Monday, December 01, 2008

Manet's "Rue Mosnier with Flags" (1878)

[Visual description: painting by Edouard Manet, a street scene in daylight, with French flags flying from every building; in the foreground, a figure with one leg uses crutches, back to the viewer, wearing a large blue coat and a black hat]

We went to the Getty today, a gorgeous day here in Los Angeles. The Getty is a wheel-friendly place with free admission and amazing views, so it's a low-stress place for us to go be a tourist family in our own town, and we go a few times a year. This time I spotted the Manet above--hadn't noticed it before, somehow, but it's in the permanent collection there. Tyler Green's blog Modern Art Notes had a good discussion of this painting's historical context earlier this year; an excerpt:
You can't miss the one-legged man--likely a war vet--at the left of the painting. The scene is apparently set on that national holiday and Manet juxtaposes the man against one of Baron Haussmann's famously straight Parisian streets. On the right -- on the other side of the street -- are Haussmann's new streetlights and a prosperous family. They all ignore the one-legged man. Manet is reminding us of the cost of war and of France's willful negligence of its warriors.

1 comment:

Sherman Dorn said...

I didn't know the Getty had a Manet--thanks! It's definitely one of the wonders of L.A. (even if their curators made a few bum purchases). Two of my colleagues have won Getty fellowships in the last few years, and it's definitely been a boon to them.