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Painted Poetry

Colour in Baudelaire’s Art Criticism


Ann Kennedy Smith

Before becoming a poet, Charles Baudelaire was an art critic; and he made his literary début with the Salon de 1845. Its failure to find a receptive audience led him to write the groundbreaking Salon de 1846 with its pivotal chapter on colour, in which Baudelaire challenged fundamental critical concepts of art by insisting on colour’s complexity, expressivity and modernity. Through a close reading of his critical essays on art, this book examines how Baudelaire’s thoughts on colour developed throughout his life and sets them in the context of traditional views of colour. What effect did the new scientific theories of colour harmony, filtered through his conversations with Delacroix and other artists, have on Baudelaire? Why did he see Daumier as a colourist, but not Ingres? What made him turn his back on French art in 1859 and which artist changed his mind? Baudelaire’s interest in a highly personal form of colour symbolism is investigated, as well as the part that colour plays in developing his later, central idea of a creative and poetic imagination capable of translating all the arts.


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Index 233


Index Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, see Academy, the Academy, the, 3 beginnings and organization, 10–14 on draughtsmanship and colour, 14–17, 30–31, 130 on hierarchy of genre, 12–13, 19, 27, 124 in nineteenth century, 163, 130, 184, 218, 220 de Piles’ opposition towards, 17–21 see also LeBrun, Charles; Salons; hierarchy of genre Amaury-Duval, E.-E., 31, 83 aquafortisme, see etching Asselineau, Charles, 72, 163 n. 45 Aupick, General Jacques, 7–9 Balzac, Honoré de inf luence on Baudelaire, 56, 103, 138, 140–141 links to art and artists, 195–196, 198 writing as replacement for art, 190, 219 Banville, Théodore de, 72–73 Barthes, Roland, 218 Baudelaire, Joseph-François, 7, 53, 59, 86, 102, 125–127, 143 Baudelaire, Charles, see under individual works Benjamin, Walter, 123 Blanc, Charles, 46, 68, 77, 140 Boudin, Eugène abstract appeal of, 122, 182, 219 intoxicating ef fect of, 154, 207, 209, 211–212 memory and poetry connections, 181, 212 sketch as art form, 120–121, 124, 125, 129, 180 see also ébauche parfaite; landscape; Salon de 1859 Bryson, Norman, 12, 109 Burton, Richard, 52, 173–174, 208 Butor, Michel, 153 n. 33, 163 n. 45, 192, 210 Byron, George Gordon, Lord, 176, 188, 219 caricature, 1, 2, 48, 92, 101, 119, 217 see also Daumier, Honoré; Quelques caracturistes français Castex, Pierre-Georges, 95 Champf leury, 28–29, 33, 40, 47–48 Chardin, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon, 3, 26–27 Chevreul, Michel-Eugène, 1, 4, 62–69, 84...

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