Travel Reference
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found in many of the commercial images used
for tourism promotion. The prominent role of
impressionist painters in fostering landscape
consumption cannot be overstated as the exhi-
bition 'Impressionists by the Sea', held at the
Royal Academy of Arts (London, 2007), illus-
trates. Bringing together a vast array of paint-
ings by different artists (Courbet, Corot, Boudin,
Jongkind, Monet and Manet), this exhibition
demonstrated how a grammar of seascapes was
devised by artists roaming the seashores of
Normandy, notably Trouville, Deauville, Dieppe,
Honfl eur and Etretat. The exhibition catalogue
continually emphasizes the crucial and infl uen-
tial role of artistic representation over time
and specifi cally how paintings produced in
Normandy worked as catalysts for tourism when
displayed in the Paris Salons and galleries to a
town-weary, leisured and affl uent society. As the
century wore on and as greater numbers of
tourists fl ocked to the painter-discovered and
increasingly crowded coastal towns, painters
pressed on further in search of solitary, secluded
seascapes. However, beaches and seaside path-
ways populated by tourists, along with villas
and hotels can be admired in the luminous sea-
scapes painted by Monet - for example, The
Pointe de la Hève (1864), Regatta at Saint
Adresse (1867), three different canvases entitled
The Beach at Trouville (1870), The Hôtel des
Roches Noires, Trouville (1870) and Camille on
the Beach at Trouville (1870) - and Boudin -
the latter producing a series of paintings between
1863 and 1865 on the Normandy coast, namely,
three different paintings entitled The Beach at
Trouville (1863 and 1865), Bathing Time at Deau-
ville (1865) and The Empress Eugénie on the
Beach at Trouville (1863). Notably, two of Boudin's
paintings, almost like photographic renderings,
depict tourists engaging in leisurely pursuits on
the beach (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007).
Furthermore, taking ethnicity as a motiva-
tor for travel, one might establish how far
Gaugin's exotic and intensely coloured paintings
contribute to tourist/consumer perceptions of an
ethnically and culturally marked territory, given
that connection between painting and publicity
images is clearly demonstrated by Berger (1972)
in his analysis of the similarities between adver-
tisements and paintings. The impact of painting
on the gaze is a debatable issue. In the past,
the availability of paintings was confi ned to a
relatively restricted elite. Correspondingly, the
audience the paintings thus attracted was lim-
ited to those who owned them or who were able
to see them in museums, galleries or reproduced
on paper. This remains true today even though,
in recent years, digital and electronic devices
have become a major medium for circulating
images of paintings, with several museums or
web museums displaying works by acknowl-
edged artists online, enabling a more democratic
access to images of paintings. This means that
the amount of images of paintings available to
the audience today has grown immensely. In the
past, people travelled to the paintings, today the
paintings travel to people's homes - the same
way iconographic advertisement travelogues do
(Nakamura, 2002). The immediately recogniz-
able issue is that, in this circumstance, image
consumers do not see the painting itself but
instead a visual reproduction:
The uniqueness of every painting was once
part of the uniqueness of the place where it
resided. Sometimes the painting was transport-
able. But it could never be seen in two places at
the same time. When a camera reproduces a
painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image.
As a result its meaning changes. Or, more
exactly, its meaning multiplies and fragments
into many meanings.
(Berger, 1972, p. 19)
What you see then is modifi ed by the visual
medium deployed in the reproduction; there-
fore, painterly qualities (such as brushstroke
work, the artistic nature of paint, or even colour)
may be affected or lost. Observation of a poin-
tillist painting through the new media may
impair a clear-cut assessment of the painting
style. Thus, mediated observation of paintings
through reproductions results in gazing at a
double-mediated image. Such a circumstance
does not necessarily hinder the painting's cap-
acity to shape visual perception especially when
considering that viewers trained by intense
exposure to present day visual semiotic codes
are not naive and quite capable of interpreting
reproduced painting images as being different
from the original (medium-affected). Corre-
spondingly, they are also capable of under-
standing paintings as a highly subjective mimetic
or 'midpoint-mimetic' artefact, which may still
entice their curiosity about a certain place.
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