Monday, January 4, 2016

Belle Époque Artists: Édouard-Denis Baldus

Hotel de Ville et Pont d'Arcole, Paris
Édouard-Denis Baldus (June 5, 1813, Grünebach, Prussia – 1889, Paris) was a French landscape, architectural and railway photographer. Baldus was originally trained as a painter and had also worked as a draughtsman and lithographer before switching to photography in 1849. In 1851, he was commissioned for the Missions Héliographiques by the Historic Monuments Commission of France to photograph historic buildings, bridges and monuments, many of which were being razed to make way for the grand boulevards of Paris, being carried out under the direction of Napoleon III's prefect Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann.

Reconstruction of Hotel de Ville de Paris, 1880

The high quality of his work won him government support for a project entitled Les Villes de France Photographiées, an extended series of architectural views in Paris and the provinces designed to feed a resurgent interest in the nation's Roman and medieval past.

In 1855, Baron James de Rothschild, President of Chemin de Fer du Nord, commissioned Baldus to do a series of photographs to be used as part of an album that was to be a gift to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a souvenir of their visit to France that year. The lavishly bound album is still among the treasures of the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.

In 1856, Baldus set out on a brief assignment to photograph the destruction caused by torrential rains and overflowing rivers in Lyon, Avignon, and Tarascon. He created a moving record of the flood without explicitly depicting the human suffering left in its wake.

He was extremely well known throughout France for his efforts in photography. One of his greatest assignments was to document the construction of the Louvre museum.

La Grande Galerie, Paris, 1870

Baldus used wet and dry paper negatives as large as 10x14 inches in size. From these negatives, he made contact prints. In order to create a larger image, he put contact prints side by side to create a panoramic effect.

Baldus was renowned for the sheer size of his pictures, which ranged up to eight feet long for one panorama from around 1855, made from several negatives.

View of the Seine, Paris

Despite the documentary nature of many of his assignments, Baldus was no purist when it came to technique. He often retouched his negatives to blank out buildings and trees, or to put clouds in white skies; in one print from 1851, he pieced together fragments of 10 different negatives to create a composite print of the medieval cloister of St. Trophime, in Arles.


I will post more French artists in this blog for this event:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fanda Classiclit: Plans for 2016

Considering my failure this year, I did not set any ambitious target for next year. All I wanted is reading any book I want to read, in any speed I could. So, this post is not going to be very long, as I have only two reading plans (and I limit myself to only these two—stop me if I was tempted to add anything else! LOL):

The only event I will be hosting next year, for fun only, no pressure.

I decided to participate in Adam’s event because I have been trying to read the Bible from cover to cover, but without any success. So, why not challenging myself this year? Thanks to Adam’s reading plan, I may be able to finally do it—hopefully!

Apart from these two, I will treat myself to pick any book I would like to read. It’s time to read just for fun and pleasure…

How about you…any particular plan for next year? Share me!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Belle Époque Event 2016

I have been wanting to do this since early this year; maybe since my Zoladdiction event—which, by the way, I am not going to host for next year. I have been doing this fun reading of Emile Zola for three years, but right now I don’t think I have time & energy to host it. It’s not ended yet, maybe next year it will be back, but for right now I just like to have a quiet event, in which I can still read Zola!... ;)

Belle Époque is forty years of beautiful (or golden) era in France, started from the end of Franco-Prussian War (1871) to the outbreak of World War I (1914). It’s an era of optimism, prosperity, and flourishing of art, architecture, and entertainment—especially in Paris. It’s joie de vivre during French Third Republic. Post-impressionist artists like Monet, Gaugin, Matisse, Rodin, and Picasso belonged to Belle Époque era; so did naturalism authors like Zola, Maupassant, and Proust. It’s also the era of salon music and cabaret (Moulin Rouge!), and the building of Paris Metro and Eiffel Tower. Oh, and don’t forget the infamous Dreyfus Affair! In short, things that made me love Paris, began at the Belle Époque period. How can I not love it?

And now the event…. It’s really simple!
  • Read and post as many things from Belle Époque era, and as often as you can, during 2016.
  • You can read books from Belle Époque authors, or books about… whatever happened during or about the era. It can be fiction or non-fiction, just whatever you can find.
  • Or maybe you just want to decorate your blog by posting Belle Époque paintings? That’s fine too!
  • Just don’t forget to submit it to the linky in this post (will be up only on January 1st).
  • But first…. Sign up with the linky below!

In my part, I planned to do this:

Emile Zola – Pot Bouille (1882)
Emile Zola – The Ladies’ Paradise (1883)
Guy de Maupassant – Bel-Ami (1885)
Emile Zola – The Dreyfus Affair: “J’Accuse” and Other Writings (1901)
Marcel Proust – Swann’s Way (1913)

Works and some information of Belle Époque artists we rarely heard of. I plan to do this every month (one artist per month).

What are you waiting for? Let’s explore and have fun!....

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I’m Back!

Yes, it’s been three months since my last post. I have been busy organizing a new Church community, and for some months didn’t have time to sit and pour my thoughts to this blog. I didn’t even read for few months! L But today is a national holiday in Indonesia (due to major election), and despite of it, I came purposely to the office to reorganize my reading life.

Unfortunately, I totally failed in ALL my reading challenge this year, and most of all, MY own Literary Movement Reading Challenge… LL But I am not completely disappointed at that, because I’ve been sacrifying my reading life for something much bigger and important in my life. I only feel sorry to you, my readers, especially #LitMoveRC participants, for my being quite a bad host this year. Kudos to you who are still on fire to keep reading and posting along the movements! One of you will surely be winning my prize after all this! J

Now I am going to reorganize everything, maybe wrapping up my challenges, thinking about next year plan, and maybe doing a book tag to awake my blogging spirit… But you might not see my proper reviews for a while, I just don’t have any energy (or mood) left to do it. Meanwhile, I’m going to pick any book I feel like reading, and don’t force myself to post a review.

See you around!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Fortune of the Rougons by Émile Zola

Finally I can get to where the Rougon-Macquart series starts: The Fortune of the Rougons.  The Rougon-Macquart is Émile Zola’s monumental study on heredity effect on human. He illustrated it in twenty novels about two families during French Second Empire. It all begins with Adelaide Fouque, an eccentric woman with mental illness who lives in Plassans (fictional town). She has one legitimate son from her marriage with a hardworking peasant: Rougon; and one illegitimate son and one daughter from the lazy and alcoholic poacher: Macquart.

Although growing up together with their mother after the fathers died, Pierre Rougon—being the legitimate child—feels superior to Antoine and Ursule, the Macquarts. Pierre’s fortune comes from the combination of clever and cunning maneuvers, while Antoine is too lazy to earn his living. Throughout the story, the two stepbrothers keep competing each other. On the other hand, Ursule marries a quite respectful man called Mouret. Her son, Silvère, lives with his grandma Adelaide. Apart from the eternal hostility between Pierre and Antoine, Silvère’s pure love for Miette. Pierre’s sons also contribute to the story, mainly through the trio Eugene the Napoleon’s intelligent, Aristide the left journalist, and Pascal the doctor and scientist. I believe Pascal represents Zola himself, the naturalist who was fascinated with how hereditary flaws could be descended to generations through families.

But what balances the disgusting acts of the Rougons and the Macquarts, is Silvere and Miette’s naïve love and heroism. The others’ greed to steal what they can from the coup d’etat, is counterbalanced by the young couple’s patriotic, though rather blindly, love for their republic.

The Fortune turned out to be quite entertaining story—much better than what I’ve expected. Its naturalism theme is distinguished here, as Pascal’s observation of the people is really Darwinist. And most interestingly, this book laid the foundation for the whole Rougon-Macquart series.

Four stars for Zola!


I read Oxford World’s Classic paperback

This book is counted for:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Literary Movement Reading Challenge 2015: August Naturalism Check-In

As if my present hectic activities have not been enough to rob my reading and blogging time, I have got bronchitis since last week that caused me to take two days sick leave! Well…maybe it’s my body giving me signal to slow a bit down. But the good news is, I had some relaxed moments during my rest to savour another Zola J for August Naturalism! There’ll always time for Zola!...

Anyway, #LitMoveRC is entering its eighth month. The linky for August Naturalism is already up, you can link up your posts until September 15th.

Now I am curious…

Which month or movement was your biggest fail?

For me, it’s last month’s Realism. I was excited to have another Henry James, The Golden Bowl, for this movement. However, before getting through the first 50 pages, I got so bored with it that I finally gave up and put it down after about page 90s. The dialogs were dense with hidden meanings in words and in gesture that puzzled me. So, I picked my second choice for Realism: Balzac’s Père Goriot, and I loved it so much! Pity, I didn’t have time to review it before the bronchitis overtook me.

Well, what about you? I hope you had it much better…