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Charles Baudelaire, one of the greatest French poets of the nineteenth century, has been described as "the father of modern criticism". Rejecting a cold, mathematical, heartless approach, Baudelaire demanded a criticism that was "partial, passionate, and political' and, he added, `amusing and poetic". His starting point was always the shock of pleasure experienced in front of a work of art, and his writing conveys the excitement of first-hand experience expressed with liveliness and originality. This edition contains Baudelaire's accounts of the art exhibitions held in Paris between 1845 and 1862. There are extended reviews of the Salons of 1845, 1846, and 1859; three articles on the Exposition Universelle of 1855 (the first containing a major statement of Baudelaire's critical method); an essay on the special exhibition held at the Bazar Bonne-Nouvelle in 1846, in which Baudelaire gives his views on David and his School; and the article "Painters and Etchers" of 1862, which includes Baudelaire's only published reference to his friend Manet and an enthusiastic welcome to Whistler. Jonathan Mayne's translation captures all the spontaneity of the artist's prose, and, with its extensive notes, allows English-speaking readers to discover for themselves the ideas and insights of the man who has often been proclaimed "the first aesthetician of his age".
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