Not only is my physical self divorced from anything urban — my photography archives seem to be divorced as well. But I still keep a very clear image of what urbanity is. To my mind, the very best image ever of City Life at its most urbane and glamorous is this one, captured by the 19th century French painter Gustave Caillebotte.
He was associated with the Impressionists, but more realistic in style (and wealthier) than they. His huge masterpiece, Rainy Day in Paris, hangs in the Chicago Art Institute. It is placed so that you encounter it around a corner, thereby coming face to face with this quintessentially Parisian couple strolling toward you:
The painting is roughly 8 feet in height and 6 feet in width, so that this Parisian couple is nearly lifesize. It is STUNNING. To me, when I yearn to be in Paris, this is what I’m yearning for. The traffic today is worse, of course, but in enchanted moments, especially in the rain, this is still exactly what Paris looks like!