This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
AND OTHER ESSAYS
TRANSLATED .A:ND EDITED
BY JONATHAN MAYNE
• -.~ .- :. j • '._ •• .
IIIIDI ROJI1, gtk Park. Pen and watcr-colour. London, Mr. Tom F
the beauty of circumstance and the sketch of manners. though secondary. past rows of very interesting. Fortunately from time to time there come forward righters of wrong. or Racine. fancy that they have mastered the history of literature. the Saint-Aubins and many others have found their places in the dictionary of artists who are worthy of study. does not contain the whole secret. not a few saying to themselves. amateurs. but also precisely because it is the past. Debucourt.THE PAINTER OF MODERN LIFE I. having once read Bossuet and Racine. critics. But these represent the past: my concem today is with the painting of manners of the present.' Just as there are people who. BEAUTY. but also to its essential quality of being present. pictures. The value which collectors today attach to the delightful coloured engravings of the last century proves that a reaction has set in in the direction where it was required. It must be admitted that for some years now the world has been mending its ways a little. and that the minor poets too have something good. then they will go home happy. I have before me a series of fashion-p~atesl dating from the 1 Early in 1859 Baudelaire was writing to his friend and publisher Poulet-Malassis. without so much as a glance. 'Iknow my Museum. It is the same with the present. to declare that Raphael. FASHION AND HAPPINESS THE world-and even the world of artists-is full of people who can go to the Louvre. solid and delight£ul to offer. as it is expressed by classical poets and artists. and finally that however much we may love general beauty. to thank him for sending him fashion-plates. . walk rapidly. to come to a rapturous halt in front of a Titian or a Raphael-one of those that have been most popularized by the engraver's art. The past is interesting not only by reason of the beauty which could be distilled from it by those artists for whom it was the present. The pleasure which we derive from the representation of the present is due not only to the beauty with which it can be invested. curious enquirers. for its historical value. we are no less wrong to neglect particular beauty.
d single scrap of beauty which .2 The Painter oj Modern Lije Revolution and finishing more or less with the Consulate. beauty has always found its sansthe maddest. y w . tmpe s are often a us~ful spur to agreeable critic.~ duali is no less to be seen.w the diV111. The transitions would be as elaborately articulated as they are in the animal kingdom. Its . chap. in the other. Without this secOl~ .l One day perhaps someone will put on a play in which we shall see a resurrection of those costumes in which our fathers found themselves every bit as faScinating as we do ourselves in our poor garments (which also have a grace of their own. rounds off or squares his gesture. or almost all of them. to s ow the i . one both artistic and historical. That is why Sten . l' ion d'une certaine maniere His/oire tk la Peintllre en Italie: 'La beaute est express habituelle de chercher Ie bonheur. also the footnote in chap. And if to the fashion plate representing each age he were to add the philosophic thought with which that age was most preoccupied or concerned-the thought being inevitably suggested by the fashion-plate_he would see IAn alternative form of the word 'chaIe'. of ha iness. These costumes. The Painter oj Modern Life 3 controls all the components of history. d . we shall be astonished at ever having been able to mock them so stupidly. and what I am happy to find in all.. If an impartial student were to look through the whole range of French costume.:r ~:n % -ar: l!uty 1 Creper refers to De J'AmOIlr. if you w . the ill iled and expressed if not by time the eternal part of beauty w e ve t f the artist The duality f: hi 1 t by the particular temperamen 0 .2 And then. 2 See the remarks at the end of the Salon oj ISI! and the section of the Salon oj ISlif entitled 'On the Heroism of Modern Life'.ap f digestion or appreciation. that it produces is . cir th e its fashions its morals. The idea of beauty which man creates for himself imprints itself on his whole attire. but one whose tmpe~nc~ than many another when reflection-approached the ~th more ose y . of art is a fatal consequence.'! This he said that 'Beauty is nothing elthse but akP. b I nging to one of those ages we. and in the long run even ends by subtly penetrating the very features of his face.. he would find nothing to shock nor even to surprise him. cessively difficult to determine. osition Beauty is made up of an eternal. and of a re atrve. e. but rather of a moral and spiritual type). These engravings can be translated either into beauty or ugliness. 11 rtunity to establish a rational and Thi~ is in fact an exce en: o:!:ast to the academic theory of an historical theory of beauty. I· . the amusing. it must be admitted. the past will recover the light and movement of life and will become present. at the same we characterize as CIvilized.. XVIT: . Without losing anything of its ghostly attraction. ItS whether severally or all at o~ce'l e ~g . not a single surprise. . alth gh e tmpresslon of a double compos~o~. thed111gr~ the discipline of the . element would be be!ond ou~ powers~e I defy anyone to point to a neither adapted nor swtab~e tO umant~ontain these two elements. oes no in history In religious art the Let me instance two OppOSIteextremes. if they are worn and given life by intelligent actors and actresses. e .' • c£. Cashmere shawls became fashionable in France somewhat later than in England. from the origin of our country until the present day. The women who Wore these costumes were themselves more or less like one or the other type. It is still possible today for the spectator's imagination to give a stir and a rustle to this 'tunique' or that 'schall'. cumstantial element. Man ends by looking like his ideal self. Consider. d btless overshoots e mar . according to the degree of poetry or vulgarity with which they were stamped. is the moral and aesthetic feeling of their time. invariable element. ~cult to discern the variable elements of single-f~r ~e ::t lto~ the impression invalidates in no way the beauty wIthin. Living flesh imparted a flowing movement to what seems to us too stiff. die~t of eternal beauty duality is evident at the first gl~c~. ill as on. lf nl ith the permissron an un er reveals itse o. arttst . necessity of variety 111 comp. it strips Beauty too z: . Subje~~~ th~uinfinitely variable ideal of Happiness..y hich seem to us the most monstrous ~d that even 111 thos~ centuralle:~_ £. at eas f th d ality of man. penzing lC111gon '. sophisticate .r~:ru=akes far too defini . bI In the most frivolous work of a religion to which the arttst e ongs. 0 e u ul f art and the variable element th all bsisting portion as the so 0 . crumples or stiffens his dress. w c w. hi h in our vanity. in one direction. lIO of. They are often very beautiful and drawn with wit. There would not be a single gap: and thus.the . the immort tmrst or faction. and what a pr~found harmon. antique statues. whose quan~ty It ISex hi h ill be if you like. which seem laughable to many thoughtless people-people who are grave without true gravity-have a double-natured charm.. they become caricatures. entlC111g. hich might be described as emotions. but what to me is every bit as important. h that beauty is always and inevitably unique and absolute beauty. cake the first e . . di e etem y su dhal=-an i rtinent teasing even a sas its body.
has eternity that It contains. I dg ents thrown up by chance. gular request. at once to reveal itself as admirably fitted for this enormous. but it has the great merit of making a decided break with the academic error. The Painter oj Modern Life omes closer to the novelist or the moralist. The coloured engravings of the eighteenth century have once again Won the plaudits of fashion.shyness. I t important tr es. and e~en an Englishman in vutue 0 hr . in the article on 'Critical Method' on the occasion of the Exposition Usiof 1855. that the majority of my own countrymen at least have but little inclination for these. to Daumier and possessed a few men of this s~amp. th d iption that I am about to gIve. ich I will preserve e .l And these few lines will already have said enough on the subject for those who have a taste for the diversions of abstract thought. histor~s ene Lami-the last of these almost Restorat.pinality that it is sufficient unto itself so powerful and so decided an ong t a sin Ie one of his drawings is and does not even seek approval. Observer. pronounce upon preCIOUS historica 1 Constantin Guys (1802. very impenous y. and who himself executes . t d of all the suggestions of . I f poverty and the humble life. I' t ted in matters o a . known. though apparently so frivolous a task.ion. Pastel. Tass::: lov~ for aristocratic elegance. in s and his watercolours (for whi concern ourselves . .).l carries A passionate lover ~f crowds an tn~ Th. he is a poet. Sometimes Z 1E..'\'?th his draw th~u h we were scholars who had to he professes a patrician sco~) as.z I am satisfied that Balzac himself would not have been averse from accepting this idea. etching and aquatint have one by one contributed their quota to that vast dictionary of modem life whose leaves are distributed through the libraries. W~tt1e~. at the foot 0 eir eas h have seen and appreciated them . And then lithography appeared. the technical means that is the most expeditious and the least costly will obviously be the best. 2 O F R the sketch of manners. s Stn does not exist. th ficti that Monsieur G. as though at an columns of a London review. . jlaneur-call him what you will. f hi mind and his talent. but whatever words you use in trying to define this kind of artist. you will certainly be led to bestow upon him some adjective which you could not apply to the painter of eternal. and I myself am impatient to embark upon the positive and concrete part of my subject. MAN OF TlIE CROWD. th ublic about a strange man.g. The reader and artist. in the daily metamorphosis of external things. ocum . a man of o T DAY I want to disco~rse to e. and we shall . . h he learnt that I had it in his vi Recently agatn.. however. more often he c. escr itos Monsieur C. No . by which I mean that it contains a strong literary element. WIth IS az g. to speak of th~ ~ thi . mus a if they were those of an anonymous of his works. Maurin. The works of Gavami and Daumier have been justly described as complements to the ComMie Humaine.. tlersel/e. who. MAN OF THE WORLD. which is all the more just in that the genius of the painter of manners is of a mixed nature. IS deep y tn eres da of Monsieur G. philosopher.e wa: furious. The reference has not been traced. the more valuable will be his work. or at least more lasting things. THE SKETCH OF MANNERS III. leasilyforgeable characters signed. I have explained these thingdnore than once before. We have some veritable monuments in this medium.--92. . those c oruc ers 0 trY II.foul· and art-lovers w 0 . f' rt. h' d zlin . e pa to its pleasure and glory. 18. be begged memind to write an apprecianon 0 s his name and if I must speak . See p. the depiction of bourgeois life and the pageant of fashion. below. I know. . but in trivial life.ckeray. ~very co~ the present age. in the the illustrations to his n~vels: ih~kl::. . The more beauty that the artist Can put into it. w en outrage to s virtue. if by signature you ~e: that str:~r artists affix ostentatiously which spell a name and whic so manifiY Yet all his works are signedf th . THE ARTIST. G. the portfolios of collectors and in the windows of the meanest of print shops. of heroic or religious subjects. 1I t dmit-to suppress . AND CHILD . ~uma. I will humbly comply WIt . as I was saying a moment ago.4 Tbe Painter oj Modern Ufe neatly of its aristocratic quality. there is a rapidity of movement which calls for an equal speed of execution from the artist. t the memory) we may add Gavarni (the first names ~hic? oC::th~ more wanton charms of the Deveria. will readily recogruze them from . Trimolet and Travies. as is well originality to the POlflt of . fh ssmg momen an he is the pa~ter 0 t. on.
w . It was perhaps at abeut the same age that Monsieur G.~~so and politics. th k to the nature of Monsieur . after discovering by himself all the little tricks of his trade and accomplishing. might well have been pardoned for failing to discern the latent genius which abode in such murky daubs. and mingling through bed i azmg at ecrow '" pleasurably absor e In!S il f thought that surrounds him. becomes very quickly un1 C1r • spiritual citizen of the uruverse.6 Tbe Painter of Modern Life whose author must remain eternally unknown. . bearable to the man of the world. In the turm~ th~ shadow of death. IS po~se= : bethe:apparent1yofthe. impatient at the clumsiness of his fingers and the disobedience of his pen. it must be supposed that all that I have to say of his strangely and mysteriously brilliant nature is more or less justly suggested by the works in question-pure poetic hypothesis. obsessed by the throng of pictures which teemed in his brain.. e the serf to the soil. Monsieur G. keenly Interesting himself In g. on an instant. who is by nature a great traveller and cosmopolitan. the hi hest degree of the faculty.Ina fan unkn ow n. the medium of thought.ou d. ilia e intellects cottage rams. f highly skille arum s. When at last I ran him to earth. and you will have e ey d hildhood The convales. I knew that for some time he had been on the staff of an English illustrated journal. The artist lives 'everything that ha~p:s on ~~eo~ m.: would ask you to note at once at d tanding of Monsieur G. he wants t:r: oWf our globe. by the first a specialist. name It must ea. not like to be c e an s. Now convales~en~e IS ea. his own education. and man of tbe world in a very broad one. as he has been on " .. that has. The Painter of Modern Life 7 man who understands the world and the man of the whole world. effort of the ImagInation. all h odours an essence. lik return towar s c . kn understand and appreciate is the whole world. I ask you to understand the word artist in a very restricted sense. . a detailed account of the Crimean campaign which is much preferable to any other that I know. he is rapturBut lately returned from the valley id s of life.k if We can . bewitc e . a labour of the imagination. Monsieur G. The same paper had also published. and I must own that the majority of those who are.. painted-or rather Do you remember a picture (It r Yf p and entitled The Man of th t owerful pen 0 our age. is an old man. or a child. and thus I have been able to read. without advice. des . SpIrt. connoisseurs in this matter. . ~ e wor f hat is going on in the Faubourg W Breda district. I have seen a large number of these primitive scribbles. And so. . conjecture. by a retrospective 1 curiosity. itually in the condition of . as a first step towards. Apart from one or 0 th Saint-Germainr Z " the n . so to speak. rity of artists are no more an " b dmitted that e maJo b. In purSUIt 0 . G Imagine an artist w . . . If he lives in the very little. By the second I mean a 1Baudelaire must be mistaken here. g. trans Ed Allan Poe inclu e amon the~oHVelles His. Since then I have seen a considerable quantity of those drawings. always without signature. he will be unaware °tw exceptions whom I need not . to t e . .y For an elaboration of t his idea~an d d d s1 his Taler (1845). reaso. And finally. I saw at once that it was not precisely an artist.s and that engravings after his travel-sketches. Monsieur G.. was first emboldened to throw ink and colours on toa white sheet of paper. . had been published there..mos~tri:lal. h embers and fervently desires to the brink of total oblivion. ously breathing In t "e. eve . and of his early artlessness he has retained no more than what was needed to add an unexpected seasoning to his rich gifts. the Crowd?2 In the window ?f a c°thee."" il Iimited to the narrowest 0 " "hich IS necessar y h Their conversation. to give complete reassurance to my conscience. 2 The llIlUlrated London News. I ~e e~pring of his genius is "" eall is a icture!). irresistible passion! . Turkey and the Crimea. Guys was already working for the llIlUlrated London News as early as 1843. . ho was always. Today. li~ethe ~d. v g . For ten years I had wanted to get to know Monsieur G.l Truth to tell. e hurl him 'lf headlong into the midst rythin F lly he ur s se remember. and it is hardly likely that he would have been so employed if he had been quite without experience. does man wedded to his palette lik h h ps a little right? His interest all d arti t Is e not per a .oires Extraordinaires. he tears it up or bums it with a most comical show of bashfulness and indignation. When he comes across one of those early efforts of his. written-by e mos p ffi h se there sits a convalescent. h d him Curiosity has become a fatal. but rather a man of tbe world with whom I had to do. or claim to be. mysterious an a. hastily sketched on the spot. seeand Salon later8J9. a all . half -glimpsed countenance of the throng. that convalescent. a d 1 wful ns for Its uses. of cent. ~~~:~7rebk the of d b a note ongt he exceptions. if at all. ' "d imal pure artisans. Jean-Jacques is said to have reached the age of forty-two before he started writing. Let usgo b ac. has become a powerful master in his own way. he drew like a barbarian. made in Spain. a great number of his illustrations of new ballets and operas.
or that are--or are not-to be found. the work of his veins The pl· tur of in s skin.. His sentence was sealed N d I dd h s owmg t e tip of well-known painter? . recogaize that they h d ' . amid the ebb and flow of movement. f chil a geruus for which no aspect f Iif h be genius 0 dhoodI hoe as come stale ave told you that I was reluctant t d .:f genius has sound nerves. whether a face .: 1 ea ta en up and deve10 d b B . the dandy aspires to insensitivity. co ours. ' . passionate. Enfant'). and the bluish net. for reasons of policy and caste. and a power of anal siswhi h .The Pointer oj Modem Life towards our most youthful our r . For the perfect jl/ineur. if his excessive love of visible. responding to each one of its movements and reproducing the multiplicity of life and the flickeringgrace of all the elements of life. pe y aude1alceIn Les Parodi.' said St. hIm an artist pure h as 1 An id k I e WIt a modesty touched with aristocratic reserve.rt:her and assert that inSptt!'~i: s~~~·i~ ~ prepared WIt a convulSIOn. which is always .:. Thus the lover of universal life enters into the crowd as though it were an immense reservoir of electricalenergy. The crowd is his element. The lover of life makes the whole world his family.ear~est.' Monsieur G. in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. e use to be present when his ment and delight that h gSd' an at It was with a mixture of amazee use to study th Ies of hi gradual transitions of pink and ellow i ~ m~sc es 0 his arms.~b=e h~ug~t ISaccomp:uue~by a very core of the brain The m lC.Let us be content therefore to consider him as a pure pictorial moralist. he the delight with which : ~~e a~:~:~les what we call inspiration than to. is always dnmk.enSl ty ISalmost the whole being childhood now . s erIng stuff: th . impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. convalescent. and indeed that he declined t~s ~~~nbe.as the air is that of birds and water of fishes. or to a kaleidoscope gifted with consciousness. and we will . and it is in this that Monsieur G. to which he has more than one right.ImpressIons. our spinru capaCItIes . . for the word 'dandy' implies a quintessence of character and a subtle understanding of the entire moral mechanism of this world. To complete ·d o. dominated as he is by an insatiable passion-for seeing and feelingparts company decisively with dandyism. it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude. m 00 s <apacrnes which it has invol~taril c enab~s It to or~er the massof raw material cu~iosity that we may ~~~d~~ IS ~y this dee~ and joyful child confronted with somethin new anIm~y ecstatic gaze of a or a landscape gilding I g himm wh~tever It be. however. He waIras already being obsessed . His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd. . has a horror of blase people. oment WI out the .. with another part of his nature. or . s. To be awayfrom home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home. g In common more or less violent nervous s:. condensed to their plastic state. while siderable position.! ('Le Genie I asked you a moment ago to think f M . at every instant rendering and explaining it in pictures more living than life itself... h. He is a master of that only too difficult art-sensitive spirits will understand me--of being sincere without being absurd. to see the world.eak W. and I should have several good reasons for that. sees everythin . ~°thnslder also as a man-child. I would bestow upon him the title of philosopher. 'Amobom amare. or the lover of pictures who lives in a magical society of dreams painted on canvas. He is an '1' with an insatiable appetite for the 'non-1'. ee a t at today that child is a 8 The Painter of Modem Life 9 t: t: ~~c. .. .::~~~ afterm~~h0ala phy~i~al pure and unharmed The child . with the ·oth~r S e~: R~son has taken up a conBut genius is nothin .:.. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito. for the passionate spectator. a Ion was eady h . him . Ceo external life air d ClI· WIth awe and taking hold of his brain was ea! mung him and possessed by form Predestm· ti . did not arouse in him a certain repugnance for the things that form the impalpable kingdom of the metaphysician. like La Bruyere. to be at the centre of the world. nd that eve. The dandy is blase. as an eternal our asa man who is never for aYm 1 ea. g mdo£re less than childhoodrecovered at willl_~ nor eqwppe or self-expressionwith anh d' . A friend of rome once told was quite a small child h d father dressed in the momin d th '. Its nose. as ItS repercussIon rn the those of the child are. a . a a strange kinship WIthth bri htl l1l1pressions hich we Werelater t w . just like the lover of the fair sex who builds up his family from all the beautiful women that he has ever found. Monsieur G. e magIC of me that when he· c art. physical beauty assisted by the cosmeti . and yet to remain hidden from the worldsuch are a few of the slightestpleasures of those independent. ose rIg y coloured f illness. 'I am passionatelyin love with passion. tangible things. Or we might liken him to a mirror as vast as the crowd itself. Nothin g In a state of newness. alwaysprovided that that ~. might well echo. and simple. I might perhaps call him a dandy.! artijkiel.ghoeven fu. o~sleur G. Augustine. or pretends to be so.
'Then on the other side. a technical term from art or industry. a Frenchman with a woman at his side who might be his mother or his sister. oneword pamphlets. P arrs. all new.10 The Painter of Modern Life unstable and fugitive. a river of blood with dogs splashing about in it. not one that had grown mouldy in a book.. zigzagging from idea to idea. a hunt. whose twenty-year-old daughter travels to the Mediterranean to inspect her father's eighteen ships of which not one is less than two thousand tons. wearing a blue shirt. says Guys. constantly hitching up his sleeves on his bony arms with a sharp slap of the hand. throwing into the conversation handfuls of ironical observations. blood-soaked. 'And now it was an English castle. there issued from the mouth of this extraordinary fellow social silhouettes. and ambulances with rats beginning to gnaw at the wounded. an actress or a dressmaker-no. exuberant with parentheses. a comparative philosophy of the national genius of the peoples. 'Any man. 'a fleet such as Egypt never had'. cities riddled with cannon-balls. 1 . a royal life led. wakes up and opens his eyes to see the boisterous sun beating a tattoo upon his window-pane. with immemorial oaks.000 francs. and not a whore. a Frenchman who is neither an actor nor an ambassador. Bibliotheque Nationale. on to a green table and nonchalantly forcing the betting up to 40. going off at tangents and getting lost. looking like an old soldier. flowing between the legs of the young Guys. gutted. that could never be!' I. but to see a Frenchman in London riding in a carriage.. his last shirt. 'Now we were at the taking of Janina. three toilettes a day and a ball every evening. He evoked a thousand memories on that walk. rather like in an album in which you find a quotation from Balzac on the back of a design by Decamps. 'A little man with an animated face.' he said one day. 'Now it was Dembinski. almost visible utterance. conducted and paid for by a gentleman called Simpson or Tompson (sic). who is in London quietly to spend money--an unheard-of thing IThe French travel in order to get over an unhappy love-affair or a gambling-loss. Photograph of Guys as an old man. hobbling along. his last coin.. Then he compared II! to the English-us !--and cries: 'A Frenchman who does nothing. or perhaps to sell textiles. by Na d ar. and who can yet be bored in the heart of the multitude. he reproaches himself remorsefully and regretfully: 'What a peremptory order! what a bugleblast of life! Already several hours of light--everywhere-lost by my sleep! How many illuminated things might I have seen and have missed 1 The following passage from the Goncourts' Journal (2. a grey moustache. but retrieving himself and regaining your attention with a metaphor from the gutter. 1 'any man who is not crushed by one of those griefs whose nature is too real not to monopolize all his capacities. sketches.3April 185 ) gives an in8 teresting account of Guys at about the same time: 'We came back from Gavarni's with Guys. landscapes. diffuse. the draughtsman of the ILLUSTRATED LONDON. is a blockhead! a blockhead! and I despise him!' When Monsieur G. two-minute satires. reflections on the French and the English races. tossing a coin. and always holding you under the thrall of his highly-coloured. in the course of one of those conversations which he illumines with burning glance and evocative gesture. a word from the vocabulary of the German philosophers.
He marvels at the eternal beauty and the amazing harmony of life in the capital cities. as it may be. It is that strange. sane men and mad. the expertness of the footmen. the sinuous gait of the women. to be sure. whether good men or knaves. will be the last to linger wherever there can be a glow of light. tossing into the air of the boulevards its trumpet-calls as winged and stirring as hope. wherever natural man and conventional man display themselves in a strange beauty.The Painter oj Modern Life II seeing!' So out he goes and watches the river of life flow past him in all its splendour and majesty. The gas-light makes a stain upon the crimson of the sunset. if bavolets have been enlarged and chignons have dropped a fraction towards the nape of the neck. turn to pleasure. if waists have been raised and skirts have become fuller. a quiver of life or a chord of music. bold determined glances. music. happy to be alive and nicely dressed-in a word. solemn moustaches-he absorbs it all pell-mell. examined and analysed the bearing and external aspect of that company. on its way. equivocal hour when the curtains of heaven are drawn and cities light up. wherever a passion can pose before him. caressed by the mist or buffeted by the sun. He delights in fine carriages and proud horses. He gazes upon the landscapes of the great city-landscapes of stone. cf. and each one hastens to the place of his choice to drink the cup of oblivion. and in an instant Monsieur G. If a fashion or the cut of a garment has been slightly modified. 'The end of another day!' The thoughts of all. a harmony so providentially maintained amid the turmoil of human freedom. he delights in universal life. and in a few moments the resulting 'poem' will be virtually composed. Honest men and rogues.' remarks a certain reader whom we all know so well. Monsieur G. heavy. Glittering equipment. A regiment passes. if bows and curls have been supplanted by cockades. wherever the sun lights up the swift joys of the depraved animaJ!l 'A fine way to fill one's day. marching like a single animal. be very sure that his eagle eye will already have spotted it from however great a distance. to the ends of the earth. also Brierre de Boismont (De I' Ennlll): 'L'homme qui pense est un animal deprave. are all saying to themselves.' . See how his soul lives with the soul of that regiment. the dazzling smartness of the grooms. a proud image of joy in obedience! But now it is evening. the beauty of the children. 'Which one of us has not every bit enough genius to fill it in the same way?' But no! 1 The expression derives from Rousseau. an echo of poetry. will already have seen.
cantankerous though alone. that David. his brush. an aim more general. This transitory. . elbowing himself on. though choosing subjects of a general nature and applicable to all ages. whose metamorphoses are so rapid. something other than the fugitive pleasure of circumstance. the fugitive. They are perfectly harmonious. glance and smile (for each age has a deportment. I say. morallY speaking. the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable. you will be guilty of a mistranslation only to be excused in the case of a masquerade prescribed by fashion. Every old master has had his own modernity.) It is doubtless an excellent thing to study the old masters in order to learn how to paint. had no alternative but to dress them in antique garb. just as David employed the costumes and furnishings of Rome. to distil the eternal from the transitory. and undergo that forced idealization which is the result of a childlike perceptiveness-that is to say. Casting an eye over our exhibitions of modem pictures. natural and more than natural. MODERNITY AND so away he goes. must on no account be despised or dispensed with. The draperies of Rubens or Veronese will in no way teach you how to depict moire antique. All the raw materials with which the memory has loaded itself are put in order. at a time when others are asleep. (Thus. is bending over his table.! This is clearly symptomatic of a great degree of laziness. If for the necessary and inevitable costume of the age you substitute another. hurrying. however slight or minimal that element may be. such as I have depicted him-this solitary. his pen. skirmishing with his pencil. combines to form a completely viable whole. the great majority of fine portraits that have come down to us from former generations are clothed in the costume of their own period. for it is much easier to decide outright that everything about the garb of an age is absolutely ugly than to devote oneself to the task of distilling from it the mysterious element of beauty that it may contain. Almost all of them make use of the costumes and furnishings of the Renaissance. He is looking for that quality which you must allow me to call <modernity'.12 The Painter of Modern Life Few men are gifted with the capacity of seeing. Finally the gesture and the bearing of the woman of today give to her dress a life and a special character which are not those of the woman of the past. a glance and a smile of its own}-everything. So now. the Renaissance or the Orient. for any <modernity' to be worthy of one day taking its place as 'antiquity'. but it can be no more than a waste of labour if your aim is to understand the special nature of present-day beauty. beautiful and more than beautiful. the goddesses. it is necessary for the mysterious beauty which human life accidentally puts into it to be 1 These ideas are developed in the sixth section of the Salon of I8J!l. strange and endowed with an impulsive life like the soul of its creator. By neglecting it. in a ferment of violent activity. satin a fa reine or any other fabric of modem manufacture. wiping his pen on his shirt. a perceptiveness acute and magical by reason of its innocence! The Painter of Modem Life IV. by choosing subjects which were specifically Greek or Roman. The phantasmagoria has been distilled from nature. darting on to a sheet of paper the same glance that a moment ago he was directing towards external things. ceaselesslyjourneying across the great human desert-has an aim loftier than that of a mere j/aneur. In short. searching. ranged and harmonized. we are struck by a general tendency among artists to dress all their subjects in the garments of the past. By <modernity' I mean the ephemeral. Furthermore the cut of skirt and bodice is by no means similar. for I know of no better word to express the idea I have in mind. In texture and weave these are quite different from the fabrics of ancient Venice or those worn at the court of Catherine. He makes it his business to extract from fashion whatever element it may contain of poetry within history. nevertheless persist in rigging them out in the costumes of the Middle Ages. nymphs and sultanas of the eighteenth century are still convincing portraits. there are fewer still who possess the power of expression. the pleats are arranged according to a new system. gifted with an active imagination. whereas the painters of today. the contingent. you cannot fail to tumble into the abyss of an abstract and indeterminate beauty. which we see supported and hung over crinoline or starched muslin petticoat. splashing his glass of water up to the ceiling. And the external world is reborn upon his paper. as though afraid that the image might escape him. But searching for what? Be very sure that this man. fugitive element. like that of the first woman before the fall of man. Monsieur G. There is however this difference. because everything-from costume and coiffure down to gesture.
and only later set himself the task of acquiring the means of expressing it. only to be transformed into perfect things with the aid of the spectator's imagination. and even to that of animals. Likewise Monsieur . for example. his eyes and his memory are full of it. whose initial concem is always to trace the principal lines of a landscape -its bony structure. but feebly imaginative artist has to paint a courtesan of today and takes his 'inspiration' (that is the accepted word) from a courtesan by Titian or Raphael. Ingres. the glance. glance and gesture. Borgognone or Van der Meulen? . This would be to misunderstand me. of everything that goes to make up the extemallife of this age. the various professions and classes and the passing centuries all introduce variety. not only in manners and gesture. in particular. the smile or the living 'style' of one of those creatures whom the dictionary of fashion has successively classified under the coarse or playful titles of 'doxies'. What I mean is an inevitable. the fantastic reality oflife has become singularly diluted. might perhaps lead some few people to suppose that we are here concerned with defective drawings. What would you say. And it is to this task that Monsieur G. Egypt or Nineveh. form of perfection. I have remarked that every age had its own gait. or the complicated rigging of the sixteenth century? Agam. what would you think if you had commissioned an artist to paint the portrait of a thoroughbred. having to depict the sober and elegant beauty of a modern vessel. 'kept women'. involved forms and the monumental PO?p of a galleon. MNEMONIC ART THE word 'barbarousness'. famed in the annals of the turf. particularly addresses himself. or in other words an emanation of the 'spiritual'. He began by being an observer of life. childlike barbarousness. and particularly for men of affairs. has pursued an altogether different path. the great failing of M. or as a flattering compliment paid to truth. but which could certainly be subjected to a form of calculation. for example. the spiritual reality from which it derives. or bicbes. synthetic. It is by no means out of place here to remind my readers that all those painters whose vision is synthesizing and abbreviative have been accused of barbarousness-M. which may seem to have slipped rather too often from my pen. it is only too likely that he will produce a work which is false. The same criticism may be strictly applied to the study of the military man and the dandy. ambiguous and obscure. V. is that he seeks to impose upon every type of sitter a more or less complete. in short. Considerations of this kind are not sufficiently familiar to our portrait-painters. But it has an even wider application. scrupulous. and which comes from a need to see things broadly and to consider them above all in their total effect. and will always mirror. Corot. loretses. such as the one at Versailles. he will lose all memory of the present. This has resulted in a thrilling originality in which any remaining vestiges of barbarousness or naivete appear only as new proofs of his faithfulness to the impression received.14 The Painter of Modern Life The Painter of Modern Life distilled from it. Woe to him who studies the antique for anything else but pure art. its physiognomy. Certain types of nose. Under the direction of nature and the tyranny of circumstance. The easiest way to verify this proposition would be to betake oneself to some vast portrait-gallery. of a marinepainter (I am deliberately going to extremes) who. mouth and brow will be found to dominate. the scene for a period whose extent I have no intention of attempting to determine here. whether horses or dogs. Within that unity which we call a Nation. IT a painstaking. which is often still to be discemed in a perfected art. borrowed from the repertory of classical ideas. mirrors. never ceases to drink it in. Monsieur G. were to tire out his eyes by studying the overcharged. For most of us. for whom nature has no existence save by reference to utility. but even in the actual form of the face. and he then proceeded to confine his resea~ches to th~ Museums ~d contented himself with a study of the horse ill the galleries of the past. Monsieur G. In a matter of this kind it would be easy. ill VanDyck. to argue apriori. The perpetual correlation between what is called the 'soul' and what is called the 'body' explains quite clearly how everything that is 'material'. such as that of Mexico. and indeed legitimate. I need hardly tell you that I could easily support my assertions with reference to many objects other than women. logic and general method! By steeping himself too thoroughly in it. From the study of a masterpiece of that time and type he will learn nothing of the bearing. he will renounce the rights and privileges offered by circumstance-for almost all our originality comes from the seal which Time imprints on our sensations. by which I mean a more or less despotic. so to speak.
Catiline and Alcibiades providing us with dazzling examples. pp. whose solitary profession is elegance. more squarely set on their feet. Dandyism. he would have been singularly struck by it. 9. 168 If. even if blase. resolute character. All these men give the appearance of being more solidly backed.l who was always on the lookout for this kind of beauty. 2 Cf. If this drawing could have been shown to Charlet.A1odern Life they have just completed a long route-march along the roads of Lombardy. What however is manifest and fully realized is the bold. Here we can see that uniformity of expression which is created by suffering and obedience endured in common. the man who has been brought up amid luxury and has been accustomed from his earliest days to the obedience of others-he. and had himself been criticized by Delacroix for doing so. Pen and water-colour. no less peculiar than the duel: it is of great antiquity.26 The Painter rif . and very widespread. in short. of all these faces burned by the sun. the entire equipment of these men has taken upon itself the special personality of beings who are returning from afar after running the gauntlet of extraordinary adventures. Paris. I cannot tell. Caesar. greatcoats besmirched with dust. the rain and the wind. will always and at all times possess a distinct type of physiognomy. Dandyism is a mysterious institution. GUYs: A Tureish WOlllan 'Pith Parasol. itself has rigorous laws which all its subjects must strictly obey. has no other occupation than the perpetual pursuit of happiness. and French writers. stained and discoloured-in short. Chateaubriand2 having found it in the forests and by the lakes of the New World. and who. and who frequently found it. THE DANDY THE man who is rich and idle. IX. wearisome fatigues. US Natchez. an institution beyond the laws. Petit Palais. even in repose. . more erect than ordinary mortals can be. that resigned air of courage which has been put to the test by long. 1 Baudelaire had sharply criticized Charlet in 'Some French Caricaturists' (cf.). Creper suggests that the present passage may be a gesture of making amends. The English more than others have cultivated the society-novel. one entirely sui generis. whatever their natural impetuosity and independence of character. Trousers tucked into incarcerating gaiters.
It is sad but only too true that without the money and the leisure. along with Chateaubriand. If I have spoken of money." have made a speciality of love-stories. and planned to include him. this is becauselove is the natural occupation of the idle. Paul de Molenes and Barbey d' Aurevilly. love is incapable of rising above a grocer's orgy or the accomplishment of a conjugal duty.The Painter of Modern Life who. when he had money. and they have gone on to dispense them of any profession. seem to believe. to feel and to think. For the perfect dandy these things are no more than symbols ofhis aristocratic superiority of mind. bounded only by the limits of the proprieties. for example. Dandyism does not even consist. it becomes a repulsive utility. like M. but never completed). which are in love with distinction above all things. becoming doctrine. to satisfy their passions. he would be perfectly content with a limitless credit at the bank. this crude passion he leaves to vulgar mortals. reduced to a state of passing reverie. 2 Crepet reminds us of Champfleury's anecdote of Baudelaire's ordering a dozen replicas when he was pleased with a new suit-at the period. as many thoughdess people. What then is this passion. in an immoderate taste for the toilet and material elegance. however. in his Famille des Dandies (announced in 1860. can hardly be translated into action. has produced such a school of tyrants? what this unofficial institution which has formed so haughty and exclusive a sect? It is first and foremost the burning need to create for oneself a personal originality. which. of course. 4 . If I speak of love in connection with dandyism. without which fantasy. this is because money is indispensable to those who make a cult of their emotions. They thus possess a vast abundance both of time and money. of achieving the desired quality." which is the best way. Instead of being a passionate or poetical caprice. It is a kind of cult of the self which can nevertheless survive the pursuit of a happiness to be found in someone else-in woman. regard love as a special target to be aimed at. These beings have no other calling but to cultivate the idea of beauty in their persons. the perfection of his toilet will consist in absolute simplicity. have taken immediate and very proper care to endow their characters with fortunes ample enough to pay without thinking for all their extravagances. Another anecdote has it that Baudelaire glass-papered his suits so that they should not look too new. Furthermore to his eyes. in fact. The dandy does not. de Custine.which can even survive all that goes by in 1 Baudelaire had a particular admiration for the work of Astolphe de Custine (17901857). but the dandy does not aspire to money as to something essential.
A weird kind of spiritualist. than this doctrine of elegance and originality. Nothing is missed: his lightness of step. dandyism borders upon the spiritual and stoical. I mean: the consntution which expresses itself through behaviour) will for a long time yet allow a place for the descendants of Sheridan. and no more obeyed. which also imposes upon its humble and ambitious disciples-men often full of fire. is the source of the liveliest and even-be it said to the shame of philosophic pleasures-of the most . from an impeccable toilet at every hour of the day and the night to the most perilous feats of the sporting field. without heat and full of melancholy. but are all rich in native energy. sketches one of his dandles o?" the paper. alas only too rare today. and aristocracy is only just beginning to totter and fall. an energy in all excess. they are all representatives of what is finest in human pride. The strictest monastic rule. you might call it a latent fire which hints at itself. incrqyabJes. What "tothe reader may have seemed a digression is not so in troth. it must be admitted! For those who are at once its priests and its victims. but in this case. his way of wearing a coat or riding a horse. of combating and destroying triviality. for how can we be sure that those tribes which we call 'savage' may not in fact be the disjecta membra of great extinct civilizations? Dandyism is a sunset. I would venture to say. The distinguishing characteristic of the dandy's beauty consists above all in an air of coldness which comes from an unshakeable determination not to be moved. it would perhaps not ruin him. he may even suffer. were no more despotic. and the type of dandy discovered by our traveller in North America does nothing to invalidate this idea. If he committed a crime. It is from this that the dandies obtain that haughty exclusiveness. may conceive the idea of establishing a new kind of aristocracy. provocative in its very coldness. But alas. courage and restrained energy-the terrible formula: Perinde ac cadaver! Whether these men are nicknamed exquisites. A dandy may be blase. they all spring from the same womb. It is this quality which these pictures express so perfectly. they all partake of the same characteristic quality of opposition and revolt. of that compelling need. but if his crime resulted from some trivial cause. which invades and levels everything. In the disorder of these times. WOMAN THE being who. if w~ were not speaking of the present time and of things generally considered as f~lvol?. It can be seen how. politically and financiallyill at ease. Brummel and Byron. all the more difficultto shatter as it will be based on the most precious. such suggestions form part of an underlying ld~a which begins to emerge as they are set out one after the other: It IS ~ardly necessaryto say that when Monsieur G. so that when your eye lights upon one of those privileged beings in whom the graceful and the formidable are so mysteriously blended. and which could. the rising tide of democracy. he never fails to give him his historical personality-:his legendary personality. when democracy is not yet all-powerful. it is glorious. like the declining daystar. Let not the reader be scandalized by this gravity amid the frivolous. his bodily attitudes which are always relaxed but betray an inner energy. Dandyism is the last spark of heroism amid decadence. certain men who are socially.10 our country. Dandies are becoming rarer and rarer . he will smilelike the Spartan boy under the fox's tooth. for the majority of men. but chooses not to burst into flame. x. the SlmpliClt_Y in his air of authority. Dandyism appears above all in periods of transition. his disgrace would be irreparable. and on the divine gifts which work and money are unable to bestow.:s.2. But a dandycan never bea vulgarian. at certain points. beaux. is daily overwhelming these last representatives of human pride and pouring floods of oblivion upon the footprints ?f these stupendous warriors. passion. but more likely an out-of-work Hercules!' . It is the joy of astonishing others. and the proud satisfaction of never oneself being astonished. lions or dandies. are no more than a system of gymnastics designed to fortify the will and discipline the soul. the inexorable order of the Assassins according to which the penalty for drunkenness was enforced suicide. the most enduring faculties. let him rather recall that there is a grandeur in all follies. In truth I was not altogether wrong to consider dandyism as a kind of religion.8 The Painter of Modern Life The Painter of Modern Life the name of illusions. granted at least that men are born who are worthy of such a heritage. you think: 'A rich man perhaps. his socialaplo~~. whereas amongst our neighbours in England the SOCl~ system and the constitution (the true constitution. all the complicated material conditions to which they submit. The moral reflections and considerations provoked by an artist's drawings are in many cases the best translation of the~ th~t critici~m can make.
or in the park. no. What poet. iridescent clouds of stuffin which she envelops herself. it seems to me. at the theatre. aglittering conglomeratlO~ of all the graces of Nature.The Painter of Modern Life lasting delights. she is not ~ven that type of pure beauty which the sculptor can mentally evoke In the course of his sternest meditations. the object of the keenest admiration and curiosity that the picture of life can offer its contemplator.' The majority of errors in the field of aesthetics spring from the eighteenth century's false premiss in the field of ethics. an animalwhose component parts.provide a perfect example of harmony. see Gilman. and to arm himself as well as he may against the inclemenciesof the weather: but it is she too who incites man to murder 1 Here Baudelaire is following the ideas expressed by Joseph de Maistre in Us Soirees de Saint-Pilersboll1'g. the vast. not only in her bearing and the way in which she moves and walks.' At that time Nature was taken as ground. a glance. it runs. condensed into a single being. making thus of the two things--the woman and her dress--an indivisible unity? This is the moment. that being in whom Joseph de Maistre saw a graceful animal whose beauty enlivened and made easier the serious game of politics. The negation of original sin played no smaIlpart in the general blindness of that period. 63-66. adding their sparks The Painter of Modern Life to the fire of her glance. but which nevertheless expressesvery well. or on behalf of whom all their efforts are directed. which are manifest to the experience of all ages no less than to the readers of the Law Reports. in the metal and the mineral which twist and turn around her arms and her neck. would willingly pass over a fragment of antique statuary if otherwise he might let slip an opportunity of enjoying a portrait by Reynolds or Lawrence. and through whom. I must admit. who holds wills and destinies suspended on her glance. but above all she is a general harmony. . in sitting down to paint the pleasure caused by the sight of a beautiful woman. sometimes just a word. would venture to separateher from her costume? Where is the man who. everything that serves to show off her beauty. I feel sure that Monsieur G. On Baudelaire's general debt to the ideas of de Maistre. but dazzling and bewitching. which is equivalent to the following startling new truism: 'Nothing embellishes something. and to vindicate the art of the dressing-table from the fatuous slanders with which certain very dubious lovers of Nature have attacked it. the being towards whom. artists and poets create their most exquisite jewels. Rather she is a divinity. for whom. correctly assembled. in the street. pp. this would still not be sufficient to explain her mysterious and complex spell. I admit that she compels man to sleep. but also in the muslins. and Monsieur G. the poet would rather have said 'Simplicity embellishes Beauty'. XI. IN PRAISE OF COSMETICS I REMEMBER a song. the source of the ~ost exhausting pleasures and the most productive pains-Woman. whereas the creature of whom we are speaking is perhaps only incomprehensible becaus: it has nothing to communicate). In a word. But if we are prepared to refer simply to the facts.for whom. is far more than just the female of Man. No doubt Woman is sometimes a light. has not in the most disinterested of ways enjoyed a skilfully composed toilette. a star. for the artist in general. is part of herself. . It is of course to be presumedthat. 'Nature embellishesBeauty'. had he known how to write in French. the aesthetic creed of people who do not think. to eat. an~ those artists who have made a particular study of this enigmatic being' dote no less on all the details of the mundliS muliebris than on Woman herself. an invitation to happiness. stupid perhaps. We are not concerned here with Winckelmann and Raphael. to return to certain questions concerning fashion and finery which I did no more than touch upon at the beginning of this study.that the Infinite does not communicate because it would thereby blind and overwhelm the finite. source and type of all possible Good and Beauty. but above all through whom. the gauzes. that being as terrible and incommunicable as the Deity (with this difference. in particular. so worthless and silly that it seemshardly proper to quote from it in a work which has some pretensions to seriousness. and has not taken away with him a picture of it which is inseparablefrom the beauty of her to whom it belonged. we shall see that Nature teaches us nothing. or practically nothing. She is not. which ~resides atallthe conceptionsof the brain of man. in its vaudeville manner. to drink. and which are as it were the attributes and the pedestal of her divinity. She is a kind of idol. Everything that adorns woman. fo~es are made and unmade. or gendy whispering at her ears. and I hope that I shall ~ot a?pear to wrong him when I say that despite the wide range of his Intelligence.
Rather they should be thought of as vitalized and animated by the beautiful women who wore them. Crime. is artificial. It matters but Iittle that the artifice and trickery are known to all. Evil happens without effort. I ask you to review and scrutinize whatever is natural-all the actions and desires of the purely natural man: you will find nothing but frightfulness. which. and about Reason as true redeemer and reformer. being none other than the voice of our own self-interest. But if one wants to appreciate them properly. By reflecting in this way the philosopher-~ist will find it easy to justify all the practices adopted by women at all tunes to consolidate and as it were to make divine their fragile beauty. As for the artificial black with which the eye is outlined. anyone can see that the use of rice-powder. relatively speaking. is natural by origin. for no sooner do we take leave of the domain of needs and necessities to enter that of pleasures and luxury than we see that Nature can counsel nothing but crime. in an old-clothes dealer's cupboard. on the other hand. like Louis XV (the product not of a true civilization but of a recrudescence of barbarism). as an idol. It is this infallible Mother Nature who has created patricide and cannibalism. Bartholomew.) some brio-a-brae that the natural life accumulates in the human brain: as a sublime deformation of Nature. and thus give proof. the need to surpass Nature. If therefore the aphorism 'All fashions are charming' upsets you as being too absolute. iridescent fabrics. a unity. Good is always the product of some art. * Fashion should thus be considered as a symptom of the taste for the ideal which floats on the surface of all the crude. since at all times and in all places gods and prophets have been needed to teach it to animalized humanity. Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation. On the other hand it is philosophy (I speak of good philosophy) and religion which command us to look after our parents when they are poor and infirm. with an altogether ludicrous pride and complacency. It was in fact by beautifying herself that she used to frighten away her royal disciple of nature. indeed she is even accomplishing a kind of duty. she has to astonish and charm us. man being powerless to discover it by himself. without knowing it. you might just as well admire the tattered old rags hung up. each one being a new and more or less happy effort in the direction of Beauty. to eat him. naturally. Those races which our confused and perverted civilizationis pleased to treat as savage. when she devotes herselfto appearing magical and supernatural. It was quite enough. (C. All that I am saying about Nature as a bad counsellor in moral matters. and a thousand other abominations that both shame and modesty prevent us from naming. Mme Dubarry made a POUltof putting on rouge. would have us slaughter them. or rather a permanent and repeated attempt at her reformation. Nature. the lofty spiritual significanceof the toilet. say. the result is calculated to satisfy an absolutely opposite need.B. Thus she has to lay all the arts under contribution for the means of lifting herself above Nature. of the immateriality of their soul. In their naif adoration of what is brilliant-many-coloured feathers. the incomparable majesty of artificial forms-the baby and the savage bear witness to their disgust of the real. if you prefer. Virtue. some kind of approximation to an ideal for which the restless human mind feels a constant. fashions should never be considered as dead things. To enumerate them would be an endless task: but to confine ourselves to what today is vulgarly called 'maquillage'. Red and black . is successfullydesigned to rid the complexion of those blemishes that Nature has outrageously strewn there. so long as their successis assured and their effectalwaysirresistible.The Painter oj Modern Life his brother. that is to something supenor and divine. just as the child understands. I am thus led to regard external finery as one of the signs of the primitive nobility of the human soul. so stupidly anathematized by our Arcadian philosophers. to lock him up and to torture him. she is obliged to adorn herselfin order to be adored. 'All were once justifiablycharming'. of which the human animal has learned the taste in his mother's womb. fatally. supernatural. and thus to create an abstract unity in the colour and texture of the skin. and the rouge with which the upper part of the cheek is painted. like that produced by the tights of a dancer. terrestrial and loath- The Painter oj Modern Life 33 * W~ know th~t when she wished to avoid receiving the king. Woman is quite within her rights.the human being to the statue. titillating hunger. it was her way of closing the door. can be applied to the realm of Beauty. And so it has been sensiblypointed out (though the reason has not been discovered) that every fashion is charming. Woe to him who. understand. carries his degeneracy to the point of no longer having a taste for anything but nature unadorned. as slack and lifeless as the skin of St. although their use derives from the same principle. the better to conquer hearts and rivet attention. You can be sure of being right. imme~iately ap~roximat~ . Only in this way can their sense and meaning be understood.
to whatever social station they may belong. who by ~eir figures and gestures put one in mind of. and gives the eye a more de<7sIve appearance of a window open upon the infinite.the sterile function of imitating Nature? Maquillage has no n~ed~ohid~ Itself or to shrink from being suspected. hardly more than children.:omen. of the most fashionable society. differences of class and breed are made . Who ~ould dare to aSSIgn to. Thu~. . In truth. while their gaze is vacant or set. a supernatural and excessive life: its black frame renders the . Some are grave and serious others blonde and brainless. XII. playing with hoops or gravely paying SOCIal calls. The~e two beings have not a single thought in their heads. for it is distinction.Proud distinction has given way to a comfortable affluence. Or at a cafe door. It IS.young .tmme~ately ObVIOUS the spectator's eye. I content myself with appealing to true artists as well as to those women themselves who having ~eceivedat birth a spark of that sacred flame. in whatever luxurious to trappmgs the subjects may be decked. they are as solemn and stagey as the play or opera that they are pretending to follow. she has an enormous cigar entirely filling the aperture of her tiny ~outh. frail.34 The Painter oj Modern Life The Painter oj Modern Life 35 represent life. SItS. Like her dainty comp~on. slender. They tap their teeth with their fans. thus rehearsing the comedy performed at home by their parents. . others frankly display the chests of young boys. as portraits framed in their boxes. m: 1 See pl. the Idalie. I am IX:rfectlyhap~y . are s~aking upon their virginal.~lance more penetra~g and individual. their a. . let It display itself. would tend it so that their whole beings were on fire with it. are ostentatiously sweepIng the floor WIth their trains and the fringes of their shawls. bathed in the diffused brightness of an auditorium. they exist very much more for the pleasure of the observer than f~r ~eir own. It has moreover been remarked that artifice cannot le~d charm to ugliness and can only serve beauty. Is It even cert~ that they can see? Unless.his mistress. Now for a moment we move to a lowlier theatrical world where the little dancers. ISthus particularly given to portraymg w?men who are elaborately dressed and embellished by all the rites of artifice. if you will understand me aright.of hum~ life Itself. .' . And now the doors are being thrown open at Valentino s. Beside him. at least if it does so with frankness and honesty.' Next we watch elegant families strolling at leisure in th~ walks of a public garden. or the Casino (where formerly it would have been the Tivoli. their jewelry and their snowy.In the op~n air. puny shoulders absurd fancy-dresses which belong to no period. the Folies and the Paphos)-those Bedlams where the exuberance of idle youth is given free rein. they are gazmg at the crowd as at a river which reflects their own image. little w?men. at the Prado. 14. the wives leaning calmly on the arms of theIr. they come and go. no less than in the swarming :mt-hill. and the rouge which sets. but proud ~f appearing at last in the blaze of the limelight. are S~PPIng. Women who have exaggerated the fashion to the extent of perverting its charm an~ totally destroying its aims. her feet supported on the inevitable footstool.HAVING ~akenup~n himse~ the t~sk of seeking out and expounding ~e beauty m modermty.ustereverdict leaves me quite unmoved.u_navowable bject of imitating fair Nature and of o enterm!? into compennon with youth. Some flaunt precocious bosoms with an a:istocratic unconcern. we watch the display of one of those half-wit ~eacocks whose elegance is the creation of his tailor and whose head of his ~arbe~. as he lounges against the windows lit from WIthin and without. white shoulders. Meanwhile skinny little girls with billowing petticoats. whose solid and complacent air tells of a fortune made and their resulting self-esteem. Monsieur G.fire to the cheek-bone only goes to increase the brightness of the pupil and adds to the face of a beautiful woman the mysterious passion of the priestess.for those whose owlish gravity prevents them from ~eekingBe~utym ItSmost minute manifestations to laugh at these refl~ct1onsof mm~ and to accuse them of a childish self-importance. WOMEN AND PROSTITUTES . like Narcissuses of imbecility.art.husb~ds. ~t one moment. and are their joy and their delight. receiving and refleering the Iight :WIththeir ey~s. a great baggage who lacks practically nothing to ake her Into a great lady-that 'practically nothing' being in fact 'practIcally everything'. . on the contrary. pass and repass. as glorious. face-painting should not be used ~t~the vulgar. Moreover in the c?mplete assem~la~e of hi~ works. .
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