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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC



The Floor Scrapers is significant because it's the first time workers are the main focus of a painting.

Like the Realists and other Impressionists, Caillebotte was fed up with representing historical subjects.

He wanted to represent the real world, as it appeared to him, in its immediacy.

The painting pays tribute to men who would have worked hard to embellish the interiors of Parisian apartments, at a time of profound transformation of the city.

Indeed most of the Paris we know and love today dates to this period.

It was a period of dramatic change, led by a famous Paris prefect, the Baron Haussmann.

Haussmann gutted Medieval Paris, drew up new avenues, created parks, monuments, train stations, the Opera... 

All in all, under his watch, 34 000 new buildings were erected, 19 000 buildings were demolished, and 600 000 new trees planted - with strict architectural guidelines, giving rise to the architectural style we associate with Paris today.

The Salon, the most prestigious art competition of the time, rejected Caillebotte's painting, judging it vulgar and of no interest.

But Caillebotte went on the become one of the leading figures of Impressionism.

Like Degas, Renoir, Pissarro... he provides us with bold and beautiful paintings, which share incredible insight into what life was like at the time.