has no money, isn’t it? VIVIE. Do you think so? CROFTS. Well, whats he to do? No profession. No property. Whats he good for? VIVIE. I realize his disadvantages, Sir George. CROFTS [a little taken aback at being so precisely interpreted] Oh, it’s not that. But while we’re in this world we’re in it; and money’s money. [Vivie does not answer]. Nice day, isn’t it? VIVIE [with scarcely veiled contempt for this effort at conversation] Very. CROFTS [with brutal good humor, as if he liked her pluck] Well thats not what I came to say. [Sitting down beside her] Now listen, Miss Vivie. I’m quite aware that I’m not a young lady’s man. VIVIE. Indeed, Sir George? CROFTS. No; and to tell you the honest truth I don’t want to be either. But when I say a thing I mean it; and when I feel a sentiment I feel it in earnest; and what I value I pay hard money for. Thats the sort of man I am. VIVIE. It does you great credit, I’m sure. CROFTS. Oh, I don’t mean to praise myself. I have my faults, Heaven knows: no man is more sensible of that than I am. I know I’m not perfect: thats one of the advantages of being a middle-aged man; for I’m not a young man, and I know it. But my code is a simple one, and, I think, a good one. Honor between man and man; fidelity between man and woman; and no can’t about this religion or that religion, but an honest belief that things are making for good on the whole. VIVIE [with biting irony] “A power, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness,” eh? CROFTS [taking her seriously] Oh certainly. Not ourselves, of course. Y o u understand what I mean. Well, now as to practical matters. You may have an idea that I’ve flung my money about; but I havn’t: I’m richer today than when I first came into the property. I’ve used my knowledge of the world to invest my money in ways that other men have overlooked; and whatever else I may be, I’m a safe man from the money point of view. VIVIE. It’s very kind of you to tell me all this. CROFTS. Oh well, come, Miss Vivie: you needn’t pretend you don’t see what I’m driving at. I want to settle down with a Lady Crofts. I suppose you think me very blunt, eh? VIVIE. Not at all: I am very much obliged to you for being so definite and business-like. I quite appreciate the offer: the money, the position, Lady Crofts, and so on. But I think I will say no, if you don’t mind, I’d rather not. [She rises, and strolls across to the sundial to get out of his immediate neighborhood]. CROFTS [not at all discouraged, and taking advantage of the additional room left him on the seat to spread himself comfortably, as if a few preliminary refusals were part of the inevitable routine of courtship] I’m in no hurry. It was only just to let you know in case young Gardner should try to trap you. Leave the question open. VIVIE [sharply] My no is final. I won’t go back from it. [Crofts is not impressed. He grins; leans forward with his elbows on his knees to prod with his stick at some unfortunate insect in the grass; and looks cunningly at her. She turns away impatiently.] CROFTS. I’m a good deal older than you. Twenty-five years: quarter of a century. I shan’t live for ever; and I’ll take care that you shall be well off when I’m gone. VIVIE. I am proof against even that inducement, Sir George. Don’t you think youd better take your answer? There is not the slightest chance of my altering it. CROFTS [rising, after a final slash at a daisy, and coming nearer to her] Well, no matter. I could tell you some things that would change your mind fast enough; but I wont, because I’d rather win you by honest affection. I was a good friend to your mother: ask her whether I wasn’t. She’d never have make the money that paid for your education if it hadnt been for my advice and help, not to mention the money I advanced her. There are not many men who would have stood by her as I have. I put not less than forty thousand pounds into it, from first to last. VIVIE [staring at him] Do you mean to say that you were my mother’s business partner? CROFTS. Yes. Now just think of all the trouble and the explanations it would save if we were to keep the whole thing in the family, so to speak. Ask your mother whether she’d like to have to explain all her affairs to a perfect stranger. VIVIE. I see no difficulty, since I understand that the business is wound up, and the money invested. CROFTS [stopping short, amazed] Wound up! Wind up a business thats paying 35 per cent in the worst years! Not likely. Who told you that? VIVIE [her color quite gone] Do you mean that it is still—? [She stops abruptly, and puts her hand on the sundial to support herself. Then she gets quickly to the iron chair and sits down]. What business are you talking about? CROFTS. Well, the fact is it’s not what would considered exactly a high-class business in my set—the country set, you know—o u r set it will be if you think better of my offer. Not that theres any mystery about it: don’t think that. Of course you know by your mother’s being in it that it’s perfectly straight and honest. I’ve known her for many years; and I can say of her that she’d cut off her hands sooner than touch anything that was not what it ought to be. I’ll tell you all about it if you like. I don’t know whether you’ve found in travelling how hard it is to find a really comfortable private hotel. VIVIE [sickened, averting her face] Yes: go on. CROFTS. Well, thats all it is. Your mother has got a genius for managing such things. We’ve got two in Brussels, one in Ostend, one in Vienna, and two in Budapest. Of course there are others besides ourselves in it; but we hold most of the capital; and your mother’s indispensable as managing director. You’ve noticed, I daresay, that she travels a good deal. But you see you can’t mention such things in society. Once let out the word hotel and everybody thinks you keep a public-house. You wouldn’t like people to say that of your mother, would you? Thats why we’re so reserved about it. By the way, youll keep it to yourself, won’t you? Since it’s been a secret so long, it had better remain so. VIVIE. And this is the business you invite me to join you in? CROFTS. Oh no. My wife shan’t be troubled with business. Youll not be in it more than you’ve always been. VIVIE. I always been! What do you mean? CROFTS. Only that you’ve always lived on it. It paid for your education and the dress you have on your back. Don’t turn up your nose at business, Miss Vivie: where would your Newnhams and Girtons be without it? VIVIE [rising, almost beside herself] Take care. I know what this business is. CROFTS [starting, with a suppressed oath] Who told you? VIVIE. Your partner. My mother. CROFTS [black with rage] The old— VIVIE. Just so. [He swallows the epithet and stands for a moment swearing and raging foully to himself. But he knows that his cue is to be sympathetic. He takes refuge in generous indignation.] CROFTS. She ought to have had more consideration for you. I’d never have told you. VIVIE. I think you would probably have told me when we were married: it would have been a convenient weapon to break me in with. CROFTS [quite sincerely] I never intended that. On my word as a gentleman I didn’t. [Vivie wonders at him. Her sense of the irony of his protest cools and braces her. She replies with contemptuous self-possession.] VIVIE. It does not matter. I suppose you understand that when we leave here today our acquaintance ceases. CROFTS. Why? Is it for helping your mother? VIVIE. My mother was a very poor woman who had no reasonable choice but to do as she did. You were a rich gentleman; and you did the same for the sake of 35 per cent. You are a pretty common sort of scoundrel, I think. That is my opinion of you. CROFTS [after a stare: not at all displeased, and much more at his ease on these frank terms than on their former ceremonious ones] Ha! ha! ha! ha! Go it, little missie, go it: it doesn’t hurt me and it amuses you. Why the devil shouldn’t I invest my money that way? I take the interest on my capital like other people: I hope you don’t think I dirty my own hands with the work. Come! you wouldn’t refuse the acquaintance of my mother’s cousin the Duke of Belgravia because some of the rents he gets are earned in queer ways. You wouldn’t cut the Archbishop of Canterbury, I suppose, because the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have a few publicans and sinners among their tenants. Do you remember your Crofts scholarship at Newnham? Well, that was founded by my brother the M.P. He gets his 22 per cent out of a factory with 600 girls in it, and not one of them getting wages enough to live on. How d’ye suppose they manage when they have no family to fall back on? Ask your mother. And do you expect me to turn my back on 35 per cent when all the rest are pocketing what they can, like sensible men? No such fool! If youre going to pick and choose your acquaintances on moral principles, youd better clear out of this country, unless you want to cut yourself out of all decent society. VIVIE [conscience stricken] You might go on to point out that I myself never asked where the money I spent came from. I believe I am just as bad as you. CROFTS [greatly reassured] Of course you are; and a very good thing too! What harm does it do after all? [Rallying her jocularly] So you don’t think me such a scoundrel now you come to think it over. Eh? VIVIE. I have shared profits with you: and I admitted you just now to the familiarity of knowing what I think of you. CROFTS [with serious friendliness] To be sure you did. You won’t find me a bad sort: I don’t go in for being superfine intellectually; but Ive plenty of honest human feeling; and the old Crofts breed comes out in a sort of instinctive hatred of anything low, in which I’m sure youll sympathize with me. Believe me, Miss Vivie, the world isn’t such a bad place as the croakers make out. As long as you don’t fly openly in the face of society, society doesn’t ask any inconvenient questions; and it makes precious short work of the cads who do. There are no secrets better kept than the secrets everybody guesses. In the class of people I can introduce you to, no lady or gentleman would so far forget themselves as to discuss my business affairs or your mothers. No man can offer you a safer position. VIVIE [studying him curiously] I suppose you really think youre getting on famously with me. CROFTS. Well, I hope I may flatter myself that you think better of me than you did at first. VIVIE [quietly] I hardly find you worth thinking about at all now. When I think of the society that tolerates you, and the laws that protect you! when I think of how helpless nine out of ten young girls would be in the hands of you and my mother! the unmentionable woman and her capitalist bully— CROFTS [livid] Damn you! VIVIE. You need not. I feel among the damned already. [She raises the latch of the gate to open it and go out. He follows her and puts his hand heavily on the top bar to prevent its opening.] CROFTS [panting with fury] Do you think I’ll put up with this from you, you young devil? VIVIE [unmoved] Be quiet. Some one will answer the bell. [Without flinching a step she strikes the bell with the back of her hand. It clangs harshly; and he starts back involuntarily. Almost immediately Frank appears at the porch with his rifle]. FRANK [with cheerful politeness] Will you have the rifle, Viv; or shall I operate? VIVIE. Frank: have you been listening? FRANK [coming down into the garden] Only for the bell, I assure you; so that you shouldn’t have to wait. I think I shewed great insight into your character, Crofts. CROFTS. For two pins I’d take that gun from you and break it across your head. FRANK [stalking him cautiously] Pray don’t. I’m ever so careless in handling firearms. Sure to be a fatal accident, with a reprimand from the coroner’s jury for my negligence. VIVIE. Put the rifle away, Frank: it’s quite unnecessary. FRANK. Quite right, Viv. Much more sportsmanlike to catch him in a trap. [Crofts, understanding the insult, makes a threatening movement]. Crofts: there are fifteen cartridges in the magazine here; and I am a dead shot at the present distance and at an object of your size. CROFTS. Oh, you needn’t be afraid. I’m not going to touch you. FRANK. Ever so magnanimous of you under the circumstances! Thank you. CROFTS. I’ll just tell you this before I go. It may interest you, since youre so fond of one another. Allow me, Mister Frank, to introduce you to your half-sister, the eldest daughter of the Reverend Samuel Gardner. Miss Vivie: you half-brother. Good morning! [He goes out through the gate and along the road]. FRANK [after a pause of stupefaction, raising the rifle] Youll testify before the coroner that it’s an accident, Viv. [He takes aim at the retreating figure of Crofts. Vivie seizes the muzzle and pulls it round against her breast]. VIVIE. Fire now. You may. FRANK [dropping his end of the rifle hastily] Stop! take care. [She lets it go. It falls on the turf]. Oh, you’ve given your little boy such a turn. Suppose it had gone off! ugh! [He sinks on the garden seat, overcome]. VIVIE. Suppose it had: do you think it would not have been a relief to have some sharp physical pain tearing through me? FRANK [coaxingly] Take it ever so easy, dear Viv. Remember: even if the rifle scared that fellow into telling the truth for the first time in his life, that only makes us the babes in the woods in earnest. [He holds out his arms to her]. Come and be covered up with leaves again. VIVIE [with a cry of disgust] Ah, not that, not that. You make all my flesh creep. FRANK. Why, whats the matter? VIVIE. Goodbye. [She makes for the gate]. FRANK [jumping up] Hallo! Stop! Viv! Viv! [She turns in the gateway] Where are you going to? Where shall we find you? VIVIE. At Honoria Fraser’s chambers, 67 Chancery Lane, for the rest of my life. [She goes off quickly in the opposite direction to that taken by Crofts]. FRANK. But I say—wait—dash it! [He runs after her]. ACT IV [Honoria Fraser’s chambers in Chancery Lane. An office at the top of New Stone Buildings, with a plate-glass window, distempered walls, electric light, and a patent stove. Saturday afternoon. The chimneys of Lincoln’s Inn and the western sky beyond are seen through the window. There is a double writing table in the middle of the room, with a cigar box, ash pans, and a portable electric reading lamp almost snowed up in heaps of papers and books. This table has knee holes and chairs right and left and is very untidy. The clerk’s desk, closed and tidy, with its high stool, is against the wall, near a door communicating with the inner rooms. In the opposite wall is the door leading to the public corridor. Its upper panel is of opaque glass, lettered in black on the outside, FRASER AND WARREN. A baize screen hides the corner between this door and the window.] [Frank, in a fashionable light-colored coaching suit, with his stick, gloves, and white hat in his hands, is pacing up and down in the office. Somebody tries the door with a key.] FRANK [calling] Come in. It’s not locked. [Vivie comes in, in her hat and jacket. She stops and stares at him.] VIVIE [sternly] What are you doing here? FRANK. Waiting to see you. I’ve been here for hours. Is this the way you attend to your business? [He puts his hat and stick on the table, and perches himself with a vault on the clerk’s stool, looking at her with every appearance of being in a specially restless, teasing, flippant mood]. VIVIE. I’ve been away exactly twenty minutes for a cup of tea. [She takes off her hat and jacket and hangs them behind the screen]. How did you get in? FRANK. The staff had not left when I arrived. He’s gone to play cricket on Primrose Hill. Why don’t you employ a woman, and give your sex a chance? VIVIE. What have you come for? FRANK [springing off the stool and coming close to her] Viv: lets go and enjoy the Saturday half-holiday somewhere, like the staff. What do you say to Richmond, and then a music hall, and a jolly supper? VIVIE. Can’t afford it. I shall put in another six hours work before I go to bed. FRANK. Can’t afford it, can’t we? Aha! Look here. [He takes out a handful of sovereigns and makes them chink]. Gold, Viv: gold! VIVIE. Where did you get it? FRANK. Gambling, Viv: gambling. Poker. VIVIE. Pah! It’s meaner than stealing it. No: I’m not coming. [She sits down to work at the table, with her back to the glass door, and begins turning over the papers]. FRANK [remonstrating piteously] But, my dear Viv, I want to talk to you ever so seriously. VIVIE. Very well: sit down in Honoria’s chair and talk here. I like ten minutes chat after tea. [He murmurs]. No use groaning: I’m inexorable. [He takes the opposite seat disconsolately]. Pass that cigar box, will you? FRANK [pushing the cigar box across] Nasty womanly habit. Nice men don’t do it any longer. VIVIE. Yes: they object to the smell in the office; and we’ve had to take to cigarets. See! [She opens the box and takes out a cigaret, which she lights. She offers him one; but he shakes his head with a wry face. She settles herself comfortably in her chair, smoking]. Go ahead. FRANK. Well, I want to know what you’ve done—what arrangements you’ve made. VIVIE. Everything was settled twenty minutes after I arrived here. Honoria has found the business too much for her this year; and she was on the point of sending for me and proposing a partnership when I walked in and told her I hadn’t a farthing in the world. So I installed myself and packed her off for a fortnight’s holiday. What happened at Haslemere when I left? FRANK. Nothing at all. I said youd gone to town on particular business. VIVIE. Well? FRANK. Well, either they were too flabbergasted to say anything, or else Crofts had prepared your mother. Anyhow, she didn’t say anything; and Crofts didn’t say anything; and Praddy only stared. After tea they got up and went; and I’ve not seen them since. VIVIE [nodding placidly with one eye on a wreath of smoke] Thats all right. FRANK [looking round disparagingly] Do you intend to stick in this confounded place? VIVIE [blowing the wreath decisively away, and sitting straight up] Yes. These two days have given me back all my strength and self-possession. I will never take a holiday again as long as I live. FRANK [with a very wry face] Mps! You look quite happy. And as hard as nails. VIVIE [grimly] Well for me that I am! FRANK [rising] Look here, Viv: we must have an explanation. We parted the other day under a complete misunderstanding. [He sits on the table, close to her]. VIVIE [putting away the cigaret] Well: clear it up. FRANK. You remember what Crofts said. VIVIE. Yes. FRANK. That revelation was supposed to bring about a complete change in the nature of our feeling for one another. It placed us on the footing of brother and sister. VIVIE. Yes. FRANK. Have you ever had a brother? VIVIE. No. FRANK. Then you don’t know what being brother and sister feels like? Now I have lots of sisters; and the fraternal feeling is quite familiar to me. I assure you my feeling for you is not the least in the world like it. The girls will go their way; I will go mine; and we shan’t care if we never see one another again. Thats brother and sister. But as to you, I can’t be easy if I have to pass a week without seeing you. Thats not brother and sister. Its exactly what I felt an hour before Crofts made his revelation. In short, dear Viv, it’s love’s young dream. VIVIE [bitingly] The same feeling, Frank, that brought your father to my mother’s feet. Is that it? FRANK [so revolted that he slips off the table for a moment] I very strongly object, Viv, to have my feelings compared to any which the Reverend Samuel is capable of harboring; and I object still more to a comparison of you to your mother. [Resuming his perch] Besides, I don’t believe the story. I have taxed my father with it, and obtained from him what I consider tantamount to a denial. VIVIE. What did he say? FRANK. He said he was sure there must be some mistake. VIVIE. Do you believe him? FRANK. I am prepared to take his word against Crofts’. VIVIE. Does it make any difference? I mean in your imagination or conscience; for of course it makes no real difference. FRANK [shaking his head] None whatever to me. VIVIE. Nor to me. FRANK [staring] But this is ever so surprising! [He goes back to his chair]. I thought our whole relations were altered in your imagination and conscience, as you put it, the moment those words were out of that brute’s muzzle. VIVIE. No: it was not that. I didn’t believe him. I only wish I could. FRANK. Eh? VIVIE. I think brother and sister would be a very suitable relation for us. FRANK. You really mean that? VIVIE. Yes. It’s the only relation I care for, even if we could afford any other. I mean that. FRANK [raising his eyebrows like one on whom a new light has dawned, and rising with quite an effusion of chivalrous sentiment] My dear Viv: why didn’t you say so before? I am ever so sorry for persecuting you. I understand, of course. VIVIE [puzzled] Understand what? FRANK. Oh, I’m not a fool in the ordinary sense: only in the Scriptural sense of doing all the things the wise man declared to be folly, after trying them himself on the most extensive scale. I see I am no longer Vivvums’s little boy. Don’t be alarmed: I shall never call you Vivvums again—at least unless you get tired of your new little boy, whoever he may be. VIVIE. My new little boy! FRANK [with conviction] Must be a new little boy. Always happens that way. No other way, in fact. VIVIE. None that you know of, fortunately for you. [Someone knocks at the door.] FRANK. My curse upon yon caller, whoe’er he be! VIVIE. It’s Praed. He’s going to Italy and wants to say goodbye. I asked him to call this afternoon. Go and let him in. FRANK. We can continue our conversation after his departure for Italy. I’ll stay him out. [He goes to the door and opens it]. How are you, Praddy? Delighted to see you. Come in. [Praed, dressed for travelling, comes in, in high spirits.] PRAED. How do you do, Miss Warren? [She presses his hand cordially, though a certain sentimentality in his high spirits jars upon her]. I start in an hour from Holborn Viaduct. I wish I could persuade you to try Italy. VIVIE. What for? PRAED. Why, to saturate yourself with beauty and romance, of course. [Vivie, with a shudder, turns her chair to the table, as if the work waiting for her there were a support to her. Praed sits opposite to her. Frank places a chair near Vivie, and drops lazily and carelessly into it, talking at her over his shoulder.] FRANK. No use, Praddy. Viv is a little Philistine. She is indifferent to my romance, and insensible to my beauty. VIVIE. Mr Praed: once for all, there is no beauty and no romance in life for me. Life is what it is; and I am prepared to take it as it is. PRAED [enthusiastically] You will not say that if you come with me to Verona and on to Venice. You will cry with delight at living in such a beautiful world. FRANK. This is most eloquent, Praddy. Keep it up. PRAED. Oh, I assure you I have cried—I shall cry again, I hope—at fifty! At your age, Miss Warren, you would not need to go so far as Verona. Your spirits would absolutely fly up at the mere sight of Ostend. You would be charmed with the gaiety, the vivacity, the happy air of Brussels. VIVIE [springing up with an exclamation of loathing] Agh! PRAED [rising] Whats the matter? FRANK [rising] Hallo, Viv! VIVIE [to Praed, with deep reproach] Can you find no better example of your beauty and romance than Brussels to talk to me about? PRAED [puzzled] Of course it’s very different from Verona. I don’t suggest for a moment that— VIVIE [bitterly] Probably the beauty and romance come to much the same in both places. PRAED [completely sobered and much concerned] My dear Miss Warren: I—[looking enquiringly at Frank] Is anything the matter? FRANK. She thinks your enthusiasm frivolous, Praddy. She’s had ever such a serious call. VIVIE [sharply] Hold your tongue, Frank. Don’t be silly. FRANK [sitting down] Do you call this good manners, Praed? PRAED [anxious and considerate] Shall I take him away, Miss Warren? I feel sure we have disturbed you at your work. VIVIE. Sit down: I’m not ready to go back to work yet. [Praed sits]. You both think I have an attack of nerves. Not a bit of it. But there are two subjects I want dropped, if you don’t mind. One of them [to Frank] is love’s young dream in any shape or form: the other [to Praed] is the romance and beauty of life, especially Ostend and the gaiety of Brussels. You are welcome to any illusions you may have left on these subjects: I have none. If we three are to remain friends, I must be treated as a woman of business, permanently single [to Frank] and permanently unromantic [to Praed]. FRANK. I also shall remain permanently single until you change your mind. Praddy: change the subject. Be eloquent about something else. PRAED [diffidently] I’m afraid theres nothing else in the world that I can talk about. The Gospel of Art is the only one I can preach. I know Miss Warren is a great devotee of the Gospel of Getting On; but we can’t discuss that without hurting your feelings, Frank, since you are determined not to get on. FRANK. Oh, don’t mind my feelings. Give me some improving advice by all means: it does me ever so much good. Have another try to make a successful man of me, Viv. Come: lets have it all: energy, thrift, foresight, self-respect, character. Don’t you hate people who have no character, Viv? VIVIE [wincing] Oh, stop, stop. Let us have no more of that horrible cant. Mr Praed: if there are really only those two gospels in the world, we had better all kill ourselves; for the same taint is in both, through and through. FRANK [looking critically at her] There is a touch of poetry about you today, Viv, which has hitherto been lacking. PRAED [remonstrating] My dear Frank: aren’t you a little unsympathetic? VIVIE [merciless to herself] No: it’s good for me. It keeps me from being sentimental. FRANK [bantering her] Checks your strong natural propensity that way, don’t it? VIVIE [almost hysterically] Oh yes: go on: don’t spare me. I was sentimental for one moment in my life—beautifully sentimental—by moonlight; and now— FRANK [quickly] I say, Viv: take care. Don’t give yourself away. VIVIE. Oh, do you think Mr Praed does not know all about my mother? [Turning on Praed] You had better have told me that morning, Mr Praed. You are very old fashioned in your delicacies, after all. PRAED. Surely it is you who are a little old fashioned in your prejudices, Miss Warren. I feel bound to tell you, speaking as an artist, and believing that the most intimate human relationships are far beyond and above the scope of the law, that though I know that your mother is an unmarried woman, I do not respect her the less on that account. I respect her more. FRANK [airily] Hear! hear! VIVIE [staring at him] Is that all you know? PRAED. Certainly that is all. VIVIE. Then you neither of you know anything. Your guesses are innocence itself compared with the truth. PRAED [rising, startled and indignant, and preserving his politeness with an effort] I hope not. [More emphatically] I hope not, Miss Warren. FRANK [whistles] Whew! VIVIE. You are not making it easy for me to tell you, Mr Praed. PRAED [his chivalry drooping before their conviction] If there is anything worse—that is, anything else—are you sure you are right to tell us, Miss Warren? VIVIE. I am sure that if I had the courage I should spend the rest of my life in telling everybody—stamping and branding it into them until they all felt their part in its abomination as I feel mine. There is nothing I despise more than the wicked convention that protects these things by forbidding a woman to mention them. And yet I can’t tell you. The two infamous words that describe what my mother is are ringing in my ears and struggling on my tongue; but I can’t utter them: the shame of them is too horrible for me. [She buries her face in her hands. The two men, astonished, stare at one another and then at her. She raises her head again desperately and snatches a sheet of paper and a pen]. Here: let me draft you a prospectus. FRANK. Oh, she’s mad. Do you hear, Viv? mad. Come! pull yourself together. VIVIE. You shall see. [She writes]. “Paid up capital: not less than forty thousand pounds standing in the name of Sir George Crofts, Baronet, the chief shareholder. Premises at Brussels, Ostend, Vienna, and Budapest. Managing director: Mrs Warren”; and now don’t let us forget h e r qualifications: the two words. [She writes the words and pushes the paper to them]. There! Oh no: don’t read it: don’t! [She snatches it back and tears it to pieces; then seizes her head in her hands and hides her face on the table]. [Frank, who has watched the writing over her shoulder, and opened his eyes very widely at it, takes a card from his pocket; scribbles the two words on it; and silently hands it to Praed, who reads it with amazement, and hides it hastily in his pocket.] FRANK [whispering tenderly] Viv, dear: thats all right. I read what you wrote: so did Praddy. We understand. And we remain, as this leaves us at present, yours ever so devotedly. PRAED. We do indeed, Miss Warren. I declare you are the most splendidly courageous woman I ever met. [This sentimental compliment braces Vivie. She throws it away from her with an impatient shake, and forces herself to stand up, though not without some support from the table.] FRANK. Don’t stir, Viv, if you don’t want to. Take it easy. VIVIE. Thank you. You an always depend on me for two things: not to cry and not to faint. [She moves a few steps towards the door of the inner room, and stops close to Praed to say] I shall need much more courage than that when I tell my mother that we have come to a parting of the ways. Now I must go into the next room for a moment to make myself neat again, if you don’t mind. PRAED. Shall we go away? VIVIE. No: I’ll be back presently. Only for a moment. [She goes into the other room, Praed opening the door for her]. PRAED. What an amazing revelation! I’m extremely disappointed in Crofts: I am indeed. FRANK. I’m not in the least. I feel he’s perfectly accounted for at last. But what a facer for me, Praddy! I can’t marry her now. PRAED [sternly] Frank! [The two look at one another, Frank unruffled, Praed deeply indignant]. Let me tell you, Gardner, that if you desert her now you will behave very despicably. FRANK. Good old Praddy! Ever chivalrous! But you mistake: it’s not the moral aspect of the case: it’s the money aspect. I really can’t bring myself to touch the old woman’s money now. PRAED. And was that what you were going to marry on? FRANK. What else? I havn’t any money, nor the smallest turn for making it. If I married Viv now she would have to support me; and I should cost her more than I am worth. PRAED. But surely a clever bright fellow like you can make something by your own brains. FRANK. Oh yes, a little. [He takes out his money again]. I made all that yesterday in an hour and a half. But I made it in a highly speculative business. No, dear Praddy: even if Bessie and Georgina marry millionaires and the governor dies after cutting them off with a shilling, I shall have only four hundred a year. And he won’t die until he’s three score and ten: he hasn’t originality enough. I shall be on short allowance for the next twenty years. No short allowance for Viv, if I can help it. I withdraw gracefully and leave the field to the gilded youth of England. So that settled. I shan’t worry her about it: I’ll just send her a little note after we’re gone. She’ll understand. PRAED [grasping his hand] Good fellow, Frank! I heartily beg your pardon. But must you never see her again? FRANK. Never see her again! Hang it all, be reasonable. I shall come along as often as possible, and be her brother. I can not understand the absurd consequences you romantic people expect from the most ordinary transactions. [A knock at the door]. I wonder who this is. Would you mind opening the door? If it’s a client it will look more respectable than if I appeared. PRAED. Certainly. [He goes to the door and opens it. Frank sits down in Vivie’s chair to scribble a note]. My dear Kitty: come in: come in. [Mrs Warren comes in, looking apprehensively around for Vivie. She has done her best to make herself matronly and dignified. The brilliant hat is replaced by a sober bonnet, and the gay blouse covered by a costly black silk mantle. She is pitiably anxious and ill at ease: evidently panic-stricken.] MRS WARREN [to Frank] What! Y o u r e here, are you? FRANK [turning in his chair from his writing, but not rising] Here, and charmed to see you. You come like a breath of spring. MRS WARREN. Oh, get out with your nonsense. [In a low voice] Where’s Vivie? [Frank points expressively to the door of the inner room, but says nothing.] MRS WARREN [sitting down suddenly and almost beginning to cry] Praddy: won’t she see me, don’t you think? PRAED. My dear Kitty: don’t distress yourself. Why should she not? MRS WARREN. Oh, you never can see why not: youre too innocent. Mr Frank: did she say anything to you? FRANK [folding his note] She must see you, if [very expressively] you wait til she comes in. MRS WARREN [frightened] Why shouldn’t I wait? [Frank looks quizzically at her; puts his note carefully on the ink-bottle, so that Vivie cannot fail to find it when next she dips her pen; then rises and devotes his attention entirely to her.] FRANK. My dear Mrs Warren: suppose you were a sparrow—ever so tiny and pretty a sparrow hopping in the roadway—and you saw a steam roller coming in your direction, would you wait for it? MRS WARREN. Oh, don’t bother me with your sparrows. What did she run away from Haslemere like that for? FRANK. I’m afraid she’ll tell you if you rashly await her return. MRS WARREN. Do you want me to go away? FRANK. No: I always want you to stay. But I advise you to go away. MRS WARREN. What! And never see her again! FRANK. Precisely. MRS WARREN [crying again] Praddy: don’t let him be cruel to me. [She hastily checks her tears and wipes her eyes]. She’ll be so angry if she sees I’ve been crying. FRANK [with a touch of real compassion in his airy tenderness] You know that Praddy is the soul of kindness, Mrs Warren. Praddy: what do you say? Go or stay? PRAED [to Mrs Warren] I really should be very sorry to cause you unnecessary pain; but I think perhaps you had better not wait. The fact is—[Vivie is heard at the inner door]. FRANK. Sh! Too late. She’s coming. MRS WARREN. Don’t tell her I was crying. [Vivie comes in. She stops gravely on seeing Mrs Warren, who greets her with hysterical cheerfulness]. Well, dearie. So here you are at last. VIVIE. I am glad you have come: I want to speak to you. You said you were going, Frank, I think. FRANK. Yes. Will you come with me, Mrs Warren? What do you say to a trip to Richmond, and the theatre in the evening? There is safety in Richmond. No steam roller there. VIVIE. Nonsense, Frank. My mother will stay here. MRS WARREN [scared] I don’t know: perhaps I’d better go. We’re disturbing you at your work. VIVIE [with quiet decision] Mr Praed: please take Frank away. Sit down, mother. [Mrs Warren obeys helplessly]. PRAED. Come, Frank. Goodbye, Miss Vivie. VIVIE [shaking hands] Goodbye. A pleasant trip. PRAED. Thank you: thank you. I hope so. FRANK [to Mrs Warren] Goodbye: youd ever so much better have taken my advice. [He shakes hands with her. Then airily to Vivie] Byebye, Viv. VIVIE. Goodbye. [He goes out gaily without shaking hands with her]. PRAED [sadly] Goodbye, Kitty. MRS WARREN [snivelling]—oobye! [Praed goes. Vivie, composed and extremely grave, sits down in Honoria’s chair, and waits for her mother to speak. Mrs Warren, dreading a pause, loses no time in beginning.] MRS WARREN. Well, Vivie, what did you go away like that for without saying a word to me! How could you do such a thing! And what have you done to poor George? I wanted him to come with me; but he shuffled out of it. I could see that he was quite afraid of you. Only fancy: he wanted me not to come. As if [trembling] I should be afraid of you, dearie. [Vivie’s gravity deepens]. But of course I told him it was all settled and comfortable between us, and that we were on the best of terms. [She breaks down]. Vivie: whats the meaning of this? [She produces a commercial envelope, and fumbles at the enclosure with trembling fingers]. I got it from the bank this morning. VIVIE. It is my month’s allowance. They sent it to me as usual the other day. I simply sent it back to be placed to your credit, and asked them to send you the lodgment receipt. In future I shall support myself. MRS WARREN [not daring to understand] Wasn’t it enough? Why didn’t you tell me? [With a cunning gleam in her eye] I’ll double it: I was intending to double it. Only let me know how much you want. VIVIE. You know very well that that has nothing to do with it. From this time I go my own way in my own business and among my own friends. And you will go yours. [She rises]. Goodbye. MRS WARREN [rising, appalled] Goodbye? VIVIE. Yes: goodbye. Come: don’t let us make a useless scene: you understand perfectly well. Sir George Crofts has told me the whole business. MRS WARREN [angrily] Silly old—[She swallows an epithet, and then turns white at the narrowness of her escape from uttering it]. VIVIE. Just so. MRS WARREN. He ought to have his tongue cut out. But I thought it was ended: you said you didn’t mind. VIVIE [steadfastly] Excuse me: I do mind. MRS WARREN. But I explained— VIVIE. You explained how it came about. You did not tell me that it is still going on [She sits]. [Mrs Warren, silenced for a moment, looks forlornly at Vivie, who waits, secretly hoping that the combat is over. But the cunning expression comes back into Mrs Warren’s face; and she bends across the table, sly and urgent, half whispering.] MRS WARREN. Vivie: do you know how rich I am? VIVIE. I have no doubt you are very rich. MRS WARREN. But you don’t know all that that means; youre too young. It means a new dress every day; it means theatres and balls every night; it means having the pick of all the gentlemen in Europe at your feet; it means a lovely house and plenty of servants; it means the choicest of eating and drinking; it means everything you like, everything you want, everything you can think of. And what are you here? A mere drudge, toiling and moiling early and late for your bare living and two cheap dresses a year. Think over it. [Soothingly] Youre shocked, I know. I can enter into your feelings; and I think they do you credit; but trust me, nobody will blame you: you may take my word for that. I know what young girls are; and I know youll think better of it when you’ve turned it over in your mind. VIVIE. So that’s how it is done, is it? You must have said all that to many a woman, to have it so pat. MRS WARREN [passionately] What harm am I asking you to do? [Vivie turns away contemptuously. Mrs Warren continues desperately] Vivie: listen to me: you don’t understand: you were taught wrong on purpose: you don’t know what the world is really like. VIVIE [arrested] Taught wrong on purpose! What do you mean? MRS WARREN. I mean that youre throwing away all your chances for nothing. You think that people are what they pretend to be: that the way you were taught at school and college to think right and proper is the way things really are. But it’s not: it’s all only a pretence, to keep the cowardly slavish common run of people quiet. Do you want to find that out, like other women, at forty, when you’ve thrown yourself away and lost your chances; or won’t you take it in good time now from your own mother, that loves you and swears to you that it’s truth: gospel truth? [Urgently] Vivie: the big people, the clever people, the managing people, all know it. They do as I do, and think what I think. I know plenty of them. I know them to speak to, to introduce you to, to make friends of for you. I don’t mean anything wrong: thats what you don’t understand: your head is full of ignorant ideas about me. What do the people that taught you know about life or about people like me? When did they ever meet me, or speak to me, or let anyone tell them about me? the fools! Would they ever have done anything for you if I hadn’t paid them? Havn’t I told you that I want you to be respectable? Havn’t I brought you up to be respectable? And how can you keep it up without my money and my influence and Lizzie’s friends? Can’t you see that youre cutting your own throat as well as breaking my heart in turning your back on me? VIVIE. I recognize the Crofts philosophy of life, mother. I heard it all from him that day at the Gardners’. MRS WARREN. You think I want to force that played-out old sot on you! I don’t, Vivie: on my oath I don’t. VIVIE. It would not matter if you did: you would not succeed. [Mrs Warren winces, deeply hurt by the implied indifference towards her affectionate intention. Vivie, neither understanding this nor concerning herself about it, goes on calmly] Mother: you don’t at all know the sort of person I am. I don’t object to Crofts more than to any other coarsely built man of his class. To tell you the truth, I rather admire him for being strongminded enough to enjoy himself in his own way and make plenty of money instead of living the usual shooting, hunting, dining-out, tailoring, loafing life of his set merely because all the rest do it. And I’m perfectly aware that if I’d been in the same circumstances as my aunt Liz, I’d have done exactly what she did. I don’t think I’m more prejudiced or straitlaced than you: I think I’m less. I’m certain I’m less sentimental. I know very well that fashionable morality is all a pretence, and that if I took your money and devoted the rest of my life to spending it fashionably, I might be as worthless and vicious as the silliest woman could possibly be without having a word said to me about it. But I don’t want to be worthless. I shouldn’t enjoy trotting about the park to advertize my dressmaker and carriage builder, or being bored at the opera to shew off a shopwindowful of diamonds. MRS WARREN [bewildered] But— VIVIE. Wait a moment: I’ve not done. Tell me why you continue your business now that you are independent of it. Your sister, you told me, has left all that behind her. Why don’t you do the same? MRS WARREN. Oh, it’s all very easy for Liz: she likes good society, and has the air of being a lady. Imagine me in a cathedral town! Why, the very rooks in the trees would find me out even if I could stand the dulness of it. I must have work and excitement, or I should go melancholy mad. And what else is there for me to do? The life suits me: I’m fit for it and not for anything else. If I didn’t do it somebody else would; so I don’t do any real harm by it. And then it brings in money; and I like making money. No: it’s no use: I can’t give it up—not for anybody. But what need you know about it? I’ll never mention it. I’ll keep Crofts away. I’ll not trouble you much: you see I have to be constantly running about from one place to another. Youll be quit of me altogether when I die. VIVIE. No: I am my mother’s daughter. I am like you: I must have work, and must make more money than I spend. But my work is not your work, and my way is not your way. We must part. It will not make much difference to us: instead of meeting one another for perhaps a few months in twenty years, we shall never meet: thats all. MRS WARREN [her voice stifled in tears] Vivie: I meant to have been more with you: I did indeed. VIVIE. It’s no use, mother: I am not to be changed by a few cheap tears and entreaties any more than you are, I daresay. MRS WARREN [wildly] Oh, you call a mother’s tears cheap. VIVIE. They cost you nothing; and you ask me to give you the peace and quietness of my whole life in exchange for them. What use would my company be to you if you could get it? What have we two in common that could make either of us happy together? MRS WARREN [lapsing recklessly into her dialect] We’re mother and daughter. I want my daughter. I’ve a right to you. Who is to care for me when I’m old? Plenty of girls have taken to me like daughters and cried at leaving me; but I let them all go because I had you to look forward to. I kept myself lonely for you. You’ve no right to turn on me now and refuse to do your duty as a daughter. VIVIE [jarred and antagonized by the echo of the slums in her mother’s voice] My duty as a daughter! I thought we should come to that presently. Now once for all, mother, you want a daughter and Frank wants a wife. I don’t want a mother; and I don’t want a husband. I have spared neither Frank nor myself in sending him about his business. Do you think I will spare you? MRS WARREN [violently] Oh, I know the sort you are: no mercy for yourself or anyone else. I know. My experience has done that for me anyhow: I can tell the pious, canting, hard, selfish woman when I meet her. Well, keep yourself to yourself: I don’t want you. But listen to this. Do you know what I would do with you if you were a baby again? aye, as sure as there’s a Heaven above us. VIVIE. Strangle me, perhaps. MRS WARREN. No: I’d bring you up to be a real daughter to me, and not what you are now, with your pride and your prejudices and the college education you stole from me: yes, stole: deny it if you can: what was it but stealing? I’d bring you up in my own house, I would. VIVIE [quietly] In one of your own houses. MRS WARREN [screaming] Listen to her! listen to how she spits on her mother’s grey hairs! Oh, may you live to have your own daughter tear and trample on you as you have trampled on me. And you will: you will. No woman ever had luck with a mother’s curse on her. VIVIE. I wish you wouldn’t rant, mother. It only hardens me. Come: I suppose I am the only young woman you ever had in your power that you did good to. Don’t spoil it all now. MRS WARREN. Yes, Heaven forgive me, it’s true; and you are the only one that ever turned on me. Oh, the injustice of it! the injustice! the injustice! I always wanted to be a good woman. I tried honest work; and I was slave-driven until I cursed the day I ever heard of honest work. I was a good mother; and because I made my daughter a good woman she turns me out as if I were a leper. Oh, if I only had my life to live over again! I’d talk to that lying clergyman in the school. From this time forth, so help me Heaven in my last hour, I’ll do wrong and nothing but wrong. And I’ll prosper on it. VIVIE. Yes: it’s better to choose your line and go through with it. If I had been you, mother, I might have done as you did; but I should not have lived one life and believed in another. You are a conventional woman at heart. That is why I am bidding you goodbye now. I am right, am I not? MRS WARREN [taken aback] Right to throw away all my money! VIVIE. No: right to get rid of you? I should be a fool not to. Isn’t that so? MRS WARREN [sulkily] Oh well, yes, if you come to that, I suppose you are. But Lord help the world if everybody took to doing the right thing! And now I’d better go than stay where I’m not wanted. [She turns to the door]. VIVIE [kindly] Won’t you shake hands? MRS WARREN [after looking at her fiercely for a moment with a savage impulse to strike her] No, thank you. Goodbye. VIVIE [matter-of-factly] Goodbye. [Mrs Warren goes out, slamming the door behind her. The strain on Vivie’s face relaxes; her grave expression breaks up into one of joyous content; her breath goes out in a half sob, half laugh of intense relief. She goes buoyantly to her place at the writing table; pushes the electric lamp out of the way; pulls over a great sheaf of papers; and is in the act of dipping her pen in the ink when she finds Frank’s note. She opens it unconcernedly and reads it quickly, giving a little laugh at some quaint turn of expression in it]. And goodbye, Frank. [She tears the note up and tosses the pieces into the wastepaper basket without a second thought. Then she goes at her work with a plunge, and soon becomes absorbed in its figures]. End of Project Gutenberg’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, by George Bernard Shaw 120

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