From the clothes depicted, I try to make a guess about the period of the paintings, observe the facial expressions carefully to gauge the mood of the subjects and the painter. Paintings of live situations especially fascinate me. Market scenes, dance sequences, party scenes: these bring out the mood of the subjects remarkably well, as compared to inanimate objects, I feel. Of particular interest to me are the paintings by French impressionists.
A chance visit to Tate Museum, London created an interest in me for works by French painters. The painting, A Woman o a Bench (1874) by Claude Monet caught my eye and made me feel that I had to carry out some research in this area. The lady sitting gracefully on a bench in the garden seems to be waiting for someone, yet seems so dignified in her waiting. There were hardly any problems faced in Tate Museum, other than the fact that I wanted to see some more paintings by French Impressionists.
Next was a visit to the V&.AMuseum. The museum is huge, very impressive and a treat for art lovers. Here I found a few paintings by French artists, but not many pertaining to my subject. As the museum concentrates on variety, the collections are vast and range from contemporary to historic exhibits of not only paintings, but sculptures and other works of art. French artists of the nineteenth century do not feature very prominently here. Thus, I was not able to gather much information about my topic of research here. (kindly check with someone who has visited the museum, as I didn’t find much online).
Next was a visit to The National Gallery. It is a true paradise for art lovers and a great place for Impressionist paintings. There is a formidable collection of paintings by French artists of the nineteenth century depicting the social orders of the period. I will be describing scenes from these paintings in the following paragraphs.
Various sources have been used in compiling this report. The annotated bibliography of these sources is given below:
‘Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando’, 1879. London, The National Gallery.
1834 – 1917
Degas specialised in scenes of contemporary life, including dancers, entertainers and women at their toilette. He was a master of technique, and experimented with various media, including pastel. Degas remains popular today. his changing styles and preoccupations are well represented in the Collection.
Degas exhibited from the beginning with the Impressionists in Paris. He was able to follow an independent path. his private income meant that he was not forced to attract buyers. Degas spent most of his life in Paris, abandoning his study of law in 1855 to train with the academic painter Louis Lamothe. In 1855 he studied at the cole des Beaux-Arts. He was in Rome 1856/7, and subsequently often travelled to Italy. He admired Ingres, but soon developed an Impressionist approach, under the influence of Manet, whom he knew well.
‘Corner of a Caf-Concert’, probably 1878-80.
London, The National Gallery.
Manet, Edouard was the elder statesman of the Impressionists, but never took part in their exhibitions. He continued to compete in the Salons where he sought approval all his life. His unconventional subject matter of modern life, and his free handling of paint made him an important precursor of