E. Manet: Retrato de Emile Zola, 1868.
E. Manet, Portrait of Emile Zola, 1868.

  • A radical painter?:
         Edouard Manet can be seen as an artist participating in two separate worlds: Realism and Impressionism. Many scholars dscribed his style as Naturalist because of his study of reality and expression of it without any remake at all.

         He travelled to Spain and was touched by its way of life, habitudes, folklorism and the world of bullfighters and young girls. There, he could learn from works of painters as important as Velázquez and Goya, who absolutely influenced his work.

         Manet is a painter of modern life, who represents the model of artist asked by Baudelaire. The truth is that his works caused scandals well known in History of Art, but our artist never tried to be a radical one as Courbet was. The fact was that the world was not prepared to assimilate an art full of truth like his; a painting in wich life was represented as it is, without ornaments nor metaphor. At 1863 he showed his Breakfast on Grass (Déjeuner sur l´herbe). The work arose hostility between conservative critics but was a discovering for young artists who would later create the spirit of Impressionism. We all know that the subject was based on masterworks from Renaissance: Giorgione, Tiziano, Rafael..., but Manet developped it according to modernity. It can also be applied to Olimpia. He did not use for his nude neither Gods nor Muses from Renaissance and Baroque. He did not show fine subtleties in lines as Ingre did. He just works a prostitute nude: a woman from contemporary life. Many scholars saw a gibe, but this picture only expressed modernity and truthfullness.

         In order to pick up reality and fugacity he worked with a rapid and pasted touch of brush. This feature let us then identify Impressionism. Undoubtedly, we can say that Manet inaugurates modern painting.

  • Representative Works by Manet:
    E. Manet: Música en las tullerías,  1862. E. Manet, Music in Touilleries, 1862, oil on canvas, 76 x 118 cm, National Gallery, London.
    E. Manet: Olimpia, 1863. E. Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 130´5 x 190 cm, Musée d´Orsay, Paris.
    E. Manet: Desayuno sobre la hierba, 1863. E. Manet, Breakfast on Grass, 1863, oil on canvas, 81 x 101 cm, Musée d´Orsay, Paris.
    E. Manet: Pífano, 1866. E. Manet, Pyphanus, 1866, oil on canvas, 160 x 98 cm, Musée d´Orsay, Paris.
    E. Manet: En la playa, 1873. E. Manet, At the Beach, 1873, oil on canvas, Musée d´Orsay, Paris.
    E. Manet: El bar de Folies-Bergère, 1882. E. Manet, Bar Folies-Bergère, 1882, oil on canvas, Courtauld Institute Galleries, London.

    Written by:
    Beatriz Aragonés Escobar.
    Licenciada en Historia del Arte

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