A-Level: 19th-century painting of leisure

videos + essays

A summer day in Paris: Berthe Morisot’s <em>Hunting Butterflies</em>
A summer day in Paris: Berthe Morisot’s Hunting Butterflies

The subject takes control over the outdoor setting, expressing her independence in spite of limitations.

How to recognize Renoir: <em>The Swing</em>
How to recognize Renoir: The Swing

Renoir wanted to forget everything he knew about how to paint so that he could render light as it really is.

Édouard Manet, <em>A Bar at the Folies-Bergère</em>
Édouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Manet turns the tables—or in this case, the bar—on how we view painting.

Gustave Caillebotte, <em>Paris Street; Rainy Day</em>
Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street; Rainy Day

Though called “an Impressionist in name only,” Caillebotte is all about light and movement–just like his peers.

Georges Seurat, <em>A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – 1884</em>
Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – 1884

Seurat sought to bring science to the methods of Impressionism with new, methodical approaches to color.

Mary Cassatt, <em>In the Loge</em>
Mary Cassatt, In the Loge

The subject looks through opera glasses, but she herself is the object of another man’s gaze—not to mention ours.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, <em>At the Moulin Rouge</em>
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge

Toulouse-Lautrec invites us into the nocturnal world of the nightclub, where classes mix under the electric lights.

Edgar Degas,<em> At the Races in the Countryside</em>
Edgar Degas, At the Races in the Countryside

Degas is off to the races, where class issues are in the foreground.

Auguste Renoir, <em>The Grands Boulevards</em>
Auguste Renoir, The Grands Boulevards

A city inhabited: Renoir’s optimistic but sketchy representation of modern life on the new boulevards of Paris.

Edgar Degas, <em>Visit to a Museum</em>
Edgar Degas, Visit to a Museum

Mary Cassatt, an artist and close friend Degas, is the subject of this painting about the act of seeing.

Édouard Manet, <em>Plum Brandy</em>
Édouard Manet, Plum Brandy

The subject of this painting is breaking almost as many taboos as the artist who painted it.

Édouard Manet, <em>In the Conservatory</em>
Édouard Manet, In the Conservatory

The greenery surrounding this couple is lush and exotic, but it’s clear that there’s trouble in paradise.