Charles Baudelaire: “The Salon of 1846”
Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867) is one of the latest figures included in this volume. His work is transitional. His poetry, as in Les Fleurs du mal, is usually classed with that of the Symbolists. Yet his adulation of Delacroix, France’s greatest Romantic painter, and the real critical insight with which he brought the qualities of Delacroix and others of that generation to public attention make him also a spokesman for Romantic painting. He was a great art critic, stressing the immense importance of original creative genius and urging a view of imagination that echoes Coleridge’s concept. For Baudelaire, the artist took rank as a profound truthteller—as he does for Shelley—but of a truth far different from the philosopher’s. As a critic, he sought to share some of the artist’s effort to counteract the materialism of the age, a task to be performed by fulfilling his duty toward art, not toward philosophy, politics, or society.
KeywordsLate Figure Public Attention Critical Insight Immense Importance European History
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