May 22, 2011
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- Since many of the first-generation photographers were trained as painters, it is not surprising that a shared aesthetic between painting and photography emerged about 1850, especially in landscape imagery. In the late 1840s photographers, notably Gustave Le Gray, were drawn to the forest of Fontainebleau, following in the footsteps of the Barbizon School artists and photographing many of the same sites that these artists had painted. Courbet accompanied the Barbizon painter Camille Corot on painting excursions in the region. His Fringe of the Forest is not unlike the compositions of Le Gray's contemporaneous photographs of Fontainebleau or Henri Le Secq's images of the forest of Montmirail. Such similarities were not lost on contemporary viewers; a critic wrote of a photograph by Le Secq: "There is air, truth, and life in this print, which on canvas would become a charming landscape."
For those of you interested in Casanova, in this clip  at 2:42 there is footage of Casanova, a French film by Alexandre Volkoff. This film features the famous orgy scene (not included in the clip, unfortunately) which is the best illustration to the myth of Casanova, that gentleman thief and master of seduction.
This is one of the male nudes of that Delacroix-Durieu series presented in a previous post. Inclusively full frontal nudity. The heroic pose is due to the fact that these kind of photos were meant to appear as paintings or sculptures of heroic nudity, and the one-minute exposure time which prohibited spontaneity.
I've spending quite some time on the ambivalent relationship between painting and photography in the mid-19th century.
One of the first painters to be interested in the new medium was Delacroix.
On 18 and 25 June 1854, Durieu and Delacroix male and female models presented themselves at 10 rue des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the studio of Durieu to take a series of nude photographs. The models posed all day, Thevelin sketched them (Thevelin a déjà fait des croquis autant de fois que Durieu a fait d'épreuves: une minute ou deux minutes et demie au plus pour chacun), Durieu photographed them. The result was an album of thirty-two photographs that the art critic Philippe Burty later bought from the estate auction of Delacroix.
See also: Delacroix and photography