The Flaneur

Last Hot on 18 Sep 2013 in Fanatic
Uploaded 16 Oct 2012 — 14 favorites
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© Aaron Schwartz
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

In the 1860s, in the midst of the rebuilding of Paris under Napoleon III and the Baron Haussmann, Charles Baudelaire presented a memorable portrait of the flâneur as the artist-poet of the modern metropolis:
“ The crowd is his element, as the air is that of birds and water of fishes. His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd. For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world - impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito. The lover of life makes the whole world his family, just like the lover of the fair sex who builds up his family from all the beautiful women that he has ever found, or that are or are not - to be found; or the lover of pictures who lives in a magical society of dreams painted on canvas. Thus the lover of universal life enters into the crowd as though it were an immense reservoir of electrical energy. Or we might liken him to a mirror as vast as the crowd itself; or to a kaleidoscope gifted with consciousness, responding to each one of its movements and reproducing the multiplicity of life and the flickering grace of all the elements of life."

12 responses

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone (Deleted) gave props (16 Oct 2012):

    Amazing image.

  • Susan B. Griffith

    Susan B. Griffith said (16 Oct 2012):

    So serious!!

  • Charles Rushton

    Charles Rushton said (17 Oct 2012):

    Do flâneures have a secret handshake to identify one another?

  • Aaron Schwartz

    Aaron Schwartz   said (17 Oct 2012):

    Charles - No, they just look for someone strolling the boulevard with a turtle on a leash.

  • Shirley Valencia

    Shirley Valencia gave props (17 Oct 2012):

    super cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Randy Turoff

    Randy Turoff   gave props (17 Oct 2012):

    cool image!

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (17 Oct 2012):

    love it!

  • Robert R. Gaines

    Robert R. Gaines gave props (21 Oct 2012):

    Great image and write up too. What better path could one choose than to be a flâneur, not just in the urban sense but also in the natural world too.

  • Ma. Dolores Guillén Solís

    Ma. Dolores Guillén Solís   gave props (26 Oct 2012):

    Very cool!!

  • Bailey Cooper

    Bailey Cooper   gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    When I caught up with you here, I read your bio blurb, saw the word flâneur, didn't know what it meant and went looking. The info was brief and pointed, but certainly lacking in comparison. Now, on the otherhand, we have the picture equal to approximately 1,000 words. Well... and then there's the actual words too. Love the whole deal.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (24 Jan 2013):

    Friggin' fabulous Fanatic entry.

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