Is it weird that I refer to this work in masculine terms when it in fact depicts two females? No, I don't think so. No, I don't understand why I just did that. I just know you may officially refer to "him"-- or it, if you prefer me to be more gender-sensitive-- as Edouard Manet's career-changing painting The Railway (1872-73), located at this moment downtown in the National Gallery of Art, two blocks from my work at the NBM.
Take 30 seconds and spin me a story about this scene. Tell me in a few words your interpretation of what is going on within, according to your eyes. (Pleeeeease!)
I'm not gonna tell you what I know about it this week. I'm more interested in what y'all can come up with. See, this guy is what currently occupies all my time, talents, and thoughts (well, not ALL my thoughts... sometimes I eat. And teach. And do other fun stuff :) He is the subject of my massive historiography paper/presentation and basically my entire final grade rests upon the types of new ideas I can find within its smokey, colorful contours. I am currently busy surveying what all the smart people have to say about it, in aaaaaall the long decades since its creation. Somehow I've got to find something they've missed and expound upon it (sooooo much reading required to do so... I love reading. I love reading, I swear I do!). It continually amazes me how many cool socio-historical facts the big-league art historians can come up with to make you see deeper and deeper into a work like this. It also amazes me just where these professionals have to dig in order to come up with said facts. I have so much to learn about researching.
But in the meantime, we're just gonna enjoy the beauties of a very important work of art, which is an experience we should always start with, anyways! Take another few looks at this amazing work:
Think about it. I sure am.
All I know is, I'm quickly becoming obsessed with Monsieur Manet. SO fabulous. I'll tell you about him soon! Have a great week!