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Art, War and Revolution in France 1870-1871: Myth, Reportage and Reality Hardcover – November 10, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The actual text of this study makes for a solid, secondary source-based account of the time of the Paris CommuneDthe war with Prussia and end of the Third Empire that preceded it, the months the Communards ruled the city in 1871, the siege of Paris by Republican forces and the aftermath of general mayhemDbut that's not the point here. Every page of this coffee-table-sized volume contains one, two, three or even four or five illustrationsD337 in b&w and 59 in colorDthat not only embellish the story, but were part of the Commune's creation. Art historian Milner (Studios of Paris) of the University of Newcastle shows how, in an age before the widespread use of photographs in newspapers, artists like Courbet (who was accused of planning the toppling of the Place Vend me's giant column), Gustave Dor (a caricaturist and painter who remained neutral), veteran caricaturist Daumier and other artists rendered the figures and events of the revolution for public consumptionDthe fire-starting petroleuses and the heroic women at the barricades, the "Laughing Man" of the Republic and the "Week of Blood" that reigned when Republicans retook Paris. Milner's focus on the artists, the larger events they witnessed (or participated in) and explications of their works precludes a detailed look at how those works made their way to the press or how they were read by the populace itself, even though the title seems to promise it. It's an unfortunate gap, one that limits the book's usefulness and appeal to fans of cultural studies. But the assemblage of the revolutionaryDand counterrevolutionary-materials here will undoubtedly lead to further work, and a look at the personal decisions the artists faced gives some insight into the nature of artistic engagement at the time. It's a book that is sure to find its way onto the shelves of red-diaper babies of means. (Dec.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

John Milner is professor of art history at the University of Newcastle and author of Kazimir Malevich and the Art of Geometry and Studios of Paris: The Capital of Art in the Late Nineteenth Century, both published by Yale University Press.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Printing edition (November 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300084072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300084078
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 9.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,728,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Jones on February 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This volume, that shows how art, propaganda, and cartoons were used to reflect and shape public opinion about the Franco-Prussian War, is a great read and a fine browse-if only for the war art, which is of a kind that has disappeared after the horrors of the 20th Century.

This war was the first modern war and hinted at what the 20th century was to bring. It is fascinating to see and read the contemporary reactions to this conflict as it developed from the Imperial period, to the Republican period and then on to the disastrous conclusion of the Commune.

The art and pictures are a haunting archive of a long lost period. Especially poignant is the art capturing the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and the feelings of the French-which laid the basis for WWI and WWII before Europe was truly again at peace.

The production quality of the book and its art is superb.
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