Manet's Olympia

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Art History
15 September 2008

Manet's Olympia

Artist and people viewing the art work have always had a fascination with the female nude. Even when I was a child my attention was captured by the nude art not because I was a kid and I saw a nude lady , but it forced me to wonder more about why the female nude was so amazing as a tool for art and why this is repeated so many times throughout the centuries. One female nude painting in particular was the subject of controversy and exposed the syncretism and or the power of the female nude painting. When Edouard Manet's painting Olympia, was painted in 1863. It was hung in the Salon in Paris in 1865.It was one of Manet’s most famous paintings. It is saluted with taunts, laughter, criticism, and despise when displayed for the first time to the people. It is attacked by the public and by news reporters in the papers. Manet’s painting was so controversial at the time it was to be protected by guards and then put out of view of the public. The female nude had been the subject in many paintings many times before the Olympia painting and had been adored or viewed even as pleasant and was excepted in the public eye. Manet waited two years before submitting Olympia to the Salon .Much to Manet's surprise, the jury accepted his work as was his work ridiculed. So what mad Edouard Manet's painting Olympia so frowned upon for the times?

The women in the painting was a prostitute and was painted as a offering to the viewer. The objections to Olympia had more to do with the realism of the subject matter than the fact that the model was nude. While Olympia's pose had classic positioning but the subject of the painting represented a prostitute. In the painting, the maid offers the women a bouquet of flowers this was not the sort of scene previously portrayed in the art of that period. He blurred the “class lines” in this painting. Her flesh wasn’t idealized and people looked at the painting as maybe a joke and...
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