Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jaime's Den - Manet II

Dear sisters ……. Hope you enjoyed the first part of the Manet series. So, are you curious to know more about Edouard Manet and his "roundabout" connection to our Yong Joon?

Edouard Manet was a French Impressionist painter (1832-1883) well respected as the driving force of the Impressionism movement. Among Manet’s admirers were Frederic Bazille, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre Auguste Renoir. These avant-garde artists captured their changing world by radically challenging traditional art-historical subjects in a new perspective. Our dear Yong Joon is widely recognized as the leader of the Hallyu wave and well respected by his peers for his integrity in the entertainment business. He created numerous phenomenons and many "firsts" and is constantly exploring new areas for his personal development. Not content with just the unilateral flow of Korean wave, he strives to widen that horizon to propagate an Asian movement in the world. He lives this idealism not only through his art of acting, but also in his personal and business quest as we watch his recent achievements with Keyeast and Gosireh.

If you’re still wondering what their "real" connection is (and hope I can get to the point), remember this famous painting shown at the start of each episode in Yong Joon’s drama "Sunny Place of the Young"?

Now, it rings a bell, right? "Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe" depicts two fully clothed young male scholars and the striking contrast of their female companion’s nudity, casually enjoying their luncheon on the grass. Manet borrowed the figure groupings and pose of water gods from an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi (after Raphael’s *"The Judgement of Paris") in the arrangement of figures in his own painting.

The prosperous city of Paris in mid 1800s was undergoing booming construction and society transformation. Parisians gained an increased admiration in material splendours and leisurely "café society" lifestyle. (It’s also interesting to note that the luxury design houses of Cartier, Hermes and Louis Vuitton all flourished around this era as well.) Manet’s reference to the venerable "Judgement of Paris" image was to deliver a "temperance" theme, admonishing Parisians to lead a more moderate and virtuous life. This painting became the main focus of criticism by the jury at Salon des Refuses when it was first exhibited in 1863.

I reckon that the selection of "Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe" in "Sunny Place of the Young" is an analogy of Park Inbom’s greed and desire for higher social status and lifestyle in Metropolitan Seoul. His returning to the mining town at the end of the drama also reflected his decision towards a modest and truthful life.

Would the artistic sisters like to share your own interpretation on the symbolism of "Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe" in "Sunny Place of the Young"?

Note : * "The Judgement of Paris" – Paris is the name of prince of Troy in Greek mythology (remember Orlando Bloom played the role of Paris in the movie Troy?), not to be confused with the city of Paris, France.

Acknowledgemnts :

1. Manet The Still-Life Paintings, George Mauner, The American Federation of Arts. 2000
2. Impressionism Art, Leisure & Parisian Society, Robert L.Herbert, Yale University Press,
New Haven & London. 1988
3. Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, James N. Wood, The Art Institute of Chicago. 2000
4. Impressionism, Belinda Thomson and Michael Howard, Bison Books Corp. 1988

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