By Christopher Lloyd
This e-book on Pissarro comprises an in depth essay, forty eight full-page color plates, and is followed by way of large notes and comparative illustrations. Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) used to be not just a relevant determine within the Impressionist move yet an immense impression at the improvement of recent artwork. He was once the one artist to show in any respect 8 of the Impressionist exhibitions among 1874 and 1886, and his letters are a desirable and worthy resource of knowledge at the theoretical points and sensible implications of Impressionism.
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But none of the works published presents a sustained study of the sculptor's career in relation to his patrons and contemporary politics, an approach that has dominated the study of French art during the same era. This book attempts to fill this gap in our understanding of an artist whose work is crucial for evaluating the European, and not just the French, conjunction of art and politics during the revolutionary and Napoleonic period. Page 4 One of the reasons Canova's politics have attracted less scholarly attention from art historians than those of, say, Jacques-Louis David is that the Venetian sculptor scrupulously avoided any court post and refused to work exclusively for one set of politically cohesive patrons.
It is true that the French employed conservation and restoration measures different from those used elsewhere, but the vituperative and self-congratulatory rhetoric on both sides of the issue smacks of mere cultural propaganda5 The warmth of the Italian reaction did much to counteract the initial French charges that the works were shamefully neglected while in Italy, and of course the Italians claimed that much damage had been done to the pictures by their removal from Italy, French claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
Moreover, the political influence accompanying cultural preeminence, thoroughly understood in the eighteenth century, may be less comprehensible today. In the contest between Rome and Paris, Canova was an undisguised partisan of the former, believing it the cradle of the arts and Western culture and the only context in which Page 12 artists, especially sculptors, could realize their potential. Even as a young artist in Rome, Canova had no favorable opinion of French taste in the arts, and he saw French hegemony in Europe as deleterious to Rome and Italy.