A name associated with controversy in the art world, French-born artist, Edouard Manet, has come to be viewed as one of the founders of modern art. (Cole & Gealt, 1989). Born on January 23, 1832, his mother the goddaughter of Charles Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden and father, distinguished judge in the Ministry of Justice, Manet was brought up into the ranks of the well-bred and well-off Parisian bourgeoisie. Despite appearing to be the quintessential role model of a well-mannered, well-spoken and well-read man of high society, he showed no inclination or ability for academic subject matter. Manet's only true interest and talent were in the arts. This was much to his father's disappointment, who wanted his son to follow his example and pursue a career in law. (Wikipedia, 2006). After two failed attempts at passing the naval entrance exam, he entered the studio of Thomas Couture, where he studied art, from 1850 to 1856.
[...] They have a photographic quality to their appearance, unlike the background, which has harsh, unfinished looking brush strokes.The nude woman on the other hand, appears flat and lacks the smooth flawlessness of ones done by artists like Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. (Sayre). Shadow is reduced to a band-like outline.Just as the fully clad gentlemen look to be relaxed, enjoying a leisurely ‘luncheon on the grass,' the nude woman appears equally content, even with a hint of complacency. Nothing remotely seems to imply any awkwardness, self- consciousness or modestly on her part. [...]
[...] Inspired by Titian's Venus of Urbino, Olympia is another example of how Manet took liberties of using respected works by Renaissance artists and updating them with a contemporary flair that was all his own.The painting is of a reclining nude woman, gazing mysteriously at the viewer, attended by a maid who is holding a bouquet of flowers. Like in Déjeuner, the background is dark, almost black, but this with a sense of it being nighttime, with strong implications Olympia is a ‘lady of the night.' In many representations viewed, the maid's dark face is hard to distinguish from the background. [...]
[...] They give the impression of two students on holiday who are behaving outrageously, to try and give the impression of real men . It is either a young man's idea of a joke, or it is a festering sore, unworthy of comment. (Katz & Dars, 2000). Even though friend and writer, Emile Zola, came to Manet's defense, using words like: ‘brilliant, inspiring, greatest, powerful,' Manet was so distressed he complained that abuse was raining down on him like hail.” (Katz & Dars).Despite the hoopla, Déjeuner sur l'herbe, still maintained traditional qualities. [...]
[...] Strewn on the ground of the ‘picnickers,' are clothing, a basket laying on its side with the contents of fruit half in and half spilling out, a round loaf of bread and several other items, not clear, due to the cropping of the representation. The entire image has a ‘dark' quality to it. The trees, especially on the left side, plus grassy area in the foreground of the three sitting individuals, are very dark black to be exact, leaving no natural light showing through. [...]
[...] Retrieved on March from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/flashpoints/visualarts/olympia.html Culture Shock; The TV Series & Beyond. (2000). The shock of the nude: Manet's Olympia. Retrieved on March from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/beyond/manet.html Katz, R. & Dars, C. (1999). The impressionists handbook. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. McDonald, L. (1999). The archive. Retrieved on March from http://www.artchive.com/M/manet.html Morgan, H. (2006). for Art's Sake,' Oxford University Press, Grove art online. Retrieved on March from http://www.groveart.com/shared/views/article.html?section=art.004365 Oxford University [...]
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