"The more you know about history and culture and art and architecture and people living or dead, the more attune you become to what the ancients called the "spirit of place" both good and bad. Paris possess this in spades." D. Downie
I'm a nostalgic and Francophile at heart, and the history of Paris never ceases to fascinate me.
I just finished reading A Passion For Paris by David Downie, a well researched historic account of many eccentric artistic characters living in Paris during the 1800's. It showed how The Romantic Age of literature, art and music were seeped in melancholy and rebellion.
"Alfred de Musset (poet born in 1810) said his was a century "in mourning," forever dressed in black. Existentialist bohemians the world over live in a Musset revival without even knowing it." ...sounds familiar?
Below are a few of the artists covered in the book:
Frédéric Chopin, piano virtusos who lived in Paris for many years. This is one of the only two photographs ever taken of him.
Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art. -Chopin
George Sand, one of the only published female authors of her time. George was her pen pseudonym but Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin was her actual name.
Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit of experience and the last effort of genius. -G. Sand
Charles Baudelaire, French poet most famous for writing Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). He had a great affinity for Edgar Allan Poe and translated many of his works.
I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy. -Baudelaire
Sarah Bernhard, eccentric actress who slept in a coffin bed. Sarah is the most influential figure in Mucha's famous Art Nouveau painting.
It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich. -S. Bernhard