George Steiner often insists that the concept of “contemporaneity” should be taken into serious consideration. For instance, it is crucial to know that Édouard Manet and Charles Baudelaire lived at the exact same time in order to understand the deep relevance of one’s work to the other’s. Manet’s fascination with eroticism and modernity coexisted with a more classical touch, which was rooted in a long tradition of painting. In that sense, when his oeuvre was presented in 2011 at Musée d’Orsay in Paris, naming him the “man who invented modernity,” such a claim could only be accurate if related to the perpetuation of certain traditions. Modernity exists alongside tradition. And Baudelaire stands in a similar position. The literary critic Antoine Compagnon famously described his poems as “antimodern,” meaning that they were written as much in contradiction to as in close relation to modernity. Therefore, Baudelaire’s poems and Manet’s paintings, which may seem to be produced in parallel realities, indeed have a lot in common.
—Donatien Grau, The Age of Creation (Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2015)]