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Armchair Traveler: Rouen, France and the Impressionists

The Cathedral & Gros Hrloge in Rouen

“I am exhausted, I can’t bear it any more and I had nightmares last night: the cathedral was falling down on me, it seemed to be blue, or pink or yellow.” —Claude Monet From 1892 to 1893, Monet painted the 31 works that comprise his Rouen Cathedral series. He was solitary and oblivious to the other artists working around him. ... Read More »

The Ides of March: Where exactly was Caesar killed in Rome?

"Death of Julius Caesar" by Vincenzo Camuccini, 1798

On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar—the most famous Roman at home and abroad—was assassinated by a group of mutineer consuls in the Senate house, the Curia Pompeii. In a startling quirk of fate, his body slumped against a statue of Pompey the Great, his former political ally turned archrival, who fought the failed bid to stop Caesar from becoming ... Read More »

Renoir: The Artist Who Loved Women

Jeanne Samary in a Low Necked Dress (detail), 1877

You may enjoy one of Renoir’s most famous paintings, “La Loge”, at the current show, “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.   The fashionable woman in “La Loge” is Nini Lopez, who was an actress from Montmartre and known as “fish face.” Renoir met her when he moved to Montmartre for the summer to paint “Bal ... Read More »

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity to Open at the Metropolitan Museum on February 26

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The latest fashion . . . is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters most. —Édouard Manet, 1881   Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity at The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents a revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries.   Nearly 80 paintings by Impressionist masters such as Manet, Monet, Renoir, ... Read More »

Armchair Traveler: Cézanne and Aix-en-Provence

Atelier Cézanne—Cézanne bought a little country house in November 1901 and worked right until the end of his life in 1906

“When I was in Aix, I thought I would be better off elsewhere. Now that I’m here, I miss Aix… when you’re born there, that’s it, nothing else appeals.”   The urban haunts of Paris may have provided the grounds for Impressionism’s rise, but Paul Cézanne’s life began (and ended) in the southern, Roman city of Aix-en-Provence. Born the illegitimate ... Read More »

Girls, Get Naked and Sleep next Sunday Night!—The Eve of St. Agnes

Madeleine undressing (Eve of St. Agnes), John Everett Millais, 1863

St. Agnes is the patron saint of girls, and legend has it that virgins may see their future husbands in their dreams during the night of St. Agnes’s Eve on January 20. For the ritual to work, the young girl was to go to bed without supper, and undress completely before climbing into bed naked. Lying on her back, with ... Read More »

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