Title: The History of Paris in Paintings
Edited by: Georges Duby and Guy Lobrichon
This book does not aim to present an inventory of the paintings that have been made in honour of Paris, nor to offer a guide to the Musee Carnavalet, whose mission it is to bring such works together. It is rather to reveal the long adventure of a city and its inhabitants through a local history of painting.
However tempting , it is seemingly impossible to paint here a history of Paris as imagined by painters and photographers: a history, I say, not the history, because its timeline is strictly limited - from the fourteenth to the twentieth century and because it surveys only two arts. In these pages historians take the podium and, posted like guardians, build their narrative on that artistic base. There is a long lineage to be mined, opening the gallery to the most notable painters and photographers - the Limbourg brothers, Eugene Delacroix, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Toulouse - Lautrec and Willy Ronis, eulogists of a world they depicted - while also leaving room for others, more humble.
Our survey bears on painting, beginning with the fourteenth century, and photography.
The history of Paris evokes intense life of the city through three types of paintings. It could just as well be built on documentary painting, on illustrative painting and on imaginary invention. Painters have documented the landscape, the Seine, the gardens, the palace, the churches, the squares, the boulevards and streets. They have illustrated the "picturesque" city as it is, with scenes from daily life and in doing so offered their account of the spectacle.
The book begins in the fourteenth century, because this was when the first painters of Paris emerged, and also when appeared the first portraits to bear the real likeness of their subjects. In 1914, Western Painting lost some of its privileged status to other arts. After this date it was therefore appropriate to invite photography to illustrate our subject for the rest of the twentieth century.
Turning the pages of this book, the viewer will become convinced that artists are intimately linked with their societies and that realism in painting is not the only way of expressing a reality, much less a truth. It is in fact the ultimate goal of this book to uncover these magical, irrational articulations, thanks to which an image - be it a photograph or a painting is never a immediate reproduction or a simple reflection of reality; it instead delves into the inmost depths of a society.
The book is in good condition throughout.
As can be seen from the pictures the book is illustrated throughout and supported by text.
The book has red boards and gilt lettering to the spine and also gilt illustrations on the front and rear boards.
There is foxing on the front and rear endpages.
The book has no dust jacket but comes in a cardboard slip case.
There is wear and tears on the bottom base of the slipcase otherwise in good condition.
The contents page has wear and tears on the centre edge.