Running Head: From the Baroque Period Through the Romantic Age From the Baroque Period through the Romantic Age Art Appreciation Darlene Heffron Introduction The artists of the Realism era depicted in their paintings what they saw around them. Unfortunately it was war. During the eighteenth century, faced with the reality of war, the era of idealism seemed absurd to most and therefore realism scenes of battles and the aftermath of the dying were the topics for an artist to create on canvas.
Even through these times of war, these artists conveyed different messages, which were quite apparent through their work. There were three particular paintings that depicted those dark times and they are: Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People c. 1830, Ernest Meissonier, Memory of Civil War (The Barricades) c. 1849, and Gustave Courbet, Burial at Ornans, c.
1849. Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People c. 1830 This detailed painting depicts a battle which took place during the Revolution in July 1830. The painting is very realistic.
In Paris, on July 27, 28, and 29, 1830, Eugene Delacroix witnessed first hand the uprising known as the Trois Glorieuses (“Three Glorious Days”), and was started by liberal republicans for violating the Constitution of the government (Sayre, H. M. 2010). Charles X, the last Bourbon king of France was ousted out and Louis Philippe replaced him as the new leader.
Delacroix saw this particular battle as good subject matter for a painting and he went to work. His imagination was fired up with passion. He knew this event would change the course of history and reverse the trends of the artist.He depicted this with all manner of things: a natural world portrayed with rage with an explosion on a street in Paris (Louvre Museum.
n. d. ). Delacroix depended solely on members of the royal family and donations from various institutions to help fund his art projects.
Sketches were done prior to the start of each painting. Each scene and element was carefully drawn out in detail. He focus was on the dramatic and visual impact of each scene. The main vocal point being the crowd breaking through the barricades to make its final assault on the enemy camp.
Liberty depicted as a woman of the people wearing a Phrygian hat with her hair in curls onto her neck, appears to be rebellious, and victorious raising the red, white and blue flag in her right hand as a symbol of struggle which unfurls toward the lit sky like a flame. Liberty is wearing a yellowish colored dress draped and gathered at the waistline with a belt which streams down her sides (Louvre Museum. n. d.
). The dress appears to have slipped down exposing her breasts and underarm hair which was considered vulgar by classical artists whom believed a goddess’s skin should be soft and smooth.The realism of her nudity, her Greek profile, full mouth, straight nose, a slight chin and smoldering gaze are a reminder of the Women of Algiers at their home. Her body illuminated on the right side, as she stands proud and noble.
She stands out from all the men in the painting. Delacroix had written to his brother and stated, “I have undertaken a modern subject, a barricade, and although I may not have fought for my country, at least I shall have painted for her. It has restored my good spirits” (Louvre Museum. .
d. ). There appears to be a corpse in the picture without pants with his arms stretched out and shirt turned upward, this is another mythical reference to a classical nude model Hector, referring to a Homeric hero (Louvre Museum. n.
d. ). There is a Swiss guard lying on his back, wearing a campaign uniform: a grayish blue colored coat with red decorations on the collar, white gaiters, low profile shoes, and a shako. Here is where the balance of the artist’s brushwork and rhythm of the scene is apparent.
Even though the background on the right side of the painting consists of an urban type landscape, it still seems quite distant and empty compared to the battle chaos on the left side, with the Notre Dame Cathedral in the distant surrounded by smoke (Sayre, H. M. 2010). Ernest Meissonier, Memory of Civil War (The Barricades) The second piece is a painting done in 1849 by Ernest Meissonier called Memory of Civil War (The Barricades).
The picture is extremely realistic, Meissonier painted each figure on the canvas intermingled with the cobblestones (Louvre Museum. n. d. ).
He used the same attention to detail throughout the entire painting. However the picture portrays a historical scene without a message or comment. An artist’s reaction to a horrific sight before him may be Meissonier’s way of communicating through the painting of his own social class, the under-privileged (Louvre Museum. n.
d. ). The Paris street scene, following a barricade taken by the National Guard during the workers riots in June 1848, is very real, because the artist was at the scene. This masterpiece depicts the corpses of rioters lying among the large cobblestones on the street.
Meissonier painted this picture following a watercolor (Musee du Louvre) done at the scene on June 25, 1848, the time of the workers riots. Meissonier tried to place the painting on exhibit at the 1849 Salon under the name “June”, but changed his mind due to the fact the events of the paintings contents were too recent. Therefore he went on to exhibit the painting in 1850-51 at the Salon and named it “Memory of Civil War. ” The critics however did not agree with the subject matter of the painting and Theophile Gautier (1811-1872) was quoted as saying, “this trusty truth that no-one wants to tell” (Louvre Museum.
. d. ). Most of Meissonier’s work depicts every day life under the Ancient Regime and are in small format.
Meissonier was a small man which earned him a proper nickname by Edgar Degas “the giant among dwarves”. Gustave Courbet: Burial at Ornans The third one, by Gustave Courbet, Burial at Ornans, done in 1849 depicts a burial of his Grand Uncle. Courbet uses the people of Ornans as models to portray the mourners, and attendants. Courbet said that he “painted the very people who had been present at the interment, all the townspeople” (Gustave Courbet, n.
d. ).Courbet has created distractions within the painting that tell a panoramic story. People throughout the painting all seem to be distracted or rather not interested in the ceremony-taking place in front of them.
Even the dog is looking away from the main event. The crucifix held by a religious attendant is the only thing seen in the horizon of the muted tones of the sky. However no one sees it as any great spiritual significance. This painting is quite large, standing at 10 ft.
3 1. 2 in. X 21 ft. 9 in.
There is an open grave dug in the forefront surrounded by anS-curve of different people such as pallbearers, a Priest, a few alter boys, a gravedigger, and relatives and friends of the dead. The composition has a radical and deliberate choice of title of the town and not the name of Courbet’s Grand Uncle (Shafer, A. 1999). The figures are framed by dirt and rock, an alter boy gazes up innocently at a pall- bearer, a young girl peeks around the skirt of a villager, and some women are seen crying into their handkerchiefs.
Courbet manages to instill the human touch into his painting.People of this era grew apart from the Romanticism popularity and drew closer to the symbolic Realist phenomena. Courbet said: “The Burial at Ornans was in reality the burial of Romanticism” (Gustave Courbet, n. d.
). These paintings were done in a time the country was faced with the awful reality of war. The artists depict the realism through the canvas convincing the viewer of the accuracy the art represents (Sayre, H. M.
2010). These artists believed that they should confine their representations to accurate observations of every day life.There just wasn’t any greater reality beyond the actual facts that were right before their eyes. Delocroix’s Liberty Leading the people depicts an idealized figure where as the battle itself, the July Revolution in 1830 was very real.
In Courbet’s Burial at Ornans painting was created on an enormous canvas. Depicting life sized figures onto a canvas of this size made the scene seem even more real. Meissonier’s Memory of Civil War (The Barracades) is more of a subtle aftermath of a war scene. With dull coloring and haze throughout, leaves you with the realization of the final outcome.
What all three of these paintings depict is death, violence, and the agony of defeat. These three paintings were done from artists who depicted the perfect reality out of a series of observations. Those observations were war and the dreadful elements that came along with war. The accuracy of each piece of work lies in the eyes of the beholder.
| References Gustave Courbet (n. d. ) Burial at Ornans. Retrieved on April 16, 2010 from website: http://www.
spiritus-temporis. com/gustave-courbet/burial-at-ornans. html Louvre Museum. (n.
d. ) French Paintings.Retrieved on April 17, 2010 from website: http://www. louvre.
fr/llv/oeuvres/detail_notice. jsp? CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673226338&CURRENT_LLV_NOTICE%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673226338&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=9852723696500815&baseIndex=8&bmLocale=en Sayre, H. M. (2010) A World of Art.
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Realism. Sixth ed. Chap.
20 (p. 487-493). Prentice Hall. Pearson Pub.
Shafer, A. (1999) Art Annotations. Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database. Retrieved on April 17, 2010 from website: http://litmed.
med. nyu. edu/Annotation? action=view&annid=10337