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Subota, 15 Maj 2021 10:49

Culture of Poverty by Oscar Lewis

The theory of a culture of poverty was created by the American anthropologist Oscar Lewis in his book, Five Families: Mexican Case Studies in the Culture of Poverty, first published in 1959. This theory states that living in conditions of pervasive poverty will lead to the development of a culture or subculture adapted to those conditions. Lewis uses his famous expression of poverty culture to describe it as the idea that poor people do not learn norms and values that can help them improve their conditions and therefore fall into a repeated pattern of poverty.

A French painter, sculptor, printmaker, newspaper caricaturist, and political satirist Honoré Daumier lived in Paris during troubled political times (the revolutions of 1830 and 1848) and during a time of rapid industrialization and much social unrest. His interest in the French railroad system was based on the fact that this new means of transportation changed the way to move around Paris and the surrounding cities in a dramatic way. Daumier, who also struggled with unemployment at some point in his life, sympathized with the working class and saw them as fellow passengers.

Honoré Daumier's paintings were influenced by rail traveling themes and painted many images on a similar theme since the 1840s. The painting The Third-Class Carriage from 1862 is a depiction of the everyday life of the poor. This painting is one part of a three-part series of paintings by Daumier, including The First-Class Carriage and The Second-Class Carriage. The work can be viewed now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

After moving to Nuenen in the Brabant region in 1883, Vincent van Gogh was inspired to create a portrait of the working class. On 30 April 1885, he wrote to his brother Theo:

"You see, I really have wanted to make it so people get the idea that these folk, who are eating their potatoes by the light of their little lamp, have tilled the earth themselves with these hands they are putting in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labor and - that they have thus honestly earned their food. I wanted it to give the idea of a wholly different way of life from ours - civilized people. So I certainly don't want everyone just to admire it or approve of it without knowing why."

Vincent van Gogh had planned out the painting of The Potato Eaters far in advance and had the inspiration to create a multiple-figure painting in 1883. After completing various sketches and trial paintings of the piece, he created three surviving studies of The Potato Eaters and also printed a lithograph of the work, which he sent to his brother Theo in Paris. Upon completion of The Potato Eaters in 1885, he thought it was his best work to date. But, it was not successful in his lifetime, nor was it displayed at the Salon as he had requested. Today it is considered by many to be Van Gogh's first true masterpiece and can be seen at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

One of the founders of the Barbizon School, the French painter Jean-François Mile is known for his peasant scenes. First exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1863, the painting The Man with a Hoe caused a storm of controversial interpretations at the time because of its depiction of the brutal life to which peasants were subjected. The man in the picture was considered brutish and frightening by the public and critics and the painting itself was a social protest on behalf of peasants. Millet seemed to foresee the response to his work, when he wrote, "The Man with the Hoe will get me into hot water with many people who don't like to be asked to contemplate a different world." The painting is now housed in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

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