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French Painters of the Xviiith Century (Classic Reprint)

French Painters of the Xviiith Century (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from French Painters of the Xviiith Century

I have tried to put into this volume, and others now in course of preparation, something of that which I myself wanted to find when I began to look at the art of France in the eighteenth century. I could get no work giving general information, or even suggesting where one might look for it. On the other hand, there were various magnificently illustrated biographies and costly monographs. There were, in the first place, those which we owe to the pioneer labours of the late Marquis de Chennevieres and the two de Goncourts; the admirable volume on Boucher, by M. Paul Mantz; the Fragonard of M. de Portalis, not to mention M. Charles Blanc's "Peintres de l'Ecole Francaise" - a work less firmly conceived than gracefully written - or the innumerable little studies, more or less excellent, which have appeared in series, such as that edited by M. Paul Leroi and M. Eugene Muntz, the distinguished historian of the Renaissance. Sculptors, if we except "La Sculpture francaise au Louvre," by M. Gonse, have received less attention: as for decorators, they have rarely enjoyed the honours, which have fallen to Pineau, of separate consideration, and any facts concerning them must be sought out in a dozen different "collections." Architects are an even more difficult matter; handbooks contain vague comprehensive statements, and references to Blondel's great work on "L'Architedture Franaise" usually result in the discovery that the buildings which appear to be the most typical in character no longer exist, or exist like the Hotel de Toulouse or the Hotel de Noailles, in a state of complete metamorphosis.

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