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Picturing a World

Gilbert’s Market Day

Besides the great central food market, Les Halles, there were, of course, lots of neighborhood street markets throughout Paris in the 19th C. While poking around after finding yesterday’s painting by Béraud of Les Halles, I came across this picture by Victor-Gabriel Gilbert, who was well known for his still lifes and flower markets—witness the flowers on the left and the carcasses on the right. It is a more elaborate version of the kind of project my art students consider undertaking (Jeanette thinks of a cheese shop). For a writer, it’s the kind of scene by academically trained artists that provides a wealth of physical detail of everyday life—e.g, the bricked gutter, the striped awning, the woven market baskets, and the dog with a collar.

For a zoomable picture by Gilbert of the inside of the Les Halles meat market, with commentary from Sotheby’s, click here.

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