Baudelaire says that "pleasure ennobles the soul and softens the heart," and a quick glance through the works exhibited in the Impressionist Gallery of the Art Institute of Chicago brings out a wholehearted agreement with the statement. Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise," in Gallery 201 typifies the mood of the sentence where the artist has portrayed two young men, languorously enjoying the sun dappled afternoon. Giving them company is the young woman with her back turned to the viewer, decked out in the fashion of the day, a blue flannel dress. The faces have a look of ease and their casual way of sitting reveals that they have had a satisfying day, have enjoyed their lunch and a cigarette in the boater's hand is indicative of the end of their feasting. This painting has been called an image of "bourgeois leisure" (Impressionism and Post-Impressionism p. 45) and here we see men and women enjoying themselves, which in turn suffuses their selves and softens the rough edges they might have possessed. The men and woman have an easy camaraderie, and they could be any of the vast multitudes who escaped the bustle of Paris to spend a day in the country, which was made possible by the new modes of transport like the locomotive.2. In Visions, Hannoosh cited Baudelaire as describing some major techniques (valuing color over line, depicting movement or "perpetual vibration," including "air" as an element, using minute strokes, etc to make a "unified whole") that Impressionism developed fully. Find an Impressionist painting here that does one of these, identify, and briefly tell how it does so.
Baudelaire's analysis of the painting techniques of the Impressionists can be studied, once again, in Renoir's "Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise," where we find a look of unhurried action. Colors play a very important role in here as can be seen in the color palette that he used, full of yellows and greens and blues, with a complete dissociation from black and grey. The brushstrokes he has used are light and feathery which reinforces the indolence that is a result of being sated. There are no clearly marked contours, so that the whole scene is softened and the afternoon sun dapples the painting and leaves its mark on the viewer too. There is an energy to the painting because of the minute strokes and a masterly use of light and shadow, seem sometimes on the table and at other times in the fold of the lady's dress. A very striking feature of the painting is that it depicts ordinary people in an ordinary surrounding and indulging in the most common recreations.
5. Choose any painting here that is more RURAL in emphasis than one you've already remarked on. Identify it, and briefly tell how it contrasts with any one thing from Baudelaire, Hannoosh's remarks, another Impressionist or Modernist work, or any of the art theory from Freeland.
Van Gogh's The Poet's Garden can be studied as a contradiction of Baudelaire's vitriolic attack on his country in " Three Drafts of a Preface" when he says that " France is passing through a period of vulgarity," when in fact we see the flowering of some of the greatest minds in art and literature during this phase. I t is also a contradiction of the subject chosen by the Impressionists, which tended to depict Parisian life most of the time. The two main theories of art, i.e. expression theory and cognitive theory, realize the fact that art should and does communicate. It sends out the emotions, and ideas that led to the creation of the piece and the reasons that propelled the artist to paint it in a certain way. An artist has the ability to convey ideas in ways which are "original, apt and unique to a medium."(Freedland, 161) This painting by Van Gogh was created by him as a decoration for Paul Gauguin's bedroom which he would occupy during