Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Inspiration: Manet

Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863. (source)
Edouard Manet, Le Fifre, 1866. (source)
Manet is one of my all time favorite artists. I love his interpretation of the reclining Venus in Olympia, the way she is present in her sexuality, and seems to control it herself-represented by that barring hand which was so reviled by critics when the painting first came out. This painting is such a discussed image in art- I'm sure there are more thorough interpretations out there than mine, but I will say that to me Olympia is the continuation of Titian's Venus, the end result is a nude woman who I guess 'owns it' more or less. She seems to me to be the one who is deciding her fate as nude female subject, she is not a passive figure, she is aware that she is being viewed, which was a shocking departure from convention at the time.

I also love the little flute player- he is so sweetly serious in his  expression. The way that Manet rendered his works, as though they are seen in stark lighting, which gives them a flat quality, seems to me to be quite rich. His figures are also so alive, and at the same time slightly wooden, a contrast that I find really intriguing.

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