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A study of mediocrity,
This review is from: Pierre Grassou (Webster's English Thesaurus Edition) (Paperback)
Balzac commences this tale from the Comedie Humaine by criticising the annual exhibition at the Louvre which nowadays accepts far more works, many of which are unworthy.
He then tells the story of Grassou, a likeable if rather unskilled artist. For seven years he grafts, producing 'servile imitations' of great works to order for a dealer, who sells them all but pays him a pittance. One day, his pitying friends, 'real' artists, arrange for one of his works to enter the Salon...
Interesting story with a twist. Balzac also discusses how it is that mediocre individuals often 'get on' in life- pity, popularity etc.