Young Lady in 1866 by Edouard Manet

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I love how Manet consistently used colors to embody luxury and how he used light to enhance everything. The dark backgrounds with bland colors set his subjects in contrast, making them more illuminated and glowing. I love how delicately he does hands- they don’t look stiff or too formal at all. The tiny peeled lemon he leaves in the bottom right corner of the painting make it both a portrait and a still life. I love how quick and easy his brushstrokes seem. Manet was a passionate creature, and his paintings and pastel works are infused with emotion. There is no passivity in his creations, no pauses, but they are not rushed works. Purposeful, clever, and exquisite, Manet’s portraits are some of my favorites to observe.

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Working Title/Artist: Young Lady in 1866 Department: European Paintings Culture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: 1866 photographed by mma in 1993, transparency 2a (8×10) scanned by film & media 9/19/04 (phc)

Manet.

 

You must recognize this painting.

It’s Edouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass. Manet is considered one of the forefathers of Classical Modern art. He’s a general badass. When he showed this painting at the Salon des Refus├Ęs in Paris, people were pissed. Any art magazine or book will tell you that they were “shocked”, but that’s diplomatic jargon for just plain angry and appalled.

The reason? Well, one of them is that she’s starting at you. She’s blatantly nude, and she’s lunching with two fully clothed men, and she’s staring at you. It’s sort of startling.

The problem wasn’t that she was nude. Nudity has been in fashion forever, but usually it’s minus eye contact. That’s what makes people squirm. Add in the fact that she’s totally okay with being nude around two black clothed men, and you’ve got shock value. Go, Manet!

The painting is actually quite large, which added to it’s ability to cause outrage, because it’s easy to ignore a painting if it’s not there, in your face- but it’s hard to ignore a large nude woman staring at you, isn’t it?

Manet didn’t just shock- he also awed. His quick brush strokes are amazing, and the vitality in his color choice and composition is fantastic. It’s obvious that he cared about what he was painting, but that it was also very deft and quick- an exact science.

The Dead Matador showcases how I felt all finals and midterms week this last year. Accurate and to the point.

Edouard Manet, ladies and gentlemen.

One of my favorites.