The French Painter Edouard Manet

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The French Painter Edouard Manet

Table of Contents

1. Introduction --------------------- 1

2. From Renaissance to Impressionism --------------------- 2

3. Manet's place in the history of art --------------------- 4

4. Manet: life and legacy --------------------- 9

5. References --------------------- 15

List of Images

Olympia ------------------- 12 Le Bouquet de Lilas ------------------- 12 The Fifer ------------------- 13 Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe ------------------- 13 The Mocking of Christ ------------------- 14 The Absinthe Drinker ------------------- 14 1. Introduction

The dramatically direct approach employed by French painter Edouard Manet (1832-83) started a revolution in the art world and served as a source of inspiration to other artists, most notably the Impressionists.

Owing to the Impressionistic movement, the artistic culture of late nineteenth-century France was rich and diverse. Although earlier artists such as the English painter William Turner (1775 -1851) had already shown great interest in the qualities of light, the origins of impressionism are usually traced to the realist movement and one of its chief representatives in France, Eduouard Manet. Like his Impressionist friends (with whom he never exhibited, not really considering himself an Impressionist), Manet gravitated toward everyday subjects and loose brushwork. Like them, too, he was a rebel who dared to scorn the conventions of the official state-sponsored Academy of Fine Arts. The great adventure of modern painting, freed from false conventions as well as the need for anecdote and pretext, began with Manet. He was the first to express only what directly touched his senses. In many ways, Manet wanted to be a man of his time, but he was forced to be a rebel. Despite his best efforts, he turned out to be a revolutionary quite ahead of his time. He was a true pioneer and bore the heavy burden of being one. Today, he remains a pivotal figure in the modern history of painting.

2. From Renaissance to Impressionism

During the times of Renaissance, artists' reliance on church patronage began to decline. With the rise of secular courts and a merchant class, painters were presented with increasing opportunities to become self-employed and self-directed. Over time, painters' economic independence was also supported by science. Improvements in materials, such as new colors and ready-made tube paints, led to artistic competition and innovations in both style and subject matter. Painting developed within the context of ideas about where innovation could take place and thus the search for "newness" became a motivation for painters. Painters continually asked themselves what "problems" needed to be solved in order to promote a sense of originality. Freedom from the stylistic dictates of the church, then the guild, and finally the Academy gave the artist the conceptual freedom to define both content and form. A major move to redefine art famously occurred in Paris in the second half of nineteenth century, which marked a shift away from the Academy proper. The hero of the day was Edouard Manet. He was hounded out of the government's Salon for his daring honesty, but he joined forces with a rebel band of impressionists and turned the tables on the reactionary academicians. Manet, perhaps, more than anyone liberates the mind from conventions, from...
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