Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism

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The Judgment of Paris chronicles the dramatic decade between two famous exhibitions - the scandalous Salon des Refuses in 1863 and the first Impressionist showing in 1874 - set against the splendor of Napoleon III's Second Empire, and its dramatic fall after the Franco-Prussian War. A tale of many artists, it revolves around the lives of two, described as "the two poles of art": Ernest Meissonier, the most famous and successful painter of the nineteenth century, hailed for his precision and devotion to history; ...
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The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism

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Overview

The Judgment of Paris chronicles the dramatic decade between two famous exhibitions - the scandalous Salon des Refuses in 1863 and the first Impressionist showing in 1874 - set against the splendor of Napoleon III's Second Empire, and its dramatic fall after the Franco-Prussian War. A tale of many artists, it revolves around the lives of two, described as "the two poles of art": Ernest Meissonier, the most famous and successful painter of the nineteenth century, hailed for his precision and devotion to history; and Edouard Manet, reviled in his time, who nonetheless heralded the most radical change in the history of art since the Renaissance. Out of the story of their parallel lives, illuminated by their legendary supporters and critics - Zola, Delacroix, Courbet, Baudelaire, Whistler, Monet, Hugo, Degas, and many more - Ross King shows that their contest was not just about artistic expression, it was about competing visions of a world drastically changed by technology, politics, and personal freedom.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Once again, the author of Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling sets an art revolution in high relief by presenting a dramatic narrative of rival esthetics at war. In The Judgment of Paris, King presents the mid-19th century triumph of French Impressionism through the stories of two celebrity artists, Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier (1815-91) and Edouard Manet (1832-83). Though relatively unknown now, Meissonier was the most acclaimed artist of his day. His painfully meticulous historical paintings were designed as elaborately polished grand illusions. The much younger Manet eschewed such drab artifice in favor of vigorous, undisguised techniques and brazenly naked female subjects. King's micro-history places readers in the midst of an artistic movement that changed our way of seeing.
William Grimes
The rise of Manet and the fall of Meissonier provide the narrative spine for The Judgment of Paris, Ross King's spirited account of the decade-long battle between France's officially sanctioned history painters and the wild tribe of upstarts contemptuously dismissed as "impressionists." It is, in its broad outlines, a familiar story, but Mr. King, the author of "Brunelleschi's Dome," tells it with tremendous energy and skill. It is hard to imagine a more inviting account of the artistic civil war that raged around the Paris Salons of the 1860's and 70's, or of the outsize personalities who transformed the way the world looked at painting.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Listening to Layton is like sitting at a Left Bank cafe with a British friend who knows both the history and gossip of the 1860s' Paris art scene and can put it all in political context. Layton has a friendly, low-pitched voice, good tempo and pace. He's never overly dramatic, but does lift an amusing vocal eyebrow quoting some of the more pompous figures of the period. King describes the mid-century revolution in French art by focusing on the lives and canvases of the extremes of the period. Ernest Meissonier is wildly successful and wealthy, patiently mirroring every face and frock and hoofbeat in precise historical detail, while Edouard Manet is rejected and scorned by the public, peers, critics and buyers for the manner in which he illuminated his impressions of scenes and characters. As Manet gradually moves from brown hues to vibrant colors and from classical to modern settings, King shows his influence on those younger contemporaries-Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas et al.-who came to be known as the Impressionists. Artists, art historians and connoisseurs will be transfixed by this description of the seismic shift in art from the mirror to the lamp. The rest of us may slide over the names of unfamiliar artists, critics, mistresses, models and political figures to focus on the heart of this fascinating story. Simultaneous release with the Walker & Co. hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 19). (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
King takes the listener on an enthralling tour of a remarkable decade in the history of art. Covering the years 1863-74, the book describes Parisian culture at the time the Impressionists were beginning to show their work. The painting style in prominence at the time was that dictated by the French Academy usually works that depicted historical, mythological, or moral themes, and they were what was displayed in the annual "Salon." However, in 1863 so many painters were refused entry into the Salon that a "Salon de Refuses" was established. Using letters and reviews from the time, King is able to give us an exciting look at a tumultuous period in the history of art. As he did in his previous book, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, the author combines stories of prominent artists with the history of the time, showing the events that helped forge these changes in the art world. Tristan Layton's narration is superb; highly recommended for all libraries. Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A fluid, engaging account of how the conflicting careers of two French painters-the popular establishment favorite Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier and the oft-reviled newcomer Edouard Manet-reveal the slow emergence of Impressionism and its new view of painting and the world. King, a novelist (Domino, 2002, etc.) and art historian (Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, 2003, etc.), has crafted an exciting chronicle about political and cultural change. By shifting the light of his research from Meissonier (whose career is now at its nadir) to Manet (whose paintings now go for millions of dollars) and back again, the author illuminates an entire epoch. Many great characters in cultural history appear-Baudelaire, Zola, Henry James-not to mention the painters whose names are now Olympian. Delacroix, Monet, Cezanne, Rossetti, Renoir-they all strut a bit on King's stage, as do political figures, most notably Napoleon III. The author does not neglect the military history of the period. There is a chapter-long narrative about the brutal Franco-Prussian War, during which Meissonier and Manet met while serving with the National Guard. (The war's bloody aftermath earns another chapter.) During the protracted Siege of Paris both artists found time to sketch and eat increasingly unappetizing forms of protein. But King's focus is on the art world-especially on the annual Salons, whose politics and popular reactions King thoroughly explores. Of great interest is the savage reception (including laughter and disgust and disdain-even from friends) that Manet endured year after year at the Salons. (He fought a feckless duel with one critic.) A weaker man might have considered another career. King illustratesthat the clash of ideas is even more exciting than the clang of swords.
From the Publisher
"A fluid, engaging account of how the conflicting careers of two French painters—the popular establishment favorite Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier and the oft-reviled newcomer Édouard Manet—reveal the slow emergence of Impressionism and its new view of painting and the world.... Of great interest is the savage reception (including laughter and disgust and disdain—even from friends) that Manet endured year after year at the Salons. (He fought a feckless duel with one critic.) A weaker man might have considered another career. King illustrates that the clash of ideas is even more exciting than the clang of swords." - Kirkus starred review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593978778
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Publication date: 1/10/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 5.72 (h) x 2.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Born and raised in Canada, Ross King has lived in England since 1992. In 2002—03, two books of his were published in the United States, Domino, about the world of masquerades and opera in 18th century London and the New York Times bestselling Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling.

Nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003 in the category of critisicm, in Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling King tells the story of the four years—1508-1512.—Michelangelo spent painting the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine chapel. In this extraordinary book, he presents a magnificent tapestry of day-to-day life of the ingenious Sistine scaffolding and outside in the upheaval of early 16th century Rome.

King's highly acclaimed Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture, was an instant hit in the U.S., landing on the New York Times, Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller lists and becoming a handselling favorite among booksellers. Brunelleschi's Dome was chosen "The 2000 Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year" and a Book Sense 76 top ten selection.

Anyone familiar with Ross King's writing knows that he has an astonishing knowledge of European cultural history. He originally planned a career in academia, earning his Ph.D. in English Literature and moving to England to assume a research position at the University of London.

King lives near Oxford, England, in the historic town of Woodstock, the site of Blenheim Palace. He is a devoted cyclist and hikes regularly in both the Pyrenees and the Canadian Rockies.

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Read an Excerpt

The Judgment of Paris

The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism
By ROSS KING

Walker & Company

Copyright © 2006 Ross King
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8027-1466-8


Chapter One

Chez Meissonier

One gloomy January day in 1863, Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, the world's wealthiest and most celebrated painter, dressed himself in the costume of Napoleon Bonaparte and, despite the snowfall, climbed onto the rooftop balcony of his mansion in Poissy.

A town with a population of a little more than 3,000, Poissy lay eleven miles northwest of Paris, on the south bank of an oxbow in the River Seine and on the railway line running from the Gare Saint-Lazare to the Normandy coast. It boasted a twelfth-century church, an equally ancient bridge, and a weekly cattle market that supplied the butcher shops of Paris and, every Tuesday, left the medieval streets steaming with manure. There was little else in Poissy except for the ancient priory of Saint-Louis, a walled convent that had once been home to an order of Dominican nuns. The nuns had been evicted during the French Revolution and the convent's buildings either demolished or sold to private buyers. But inside the enclosure remained an enormous, spired church almost a hundred yards in length and, close by, a grandiose house with clusters of balconies, dormer windows andpink-bricked chimneys: a building sometimes known as the Grande Maison.

Ernest Meissonier had occupied the Grande Maison for most of the previous two decades. In his forty-eighth year he was short, arrogant and densely bearded: "ugly, little and mean," one observer put it, "rather a scrap of a man." A friend described him as looking like a professor of gymnastics, and indeed the burly Meissonier was an eager and accomplished athlete, often rising before dawn to rampage through the countryside on horseback, swim in the Seine, or launch himself at an opponent, fencing sword in hand. Only after an hour or two of these exertions would he retire, sometimes still shod in his riding boots, to a studio in the Grande Maison where he spent ten or twelve hours each day crafting on his easel the wonders of precision and meticulousness that had made both his reputation and his fortune.

To overstate either Meissonier's reputation or his fortune would have been difficult in the year 1863. "At no period," a contemporary claimed, "can we point to a French painter to whom such high distinctions were awarded, whose works were so eagerly sought after, whose material interests were so guaranteed by the high prices offered for every production of his brush." No artist in France could command Meissonier's extravagant prices or excite so much public attention. Each year at the Paris Salon-the annual art exhibition in the Palais des Champs-Elysees-the space before Meissonier's paintings grew so thick with spectators that a special policeman was needed to regulate the masses as they pressed forward to inspect his latest success. Collected by wealthy connoisseurs such as James de Rothschild and the Duc d'Aumale, these paintings proved such lucrative investments that Meissonier's signature was said to be worth that of the Bank of France. "The prices of his works," noted one awestruck art critic, "have attained formidable proportions, never before known."

Meissonier's success in the auction rooms was accompanied by a chorus of critical praise and-even more unusual for an art world riven by savage rivalries and piffling jealousies-the respect and admiration of his peers. "He is the incontestable master of our epoch," declared Eugene Delacroix, who predicted to the poet Charles Baudelaire that "amongst all of us, surely it is he who is most certain to survive!" Another of Meissonier's friends, the writer Alexandre Dumas fils, called him "the painter of France." He was simply, as a newspaper breathlessly reported, "the most renowned artist of our time."

From his vantage point at the top of his mansion this most renowned artist could have seen all that his tremendous success had bought him. A stable housed his eight horses and a coach house his fleet of carriages, which included expensive landaus, berlines, and victorias. He even owned the fastest vehicle on the road, a mail coach. All were decorated, in one of his typically lordly gestures, with a crest that bore his most fitting motto: Omnia labor, or "Everything by work." A greenhouse, a saddlery, an English garden, a photographic workshop, a duck pond, lodgings for his coachman and groom, and a meadow planted with cherry trees-all were ranged across a patch of land sloping down to the embankments of the Seine, where his two yachts were moored. A dozen miles upstream, in the Rue des Pyramides, a fashionable street within steps of both the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre, he maintained his Paris apartment.

The Grande Maison itself stood between the convent's Gothic church and the remains of its ancient cloister. Meissonier had purchased the pink-bricked eighteenth-century orangery, which was sometimes known as Le Pavillon Rose, in 1846. In the ensuing years he had spent hundreds of thousands of francs on its expansion and refurbishment in order to create a splendid palace for himself and his family. A turret had been built above an adjoining cottage to house an enormous cistern that provided the Grande Maison with running water, which was pumped through the house and garden by means of a steam engine. The house also boasted a luxurious water closet and, to warm it in winter, a central heating system. A billiard room was available for Meissonier's rare moments away from his easel.

Yet despite these modern conveniences, the Grande Maison was really intended to be an exquisite antiquarian daydream. "My house and my temperament belong to another age," Meissonier once said. He did not feel at home or at ease in the nineteenth century. He spoke unashamedly of the "good old days," by which he meant the eighteenth century and even earlier. He detested the sight of railway stations, cast-iron bridges, modern architecture and recent fashions such as frock coats and top hats. He did not like how people sat cross-legged and read newspapers and cheap pamphlets instead of leather-bound books. And so from the outside his house-all gables, pitched roofs and leaded windows-was a vision of eighteenth-century elegance and tranquillity, while on the inside the rooms were decorated in the style of Louis XV, with expensive tapestries, armoires, embroidered fauteuils, and carved wooden balustrades.

The Grande Maison included not one but, most unusually, two large studios in which Meissonier could paint his masterpieces. The atelier d'hiver, or "winter workshop," featuring bay windows and a large fireplace, was on the top floor of the house, while at ground level, overlooking the garden, he had built a glass-roofed annex known as the atelier d'ete, or "summer workshop." Both abounded with the tools of his trade: canvases, brushes and easels, but also musical instruments, suits of armor, bridles and harnesses, plumed helmets, and an assortment of halberds, rapiers and muskets-enough weaponry, it was said, to equip a company of mercenaries. For Meissonier's paintings were, like his house, recherche figments of an antiquarian imagination. He specialized in scenes from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century life, portraying an ever-growing cast of silk-coated and lace-ruffed gentlemen-what he called his bonshommes, or "goodfellows"-playing chess, smoking pipes, reading books, sitting before easels or double basses, or posing in the uniforms of musketeers or halberdiers. These musicians and bookworms striking their quiet and reflective poses in serene, softly lit interiors, all executed in microscopic detail, bore uncanny similarities to the work of Jan Vermeer, an artist whose rediscovery in the 1860s owed much to the ravenous taste for Meissonier-and one whose tremendous current popularity approaches the enthusiastic esteem in which Meissonier himself was held in mid-nineteenth-century France.

Typical of Meissonier's work was one of his most recent creations, Halt at an Inn, owned by the Duc de Morny, a wealthy art collector and the illegitimate half brother of the French Emperor, Napoleon III. Completed in 1862, it featured three eighteenth-century cavaliers in tricorn hats being served drinks on horseback outside a half-timbered rural tavern: a charming vignette of the days of old, without a railway train or top hat in sight. Meissonier's most famous painting, though, was The Brawl, a somewhat less decorous scene depicting a fight in a tavern between two men dressed-as usual-in opulent eighteenth-century attire. Awarded the Grand Medal of Honor at the Salon of 1855, it was owned by Queen Victoria, whose husband and consort, Prince Albert, had prized Meissonier above all other artists. At the height of the Crimean War, Napoleon III had purchased the work from Meissonier for 25,000 francs-eight times the annual salary of an average factory worker-and presented it as a gift to his ally across the Channel.

"If I had not been a painter," Meissonier once declared, "I should have liked to be a historian. I don't think any other subject could be so interesting as history." He was not alone in his veneration of the past. The mid-nineteenth century was an age of rapid technological development that had witnessed the invention of photography, the electric motor and the steam-powered locomotive. Yet it was also an age fascinated by, and obsessed with, the past. The novelist Gustave Flaubert regarded this keen sense of history as a completely new phenomenon-as yet another of the century's many bold inventions. "The historical sense dates from only yesterday," he wrote to a friend in 1860, "and it is perhaps one of the nineteenth century's finest achievements." Visions of the past were everywhere in France. Fashions at the court of Napoleon III aped those of previous centuries, with men wearing bicorn hats, knee breeches and silk stockings. The country's best-known architect, Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, had spent his career busily returning old churches and cathedrals to their medieval splendor. By 1863 he was creating a fairy-tale castle for the emperor at Pierrefonds, a knights-in-armor reverie of portcullises, round towers and cobbled courtyards.

This sense of nostalgia predisposed the French public toward Meissonier's paintings, which were celebrated by the country's greatest art critic, Theophile Gautier, as "a complete resurrection of the life of bygone days." Meissonier's wistful visions appealed to exactly the same population that had made The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas pere, first published in 1844, the most commercially successful book in nineteenth-century France. Indeed, with their cavaliers decked out in ostrich plumes, doublets and wide-topped boots, many of Meissonier's paintings could easily have served as illustrations from the works of Dumas, a friend of the painter who, before his bankruptcy, had lived in equally splendid style in his "Chateau de Monte Cristo," a domed and turreted folly at Marly-le-Roi, a few miles upstream from Meissonier. Both men excelled at depicting scenes of chivalry and masculine adventure against a backdrop of pre-Revolutionary and pre-industrial France-the period before King Louis XVI was marched to the steps of the guillotine and the old social relations were destroyed, in the decades that followed, by new economic forces of finance and industry. "The age of chivalry is gone," wrote Edmund Burke, a fierce critic of the French Revolution who lamented the loss, after 1789, of "manly sentiment and heroic enterprise." But the age of chivalry had not entirely vanished in France: by the middle of the nineteenth century it lingered eloquently in Dumas's novels, in Viollet-le-Duc's spires and towers, and in Meissonier's jewel-like "musketeer" paintings.

Still, the subject matter of Meissonier's works accounted only partly for their extraordinary success. What astounded the critics and the public alike was his mastery of fine detail and almost inconceivably punctilious craftsmanship. "It is impossible to comprehend that our clumsy hands could achieve such a degree of delicacy," enthused Gautier. Meissonier's paintings, most of which were small in size, rewarded the closest and most prolonged observation. After purchasing one of his works, the English art critic John Ruskin would examine it at length under a magnifying glass, marveling at Meissonier's manual dexterity and eye for fascinating minutiae. A critic once joked that Meissonier was capable of putting the Prophets of the Sistine Chapel on the setting of a ring. No one in the history of art, it was said, ever possessed such a superlative and unerring touch with his brush. "The finest Flemish painters, the most meticulous Dutch," claimed Gautier, "are slovenly and heavy next to Meissonier."

Despite his great success, Meissonier was not, however, immune to criticism. By 1863 an undertone of murmuring had begun to accompany his seemingly endless parade of chess players and musketeers. The art critic Paul de Saint-Victor had bemoaned this seemingly limited repertoire, complaining that Meissonier's bonshommes, however well executed, did little more than read, write and puff their pipes. Another critic, Paul Mantz, inquired: "Would it be too demanding to ask this talented artist to renew his choice of subjects a little?"

Most critical of all, though, was Meissonier himself. His minute paintings of eighteenth-century officers and gentlemen may have brought him wealth and fame, but for all of that he claimed to despise them as beneath his talents. "Nothing can express adequately my horror at going about making bonshommes for a living!" he declared. These elegant little paintings were not, he insisted, the true expression of his genius. Posterity would celebrate him, he believed, for something quite different.

"An artist cannot be hampered by family cares," Meissonier once wrote. "He must be free, able to devote himself entirely to his work." Yet Meissonier seemed always to have been hampered by family cares. His father, Charles, had been a successful businessman, the proprietor of a factory in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, that produced dyes for the textile industry. Though possessed of an artistic temperament-he played the flute, sang ballads and danced the quadrille at parties-Charles Meissonier did not contemplate with enthusiasm the prospect of a painter in the family. He was a strict, practical man who subscribed to the theory that children should be toughened up by means of exposure to the cold. And, not unnaturally, he expected Ernest, the eldest of his two sons, to follow him into the dye business. When young Ernest indicated his distaste for such a career, relations between father and son deteriorated, all the more so after Madame Meissonier died and Charles had a liaison, and subsequently a daughter, with a laundress, whom he duly married. Ernest was then sent, at age seventeen, to work in a druggist's shop in the Rue des Lombards. His days were spent preparing bandages and sweeping the floor, while at night he sketched in secret and dreamed of launching his artistic career. Only a dogged show of determination and a threat to run away to Naples convinced Charles Meissonier to apprentice his son to Leon Cogniet, a well-known history painter who had studied in Rome and received important public commissions such as a mural for the ceiling of a gallery in the Louvre.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Judgment of Paris by ROSS KING Copyright © 2006 by Ross King. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi
Chapter 1 Chez Meissonier 1
Chapter 2 Modern Life 13
Chapter 3 The Lure of Perfection 26
Chapter 4 Mademoiselle V. 36
Chapter 5 Dreams of Genius 43
Chapter 6 Youthful Daring 48
Chapter 7 A Baffling Maze of Canvas 56
Chapter 8 The Salon of Venus 73
Chapter 9 The Tempest of Fools 81
Chapter 10 Famous Victories 92
Chapter 11 Young France 101
Chapter 12 Deliberations 113
Chapter 13 Room M 121
Chapter 14 Plein Air 132
Chapter 15 A Beastly Slop 144
Chapter 16 The Apostle of Ugliness 151
Chapter 17 Maitre Velazquez 159
Chapter 18 The Jury of Assassins 167
Chapter 19 Monet or Manet? 175
Chapter 20 A Flash of Swords 184
Chapter 21 Marvels, Wonders and Miracles 192
Chapter 22 Funeral for a Friend 206
Chapter 23 Maneuvers 217
Chapter 24 A Salon of Newcomers 227
Chapter 25 Au Bord de la Mer 233
Chapter 26 Mademoiselle Berthe 241
Chapter 27 Flying Gallops 248
Chapter 28 The Wild Boar of the Batignolles 257
Chapter 29 Vaulting Ambitions 265
Chapter 30 The Prussian Terror 272
Chapter 31 The Last Days of Paris 281
Chapter 32 A Carnival of Blood 293
Chapter 33 Days of Hardship 310
Chapter 34 The Apples of Discord 318
Chapter 35 A Ring of Gold 327
Chapter 36 Pure Haarlem Beer 332
Chapter 37 Beyond Perfection 342
Chapter 38 The Liberation of Paris 349
Epilogue: Finishing Touches 362
Political Timeline 375
Acknowledgments 379
Notes 381
Bibliography 423
Index 437
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  • Posted February 2, 2009

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    READ WITH CLARITY AND VIGOR - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    Novelist and art historian Ross King has won a loyal following with his intriguing bestsellers Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo & the Pope's Ceiling. His scholarly accounts paired with the wit and wisdom of a born storyteller have captivated all. This author continues to educate and entertain with 'The Judgment of Paris.' Now, King takes us to Paris in the middle of the 19th century, the time between two important exhibitions - the Salon De Refuses in 1863 and the first showing of Impressionist paintings in 1874. To chronicle this tumultuous period in the world of art, King wisely tells the story through the eyes of two men, rivals for approval - Ernest Meissonier, a famous painter who had already achieved success, and Edouard Manet, a leader of the avant-garde. Yes, the two artists were poles apart in their artistic approach, but there was more to their dislike of one another. During the Franco-Prussian War, Manet was a staff officer and Meissonier his superior. Meissonier, mean spirited and very full of himself, treated Manet coldly, never acknowledging the fact that he was a fellow painter. Of course, in Meissonier's eyes he had no colleagues after all he was the most famous painter of his time, and recipient of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. Meissonier's work was predictable, full of detail in his historical scenes, yet his paintings were in great demand. Manet, on the other hand, enjoyed no such popularity. His work was denigrated by the Salon, citing moral and artistic grounds - nudity was not acceptable unless it was portrayed in the distant past, certainly not in a painting showing a nude woman and men in dress of that time. Manet did not suffer criticism with equanimity in fact, he challenged one of his detractors to a duel. This was a landmark time in the history of art, and King recalls it with vibrancy, recalling the manners and mores of that day. Voice performer Tristan Layton reads both the abridged and unabridged versions with clarity and vigor as artists and writers of that day are also called into play. Very highly recommended. - Gail Cooke

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