Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

Aristophanes The Birds ("Ornithets") is the only comedy written by Aristophanes whose entire action takes place far from the city of Athens. Consequently, the play makes little mention of the circumstances of the Peloponnesian War, or of contemporary Athenian politics. It won second prize at the Dionysia in 414 BC. It is a play about the … Continue reading Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

The Story of French Impressionism, Part IX: Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) -pronounced "kye-bott"- was descended from a wealthy military textile family in Paris. His family owned a home in Paris and later bought a larger home south of Paris, as well. Photograph of Caillebotte circa 1878 Caillebotte studied law, and he was also drafted to serve in the armed forces during the Franco-Prussian War … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part IX: Gustave Caillebotte

Stagecoach

Stagecoach (1939) Director: John Ford Stagecoach brought about a revival in the Western genre, which had largely fallen out of favor in the late '20s and '30s. The Western is a mythic depiction of the Western country and prairie, a largely historically untrue heroic story of courage and goodness in an amoral land of savages … Continue reading Stagecoach

The Story of French Impressionism, Part IV: Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) was born into a wealthy English family in Paris. His father ran a successful silk trade, which afforded him an upper middle-class lifestyle, unlike his penniless contemporaries, Monet and Renoir. As a young man, Sisley went to study business in London, but he left after four years to return to Paris to study art. … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part IV: Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille

The Story of French Impressionism, Part II: Claude Monet

A part of the narrative of French Impressionism relies on the exclusiveness of the 18th century Parisian elite - the Académie des Beaux-Arts – the hub of French art culture. The Académie hosted an annual art show, the “Salon de Paris”, which typically showcased preferred political, historical, religious, and mythological works. Winners of these art … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part II: Claude Monet

The Story of French Impressionism, Part I: Édouard Manet

In contrast to the bold, triumphant, and defined political works of earlier European painters, like Eugene Delacroix for example, the Impressionists were a more muted, subtle group of less defined painters, at least conventional wisdom instructs us so. The Impressionists give us only a glimpse of something, a passing blurred picture of motion; like a … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part I: Édouard Manet