5 Inviting Trips To The Past

The real histories behind Monet, Mother Jones and tikka masala


ROSS KING King has made a career of elucidating crucial episodes in the history of art and architecture (Brunelleschi's Dome, Michelangelo & the Pope's Ceiling). This time he's at play in the fields of French art and society from 1863 to 1874, years when France preferred academic painters, with their lusty goddesses and uplifting battle scenes. But what France preferred was under challenge by a rising (and sometimes backbiting) new group of artists. At the same time, the vainglorious Emperor Louis-Napoléon was stumbling into the calamities of war and revolution. Eventually art would imitate life; all the old...

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