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Video transcript

[Music] wen-chi vote Paris Street rainy day was exhibited in 1877 at the impressionist exhibition one anonymous reviewer wrote Kyah vote is an impressionist in name only he knows how to draw and paints more seriously than his friends well you know when we think of Impressionism we think of the countryside light-filled summer loose brushwork and kya baat has given us his complex image of the subtlety of light in the city after a rainstorm and without all of that loose open brushwork this reviewer is saying he knows how to draw so there's a sense of line of contours of forms that exist three dimensionally in space and that's not what the Impressionists were doing in 1877 at that same exhibition one could have seen Renoir's Moulin de la galette which is full of light and movement and open brushwork or paintings by Monet of the Garson lazar where Monet concentrated on the effects of light through the scheme in that railway station in fact so much so that even the massiveness of the locomotive dissolved within that atmosphere but here kya baat has given us a sense of massiveness look at the apartment buildings in the background look at the cobblestones these are solid forms right nothing's dissolving into brushwork or light here and yet this painting is still all about light but it's about its reflectivity it's about shadow and it's about the way that light can define forms in a far more solid way high abode is painting modern Paris wide boulevards that had just recently been built and the modern apartment houses that line to those boulevards he's also giving us the middle class then populated this city look at how fashionably dressed the couple in the foreground are although we do seem to have some different types of people we look closely we mostly see those fashionable upper class or upper middle class people but behind the woman to the right just above her shoulder we see someone who looks working-class and in the background we see what looks like a painter carrying a ladder and in fact that was really one of the definitions of the new modern city was the way in which the lives of people of different classes crossed on the streets this is a painting that really is about intersections the rainy day the yellowish grey of the sky capturing a specific moment get the sense of the reflectivity of the water between the cobblestones this seems so spontaneous is if this is this fragment of time this moment nobody seems to be posed the main figures aren't in the middle instead the man on the right is actually cut off we only see half his body this would have been an aesthetic that would have felt very much at odds with classical art and perhaps even would have been seen as coming out of the new vision of the photograph these are all things that would have felt very radical to an audience in 1877 and yet although we don't notice it at first the painting is really carefully balanced and carefully composed this is not a snapshot if we look at the painting it's divided into four quadrants you've got that vertical division in the middle of the canvas then right at the level of the woman's mouth moving across and then at the bottom of the apartment in the background you've got a painting that was divided in just four areas and it really is a sense of stability and balance even though it's still asymmetrical for all the seriousness of the issues that we're talking about this is a really playful painting for instance look at the man who's clearly in the middle ground but seems to be popping off the red wheels of that coach that we see in the background there are these playful juxtapositions the kya baat is very intentionally placing in here it speaks to the way in which the modern world has become a complex jumble the way in which things come together in relationships that are unexpected and fragmentary and ephemeral and these are all things that felt very modern in the 1870 but he's having fun with them look for instance at the legs that are dangling from the umbrella held by the man in the center of the painting so Kai boat continued to paint urban themes though he died rather young when he was in his 40s and he was independently wealthy and so had no need to sell his paintings throughout his life he collected the work his friends of the Impressionists and masked actually a really remarkable collection that he left to the French state and his collection forms the heart of the great works that we see today at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris [Music]