This is a very interesting puzzle, a type that I have not seen before. I wasn’t able to solve it, but you may have better luck.
This is perhaps the largest collection of Impressionist paintings anywhere in the world, and I spent the better part of my visit being amazed at all the beautiful work there, and admiring the evolution of this movement.
The best part about this collection is that most of it is on their fifth floor, and is presented in a chronological order that shows how the form grew. Before coming here, I thought that Impressionists always did Impressionism, so seeing Monet’s work from his earlier period was quite astounding. For instance Trophée de chasse which is shown below is something I could never recognize as Monet’s work before coming here.
The history of Impressionism is quite amazing, and if you were to start from the start then the Paris Salon is where you have to start from. The Salon started in 1667, and was the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Contemporary artists used to vie to get their work featured in the Salon, and getting featured was a sign that you have arrived. This was a very prestigious annual event, and in 1863 Édouard Manet painted Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe or the Luncheon on Grass which was rejected by the critics of the Salon.
I didn’t know anything about the history of the painting, but even then seeing the real thing makes quite an impression. It is huge, and the nude girl’s gaze is quite startling; it is also a bit confusing to see why the guys are dressed as they are while the girls are nude and almost nude.
In some sense, this is where it all started.
Manet took his rejection as an opportunity to showcase his work in the Salon des Refusés which was the exhibition of rejects, and although it took place a while before, and a while after — the most prominent one was in 1863 when Manet displayed the above painting along with works from other artists of the time who were also rejected by the Salon.
He inspired a new era of painters to break away from the traditional school of thought at the time, and this excerpt captures his influence on this artists beautifully:
Édouard Manet was among the first and most important innovators to emerge in the public exhibition scene in Paris. Although he grew up in admiration of the Old Masters, he began to incorporate an innovative, looser painting style and brighter palette in the early 1860s. He also started to focus on images of everyday life, such as scenes in cafes, boudoirs, and out in the street. His anti-academic style and quintessentially modern subject matter soon attracted the attention of artists on the fringes and influenced a new type of painting that would diverge from the standards of the official salon.
Jump to 1874, and a group of artists who called themselves Société Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs, etc. or Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc. displayed an exhibition that launched Impressionism. The founders of this society were to become the most famous Impressionists, and they were Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Pierre Prins and Berthe Morisot.
As you may notice, the artists never called themselves Impressionists, and the name was in fact an insult hurled at them by a critic named Louis Leroy who accused Monet’s Impression Sunrise, as being just an “impression”.
What Leroy meant was that impressions were something artists quickly put together to capture what they were seeing at the time in order to go back to the studio and finish the work. So, he was accusing the artist of peddling something that was unfinished.
The artists turned this around on him when they embraced the name, and the whole movement started being referred to Impressionism.
What a lot of these artists were trying to do was to capture was the “fleeting moment”. They were mastering the effect that light had on the outside environment and Monet especially painted “en plein air” or in open air.
Claude Monet is my favorite painter of this genre and if you peruse his work from the Musée d’Orsay in a chronological order you can see how it evolved to be more and more impression like, and it is really quite amazing to see the progression.
One of my favorite paintings from this visit was the La Gare Saint-Lazare because of the play on colors and how vivid this painting feels; it is just quite excquisite.
What he did was quite astounding as well, and the painting below called “Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte – 1884″ or A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – 1884 is his most famous work.
This is not present in the Musée d’Orsay, but Art Institute of Chicago where I think I have seen it. If you look closely you will see that he has applied a million dots in a pattern to create this image! This is called Pointillism.
I have seen this type of work at several places, and I also own a painting in this form which shows a scene in Chicago, but didn’t quite know what this was.
I really enjoyed my museum visit, and it gave me a good anchor to understand Impressionism, and see its evolution. It also helps give a context to the artists who came after like Van Gogh, and the work of the Old Masters from which the likes of Monet broke away, and that will be a topic of a future post. In the meantime, I hope you found this post fun, and instructive, and please do leave a comment if you have any questions or anything to add.
Came across two very interesting puzzles today, and rather relieved at solving both of them unlike the last one I came across.
This is the first one:
Jack is looking at Anne, but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married, but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?
Click here for solution.
This is the second one:
Shown above are four men buried up to their necks in the ground. They cannot move, so they can only look forward. Between A and B is a brick wall which cannot be seen through.
They all know that between them they are wearing four hats–two black and two white–but they do not know what color they are wearing. Each of them know where the other three men are buried.
In order to avoid being shot, one of them must call out to the executioner the color of their hat. If they get it wrong, everyone will be shot. They are not allowed to talk to each other and have 10 minutes to fathom it out.
After one minute, one of them calls out.
Question: Which one of them calls out? Why is he 100% certain of the color of his hat?
This is not a trick question. There are no outside influences nor other ways of communicating. They cannot move and are buried in a straight line; A & B can only see their respective sides of the wall, C can see B, and D can see B & C.
Click here and scroll to the bottom to see the solution.
I was really shocked when I first learn how big Africa was and how the Mercator map projection distorts our view of the sizes of landmasses, but it still took me some time to process that New York city was further south than Rome?
It’s quite amazing to look at the map and realize they seem to be about level, and it is true because at 40.7° N, New York is just slightly south of Rome which is 41.9° N.
Also interesting that Istanbul is the same latitude as Chicago!
Alaska is extremely impressive in its size because it is over half a million square miles in size, and is twice the size of California, and also happens to be larger than all but 18 countries in the world!
But what amazed me most that it happens to be technically both the westernmost and easternmost state in the United States because it extends into the eastern hemisphere, and of course, it is the northern most state as well.