Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Millais : The Proscribed royalist
In the last half of the 19th century there were literally scores of great art ateliers and academies turning out thousands of highly trained and accomplished artists, painting in dozens of different styles and on countless different subjects. The best of the best of these were clearly amongst the greatest geniuses in western civilization. It is an incredible irony that this greatest of all periods should have become the most denigrated.

en like William Adolphe Bouguereau, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Jules Breton, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Jean Francois Millet, Jehan Georges Vibert, Edward Burne Jones, Fredrick Lord Leighton, Edward Poynter, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, John William Waterhouse, Leon L'hermitte, Sir Frank Dicksee, Sir John Everett Millais, Alexander Cabanel and Jules Lefebvre. These names, many of which may be new to you, were as well known by the cogniscenti in the 1890's as Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol are known today.

They were household names. People would line up sometimes for blocks to see exhibitions of their works. The rich, and the poor, the humble and the famous alike adored their work.

Men like Henry James, Frederic Chopin and Charles Dickens idolized these academic masters. Could such men that we all agree were beyond question great artistic geniuses themselves have had such bad taste so as to idolize art that today's ideologues would have us believe was so bad?

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