The Impressionists are world renowned for their vibrant depictions of the atmospheric effects and shimmering beauty of the French countryside. These paintings, often produced in Paris, found an enthusiastic market in the city. The inhabitants of that hub of modernity had an apparently paradoxical interest in the mythologies of rural living. As the city became more and more the motive force of social change so the country was understood as the anchor of changelessness and nostalgia. The essayists in this volume examine the complex relationship between country and city. Their work draws widely on the contemporary culture exploring folklore and children's literature, anarchism and urbanism, and offers significant new insights into the work of major artists and writers including Courbet, Millet, Monet, Van Gogh and Zola.
Contents: Introduction, Richard Thomson; The viewer on the beach, John House; Courbet's touch, Paul Galvez; 'This dangerous game': Rousseau, Diaz and the uses of the auction in the marketing of landscape, Simon Kelly; Footsteps in Normandy: Jean-FranÃ§ois Millet and provincial nostalgia in late 19th-century France, Bradley Fratello; Legendary Places: oral history and folk geography in 19th-century Brittany, David Hopkin; 'Rivers of lemonade and mountains of sugar': representations of country and city in 19th-century French children's literature, Anna Green; 'Promenades et plantations': Impressionism, conservation and Haussmann's reinvention of Paris, Clare A. P. Willsdon; The insatiable appetite of Paris: Zola's Claude Lantier before L'Oeuvre, Michael Pakenham; Painting like a ProvenÃ§al: Cézanne, Van Gogh and the secret of Monticelli's 'alchemy', Frances Fowle; Monet's 'Rouen cathedrals': anarchism, Gothic architecture, and instantaneous photography, Richard Thomson; Index.
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