IN THE MIRROR OF THE PAST
by Donald Kuspit
Writing about his contemporary Delacroix, whom he linked with Rubens, Raphael, Veronese, Lebrun and David -- "the rare elect" or "beacons" -- Baudelaire celebrated their "love of the great, the national, the immense and the universal -- a love which has always expressed itself in the kind of painting. . . known as great machines
." "Many others. . . have painted great machines
," Baudelaire adds, but those masters "painted them in the way most suited to leave an eternal trace upon the memory of mankind."(1) However different their means -- their stylistic rhetoric, as Baudelaire called it -- and the nations or societies in which they worked, they all expressed, with "immense passion" and a "formidable will," "the atmosphere of the human drama."