Friday, April 16, 2010

French and American Cultural Values through painting and photography

French painting is best done by the impressionists. They painted realistic scenes of modern life, but they focused (or de-focused) on overall visual effect instead of detail. They did not smoothly blend or shade, they sought for the image that represented an impression of reality. The impressionist captured everyday life, the little things that make a culture what it truly is. Photography seeks not to represent an impression of reality, but to capture some form of reality, be it contrived or coincidence. Although the shapes and forms may remain similar, the subtle changes or subtle similarities in that captured reality reveal an immense expanse of cultural values and identities completely distinct and separate from one culture to another.

La buveuse d’absinthe (Absinthe drinker), Edgar Degas

Celle-ci est pour toi (This one’s for you)

Les joueurs de cartes (Card Players), Paul Cézanne

Dépendance électronique (Electronic dependance)

Chanteuse du café (Café concert singer), Edgar Degas

Idole culturelle (Cultural idol)

Jeune fille coiffant ses cheveux (Young girl combing her hair), Pierre-Auguste Renoir

La priorité féminine (The feminine priority)

Fille-lisant (The Reader), Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Connaissance lumineuse (Enlightened knowledge)

Étoile (The Star), Edgar Degas

Le rêve (The dream)

Yvonne et Christine Lerolle au piano (Yvonne and Christine Lerolle Playing the Piano), Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Nouvelle musique de salon (New parlor music)

Au bar des Folies Françaises (A Bar at the Folies-Bergere), Edouard Manet

La haute cuisine américaine (American high cuisine)

Fruits du Midi (Fruits from the Midi), Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Trois portions de légumes (Three servings of vegetables)


  1. I like how your project brings together two completely separate times... I visited an art exhibit the other day that condemned modern art because it was denying us the privilege of relating to art in a real way. its true though, realistic art that makes a statement about human nature or characteristics is something that can be related to throughout time and your project showed that, good job. :)

  2. Fantastic concept with a hilarious execution. You drew some great (and sometimes unexpected) parallels.

  3. I love this project! I love French impressionist paintings and making it modern with photography is an awesome idea. Life seemed to be so much more beautiful back then.

  4. Haha yes. This is a good project. I like your creations of the french masterpieces. Especially Deion Sanders catching the football. Yes. Funny idea.

  5. Yes. Simply yes.

    After the first pair, which took a bit of time, I looked forward to seeing the rest of them. You should submit this to Olivier's class book, because being able to see these on opposing pages would be great, assuming copyright isn't an issue.

  6. Cool idea. I especially like the "trois portions de légumes" at the end :)

  7. This was really fun and well executed. Nice work.

  8. That last picture is so sick! I liked the juxtaposition of great art versus modern American applications.

  9. i love this photo essay. the photos are great and i feel like the whole essay really embodies the theme of the class. nice work

  10. I loved that this project wasn't just a comparison between two cultures, but also two different mediums (painting and photography). Very creative, and it all came together well in the end!