Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Baroque Revivals

Édouard Manet
Dead Christ with Angels

Simultaneous with the American Civil War, Édouard Manet  boldest of moderns  brought back the same windswept angels and untranscendent cadavers that had characterized Baroque religious painting in Italy 250 years earlier. The Salon critics hated Dead Christ with Angels, as they were meant to do. The picture knocked around in dealers' hands until 1903, when Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer bought it for her great New York collection. It began a new life (as public masterpiece) at the Metropolitan Museum in the early 1930s after her death.

 Édouard Manet

c. 1862-63

A year or two earlier Manet painted himself and his bride-to-be (musician Suzanne Leenhoff) wearing 17th-century costumes in a painting conceived as a tribute to Peter Paul Rubens. Madame Manet sold this picture in the 1890s, several years after the artist's death. By roundabout paths it too reached the Met, but not until the 1950s.