Chaos and Revolution in Art and Literature: Zola's L'Œeuvre

When we perceive external reality, our faculties of perception order it in the process. Modern painting has attempted to see through this veil of order that hides the true face of reality. The legacy of Claude Lantier, the revolutionary painter of Zola's novel L'Œuvre, is the destruction of the old artistic order with its pathological codification of rules and recipes; the discrediting of the notion of a hierarchy among objects of artistic representation; and the opening of the doors of the art museum to reality, life, nature. Chaos is present in L'Œuvre in the form of incompleteness, mutilation, and dismemberment. (PB)
Brady, Patrick
Volume 1991-1992 Fall-Winter; 20(1-2): 196-202