anagnori

The Making of Cezanne’s Palette by Philip Ball

In aesthetics, art, Europe, history of art, nature, science on November 14, 2012 at 20:54

From: The Making of Cezanne’s Palette by Philip Ball, http://www.philipball.co.uk

Innovation in art has always been a gamble. While originality may be given lip-serving credit, unfamiliarity has an even chance of breeding contempt. There is no other word to describe the critics’ response to the first independent exhibition by the Impressionists in Paris in 1874. These artists, it was claimed, had rejected “good artistic manners, devotion to form, and respect for the masters”. Part of the outrage was directed at the choice of subject-ordinary people going about their business, for goodness’ sake-and part at the quick-fire style of the brush strokes. But the detractors were also offended by the colours.

The critic E. Cardon said sarcastically, “Soil three quarters of a canvas with black and white, rub the rest with yellow, distribute haphazardly some red and blue spots, and you’ll obtain an impression of spring in front of which the adepts will be carried away by ecstasy.” The second group exhibition two years later elicited similar complaints: “Try to make M. Pissarro understand that trees are not violet, that the sky is not the colour of fresh butter…”. Renoir’s “green and violet spots” in areas of flesh were seen to “denote the state of complete putrefaction of a corpse”.

Yet these were not new charges. In England, the Pre-Raphaelite painters such as William Holman Hunt and John Millais stood accused in the 1850s of using greens “unripe enough to cause indigestion”. J. M. W. Turner, the supreme British colourist of the early nineteenth century, had in 1829 been denounced for producing “a specimen of colouring run mad” in his Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus (Figure 1).

Read the full article

Reposted with permission from: Philip Ball

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: