Charles Baudelaire's “The Painter of Modern Life” (1863)
Charles Baudelaire's, “The Painter of Modern Life”, written in 1863, depicts the ideas of some of the most important artists to influence art today. Baudelaire begins by introducing how one must think in a time of innovation. An artist has to be able to blend in with the world and understand it without being limited to thought. Artists have to be able to be open to anything like a child and their blank mind. When we think like a child is when we will continue to understand the world around us. Modernity, based on the reading, is seeing what is at hand and then extracting the beauty inside of the subject that human life had originally put into it. It’s being innovative and reshaping the way we look. Baudelaire also touches on learning from past artists and the way that affects the outcome of art today. We are to learn from past artists, without judging, however, we cannot copy them the way they made their work. I think that this ties in with institutionalism and the way institutions teach, copy, and repeat. We begin to lose a sense of identity and self-worth, which is what Baudelaire points out in the definition of the “dandy”. Like Mario had stated in class about how the dandy is somewhat of the hipster today, the dandy has their identity set in stone. They are confident and are not easily moved by the pressures of society. I really like the way Baudelaire describes it in that the dandy is basically the desire to create some sort of originality. I feel like many artists and people today are still on a quest to find this originality in their work and everyday life. Truly a beautiful and poetic essay, Baudelaire has brought forth to light the definition of being the worldly artist.
“In short, in order that any form of modernity may be worthy of becoming antiquity, the mysterious beauty that human life unintentionally puts into it must have been extracted from it.” – Charles Baudelaire
“It is, above all, the burning desire to create a personal form of originality, within the external limits of social conventions. It is a kind of cult of the ego which can still survive the pursuit of that form of happiness to be found in others, in woman for example; which can even survive what are called illusions. It is the pleasure of causing surprise in others, and the proud satisfaction of never showing any oneself. A dandy may be blasé, he may even suffer pain, but in the latter case he will keep smiling, like the Spartan under the bite of the fox.” - Charles Baudelaire