Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Paris Romantique, 1815-1848

On the last day of May, while P spent some time with a Castillea alum studying in France, Vicki, Rebecca and I toured the new Paris Romantique exhibition at the Petit Palais. (Romantic, not romantic). Five years ago Vicki and I did the Paris 1900 exhibition, also at the Petit Palais, and I remember it still as the best such show I have ever seen. Paris Romantique was a bit smaller in scale but similarly organized, by genre: war, politics, revolution, fashion, furniture, literature, arts and music. I know this period in history but slightly, and largely through composers and their biographies. Romantic Paris was the nut that Wagner (and every other artist of the period) tried to crack, and against which he eventually developed. His 1841-42 apartment on the Left Bank is still well marked.  The Petit Palais is another of Paris' many gems, historically, architecturally, decoratively, as well as its permanent collection, and it would be a star museum in most any country outside Europe.
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One view of the Petit Palais

Delacroix well represented; here his Les Convulsionnaires de Tanger, done in
1838, concerning a procession he witnessed while on a diplomatic mission to

The great French author of the of the authors of
both the French and English infatuation and idealization of
the Medieval

As I said, I approached this period and place from music, and Berlioz was
certainly one of the earlier French Romantics

Origin of the term "long hair"

Raising of the Obelisk on the Place de la Concorde in the 1830s; the Place de la
Concorde was not a Happy Place in Paris or French history, unless you were a
fan of regicide, the Terror, etc., and during the Restoration it was decided,
eventually by Louis Phillipe, to put the obelisk there; it was a gift from Egypt
and had been transported, with great fanfare, all the way from Luxor

Back to music: my favorite high Romantic opera, Der Freischutz, by Weber

In Paris, Meyerbeer ruled the opera world and was Wagner's chief antagonist; also
perhaps the first object of his anti-Semitism

Jean Pezous, La Descente de la Cortille, depicting part of a parade associated
with the Paris Carnival

The model of Pleyel piano that Chopin preferred

Poet of the Piano

Lizst was there too; I wonder if they ever did a "dueling
pianos" thing

As was George Sand, aka Aurore Dupin-Dudevant, the most
popular and prolific writer of the age; also a political activist,
socialist; adopted the male nom de plume, dressed as a male,
smoked in public, and whose list of famous paramours,
including Chopin, is beyond the scope of this blog; deserves
way more attention as a writer and feminist than she has gotten

Musical bits and pieces

Many, many famous operas of Romantic Paris

Rachel, the great Thespian of the age

When they weren't writing, singing, or acting, they were manning the barricades...
1815 marked the Allied occupation of Paris; 1830, the Young Europe
revolution that influenced Wagner, and of course, 1848; Wagner was long
gone from Paris by then, but his involvement in the revolutionary events of
that time brought a price on his head and exile from Germany that lasted a
decade; the epicenter of it all was Paris, and much larger events unfolded...

Victor Schnetz, Combat devant l'Hotel de Ville, le 28 juilette, 1830

After Romantique Paris, we also took in an exhibition of German Romantic works,
mostly drawings, from Weimar

Paysage Italien, by non-Renaissance Renaissance man Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe himself; Romanticism certainly antedated 1815-1848, and Goethe had
as much to do with it as anyone

In the permanent collection of the Petit Palais, a Steen

Rembrandt self-portrait #1,632

Show-stopper for me: Guimard's Paris dining room

1 comment:

Tawana said...

Love the "dueling pianos" comment!