Art: Arcadia Reconstituted

"I ran into a mistress I had during my last year at school," wrote the Parisian diarist Edmond de Goncourt in 1855, the year in which an unknown 14-year-old apprentice named Pierre Auguste Renoir sat painting flowers on teacups, 60 the dozen, in a china shop in Rue du Temple. "There were still girls like her in those days, girls with a little of the grisette left under their cashmere shawls...She was still the same girl, with the eyes I had loved, her little nose, the lips flat as if crushed by kisses, the...

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