|Original caption unreadable: 1841, France|
It's true. I'm a sucker for exotic drawings, paintings, or photographs. It runs in the family. My mother, sisters and nieces were or are all painters, sketchers, and illustrators. Me? Almost by accident, I'm a lover of Oriental art, or arts, which doesn't mean I don't appreciate western and Islamic art.
I've said several times now how incredibly enriching a trip to Gutenberg.org can be for those who can cope with on-screen viewing of one sort or another. This was brought home to me in many ways, but one I didn't expect was in having a look at two volumes of a lately released French journal, L'Illustration; one edition from 1843, and one from 1913.
The funny thing is, I discovered I could read the French in these journals with comparative ease, and I think I know why. The French here is of the formal style we learned at school, not French as it's spoken in the street today. It's no more that than our idiom is that of Jane Austin or Charles Dickens.
But it means I can easily read the text to accompany the illustrations - and the articles as well.
Diorama invented by Daguerre, the father of modern photography. This 3D modelling was a wonder of its time. It depicts the street where the church Saint-Paul-Hors-les-Murs (on the left) had been, after a fire which all but destroyed it.
Below: A foretaste of things to come. The battles on the periphery and the personal miseries.
Ah well, as we say in France, Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."