Essay on Paris : A Modern City Of Rampant Spectacle And Self Display

2029 Words Oct 13th, 2014 9 Pages
In the nineteenth century, Paris became the epitome of the modern city, at least in the eyes of its upper class bourgeois elite and the tourists who visited the modern marvel. This “modern vision” of Paris was developed by people willing to look at and into their surroundings and themselves critically. In fact, it is those people looking at themselves and others in a critical sense and being conscious of the effect their way of seeing the world can have on others that drove who Parisian modernity. These modernizers, especially bourgeois male professionals and managerial or educational elites saw how they could impose their “modern vision” on others and acted upon it. The Parisians utilized different visuals to advertise this “modern vision” not only to themselves but to the world. This is exemplified in the growing use of monuments, infrastructure and photography in the impressive inventory and expression of modernity. How could one not be dazzled by all of the amazing things to look at in Paris, this city of rampant spectacle and self-display? An important factor in the development of the Parisian “modern vision” was the increase of monuments put up by the state during this time period, this allowed for the city to become a sort of visual history book. This visual history book, of course, was edited by the state and comprised by visual artists whose talents became sanctioned by and promoted through the state—yielding a far richer, official visual culture. Monuments were…

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