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Manet's Race Course at Longchamp and Origin of Modernis - Essay Example

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Manet's Race Course at Longchamp and Origin of Modernis

The painting captures that “specific” point in time of racing, when jockeys are galloping toward each other, as they romp toward the finish line (Modernism 109). It can be seen from the painting that two jockeys are closely contending for the first place spot, though the rest can easily catch up. The rising dust cloud stresses the muscular strength and speed of the horses that these jockeys are controlling. The speed and power of animals are nothing, if they cannot be harnessed to make that big win. The audience is a blur, but it remains evident how men and women, with women donning their usual dresses and using their umbrellas, are energetically focused on the race. It is interesting how nineteenth-century women are enjoying this “manly” sport, with its dirtiness and physical action. They oppose the gender stereotype of women, who prefer dances and parties to sports events. In this painting, women also seem to potentially cherish betting and the adrenalin rush of watching a horse race as it concludes. Like this audience, Manet wants his art viewers to also feel the intense action and excitement of the race at this point in time. He wants them to feel what it is like to hold their breaths, as they wait for that winning horse. Like the audience in the actual race, there is a distinct feeling of never being quite sure who the winner will be. Hence, this painting effectively captures the emotions and senses of that specific point of race time, when excitement and uncertainty are at their highest points. Furthermore, the “Race Course at Longchamp” is a modernist painting, because it tackles a unique subject matter. While other paintings focus on portraits, spiritual or Catholic images and events, still life, and other important, mostly official or royal, personalities and events, Manet chooses to paint about a common sports event in the “Race Course at Longchamp.” This sports event may be a highlight to some upper-class people who enjoy them too, but horse racing is generally viewed as a “commoner's sport.” The subject here is not the usual subject matter of other artists, and instead, the “Race Course at Longchamp” explores a specific event that common people enjoy. In addition, the painting zooms into that specific time, when the race is at its hottest, and where the reactions of the audience and the weather are also depicted. As mentioned, the painting evokes a sense of excitement and intensity. The reactions of the audience are also crucial to the modernist painting, because it defines the wholeness of the event. It would not be enough to focus on the jockeys and the horses alone; it will also be crucial to view how the people are reacting to the horse race as it nears its end. In addition, the cloudiness of the weather reinforces the dustiness of the game. Together, they create a sort of gloomy uncertainty on the potential result of the race. The game can change any time and this uncertainty heightens even more for those bettors. They all want to win, but they are also aware that only one horse will win the race. A modernist painting also focuses on the colors and lighting of the subject matter to assert its “wholeness.” ...Show more
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Summary

Name Instructor Class August 22, 2011 Manet's “Race Course at Longchamp” and Modernism Modernism aims to provide an alternative view of the world, as it opposes traditional subject matters and art styles. One of the seminal examples of modernist paintings is Manet's “Race Course at Longchamp.” It is a unique modernist painting, because it underlines the power of color and light in depicting specific points of time and place…
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