Five minute video about Gustave Caillebotte's painting, "Paris Street, Rainy Day"

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Personally, I’m a fan of the lesser known…

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Canadian surrealist painter Robert Vanderhorst created a variation on this painting: The Americanization of Gustave’s Paris

(From Two Artists)

Thanks. Really interesting video. The guy could stand to do some work on his voice delivery, but he certainly knows how to pack a lot of good stuff into five minutes and makes a profound point about the immense value the study of art brings to understanding those who lived before us.


It’s a really striking painting in person. It’s pretty large, too. If you’re ever in Chicago, drop by the Art Institute and check it out.


This sense of disconnection is in a lot of French art of the period. Manet’s The Railway is a good example, as are The Plum Brandy, In the Cafe/Absinthe, and so on.

What fascinates me is that they’re commenting upon something so ordinary to us that we have trouble conceiving of the possibility that things were ever any different. We’re totally comfortable sharing settings with people whose social roles are a total mystery; we don’t feel the need to introduce ourselves, nor do we feel uneasy if they fail to greet us.

We do notice when everyone around us is staring at his/her phone. We sometimes have disorienting experiences where we are forced to wonder if the person approaching is schizophrenic, or merely speaking into some unseen device. It seems that in the 1870s it felt just as uncanny to Parisians to sit in a cafe and have no idea what the people around them were about.

Umbrellas on the streets of Paris, in this 1803 painting by Louis-Léopold Boilly.

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