Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Thanks to the museum without walls, the Internet, I was able to view the pictures noted in this article, which I found to be entertaining and inspiring. The public reaction to a painting of a funeral, Un enterrement à Ornans, to which Monsieur Schwabsky relates the dimensions of shock it created, the mere lack of seriousness it conveyed to minds convinced of a superior vision, seems naïve today. He was a pioneer in representing the commonplace. Les Demoiselles des bords de la Seine, he says, are two hookers cooling off. Maybe he knows more than I do, but these ladies are no more alluring than any antebellum maidens in Mobile. But I have to say that I admire his interest and read his survey of Courbet with something like awe.

Jim Willingham

St. Petersburg, FL

Mar 18 2008 - 7:18am