Edouard Manet's Olympia vs. Patricia Ridenour’s Nude Everyone has a different perspective on what they consider “art”. Some believe it can only be an extravagant painting filled with exotic colors and rich scenery; some believe it can be a misplaced urinal. Art is what the individual takes away from it. Because of this, however, a lot of controversy can be created due to the many opinions and views that are made. What one person may take as offensive, another may take as inspiring, but this dynamic is what has given us some of the most innovating social movements and contributions in history. Art is also a form of expression—a message that the creator wants to convey or a feeling they want to produce. Depending on the nature of the piece, this can cause many ethical issues to arise. For example in 1865, Edouard Manet hung his painting Olympia in a salon in Paris which depicted a nude courtesan brazenly lounging on a chaise. While the nudity of women was widely accepted in 19th century France, it was only if she was depicted as a goddess or with mythical themes. Manet rejected this norm, however, and depicted Olympia as a modern day prostitute, looking out at the world unashamed and assertive. He chose to transform tradition into realism, using a real woman as his model. However as with most new concepts, this sparked a major uproar in society, mostly from upper-class Parisian men and women. This was because, while the men laid with courtesans nightly, they did not want to have them staring into their faces at the art exhibit and Parisian women were not fond of looking into the eyes of the brash beauty that seduced their husbands. This was a movement the French society was not prepared to take on. Art movements aren’t confined to the old days. In fact, art is continually evolving and artists are incessantly finding new and different ways to express their emotions and symbolize
their views on life. Whether it’s through painting gang signs on...
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