An exhibition at Paris’s Musée d’Orsay centers on a black model named Laure in Édouard Manet’s Olympia and reinterrogates the role of black people in art history.
An exhibition at the British Library in London questions the future of writing.
What does Jean-Léon Gérôme’s 1866 painting ‘Slave Market’ say about today’s extremist politics?
A review of Sally Rooney’s Normal People
An exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arab in Paris explores a century of shifting Arab power through the lens of soccer.
How a petition to remove the artwork has raised questions of censorship and the “infiltration” of American identity politics
Can a Museum for ‘Progressive Artists’ Have an Arms-Manufacturer Vice-Chairman?
With essays that span the devastating effects of financial inequality and globalization and a new novel on climate change disaster, John Lanchester is becoming the central voice for the end of the world. But such serious business also requires a kind of trickery. It was exceptionally crowded for a weekday afternoon at the British Library as John Lanchester peered into a vitrine containing a curious jewel. It was the final weeks of a sold-out exhibition on Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and although the show included the oldest surviving copy of the poem Beowulf, the oldest known Latin Bible, and a variety of other literary treasures, these weren’t what the author was most interested in. Instead, Lanchester contemplated a bejeweled golden reading pointer. In the ninth century, its creator, King Alfred, had sixty of them made to accompany copies of his own translation into Old English of a Latin papal text — a kind of premodern marketing campaign. Its most interesting feature is its promotional self-awareness; Lanchester pointed to an inscription on the jewel that read, AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN — “Alfred …
Pierre Bonnard’s revolutionary and controversial use of color became a means toward unlocking his past and the truths of his own self. But what if, ultimately, there was nothing to find? For years, Pierre Bonnard juggled the love of two of his models. The women were Marthe de Méligny, who would eventually become the artist’s wife, and Renée Monchaty, who would kill herself in spurned grief. In Young Women in the Garden, Bonnard painted them both. They are in a bourgeois backyard garden, like something out of a Renoir or Manet, at a large table adorned with a basket of fruit. Monchaty is the focal point of the scene. She sits in a chair, turned toward the viewer; her head rests innocently in her hand. She appears contented, at ease. In the bottom corner of the scene, looking not at the viewer but toward Monchaty, De Méligny looks quietly bemused, her profile nearly cut out of the frame. Bonnard ultimately left Monchaty for De Méligny. Sensing that his marriage to De Méligny was imminent, and that …
The filmmaker Jean Renoir made a career of dismantling the beliefs of his absentee father, the painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Jean satirized the aristocracy and upended his father’s saccharine scenes of leisure. An exhibition now at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, looks at their relationship. The Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir rarely spent time with his second son, Jean. Whenever Pierre-Auguste was around the house, he demanded to be called patron—“the boss”—rather than the more typical papa, and Jean grew to view him more as a boarding school headmaster than as a father. As for the actual parenting, that was mostly left to the family’s nanny, Gabrielle Renard. Renard, who was only sixteen when she moved into the Renoirs’ home in Paris, spent years with Jean—taking him to the movies and to puppet shows, playing with toys and strolling the winding streets of Montmartre and the seaside in Cagnes-sur-Mer, where Pierre-Auguste moved the family. Ultimately, Renard became one of the central influences on Jean’s filmmaking career: where his father’s paintings often portrayed their French aristocratic class in an earnest, …