Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy birthday, artist Édouard Manet

It is the birthday of French painter Édouard Manet (1832), who caused a big stir in French society when he painted The Luncheon on the Grass (1863), showing one lady not wearing anything and another lady not wearing very much with two gentlemen who seem decidedly overdressed for the picnic. Critics sniped not only at the subject matter but also about the fact that he hadn’t seemed to spend much time painting it. It was so sketchy, they said, it seemed as if you didn’t actually see the scene as get an impression of it. Supporters said that was the whole point – the impression. Thus, the painting came to be one of the works that represents the beginning of the transition from Realism to Impressionism.

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