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  • Edouard Manet
    Jan 23, 1832 – Apr 30, 1883
  • Olympia - Édouard Manet was a French painter. One of the first nineteenth century artists to approach modern-life subjects, he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His early masterworks The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia engendered great controversy, and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. Today these are considered watershed paintings that mark the genesis of modern art.
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Olympia
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  • Olympia

  • Edouard Manet
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  • 1863
    Oil on canvas
    51 3/8 x 74 3/4 in. (130.5 x 190 cm)
    Musée d'Orsay, France.

    When Edouard Manet's painting Olympia is hung in the Salon of Paris in 1865, it is met with jeers, laughter, criticism, and disdain. It is attacked by the public, the critics, the newspapers. Guards have to be stationed next to it to protect it, until it is moved to a spot high above a doorway, out of reach.

    With Olympia, Manet rebels against the art establishment of the time. Taking Titian's Venus of Urbino as his model, Manet creates a work he thinks will grant him a place in the pantheon of great artists. But instead of following the accepted practice in French art, which dictates that paintings of the figure are to be modeled on historical, mythical, or biblical themes, Manet chooses to paint a woman of his time -- not a feminine ideal, but a real woman, and a courtesan at that. And he paints her in his own manner: in place of the smooth shading of the great masters, his forms are painted quickly, in rough brushstrokes clearly visible on the surface of the canvas. Instead of the carefully constructed perspective that leads the eye deep into the space of the painting, Manet offers a picture frame flattened into two planes. The foreground is the glowing white body of Olympia on the bed; the background is darkness.

    In painting reality as he sees it, Manet challenges the accepted function of art in France, which is to glorify history and the French state, and creates what some consider the first modern painting. His model, Victorine Meurent, is depicted as a courtesan, a woman whose body is a commodity. While middle-and- upper class gentlemen of the time may frequent courtesans and prostitutes, they do not want to be confronted with one in a painting gallery. A real woman, flaws and all, with an independent spirit, stares out from the canvas, confronting the viewer, something French society in 1865 is perhaps not ready to face.

    After Manet's death, the painter Claude Monet organizes a fund to purchase Olympia and offers it to the French state. It now hangs in the Musée D'Orsay in Paris, where it is considered a priceless masterpiece of 19th French painting.

    Why settle for a paper print when you can add sophistication to your rooms with a high quality 100% hand-painted oil painting on canvas at wholesale price? Order this beautiful oil painting today! that's a great way to impress friends, neighbors and clients alike.

  • 100% hand-painted oil painting on artist grade canvas. No printing or digital imaging techniques are used.
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Other paintings by Edouard Manet:

Women on the Banks of a River
Women on the Banks of a River
Young Woman with a Blue Cape and Scarf
Young Woman with a Blue Cape and Scarf
The Fifer
The Fifer
A Bar at the Folies-Bergeres
A Bar at the Folies-Bergeres
Edouard ManetManet was born in Paris on 23 January, 1832, the eldest son of a high official in the French Ministry. In 1848 he failed the entrance exam to naval college. He subsequently went to sea with the merchant marine to avoid studying law, as his father wished. He became a painter against his father's advice, joining the studio of the respected academic painter Thomas Couture in 1850. Though he remained with Couture for six years, Manet gained his real knowledge of art during visits to Italy in 1853 and 1857, and to Germany and Holland in 1856. Those trips exposed Manet to the same masters who had so profoundly interpreted realism in the past: Hals, Velázquez and Goya. In 1863 Manet participated in the famous Salon des Refuses, an exhibition consisting of works rejected by the official Salon, and he came to be viewed as the hero of the nonconformists. Though Manet regarded himself as working in the tradition of the great masters, his approach was to rethink established themes in modern terms. His early notoriety was based on the subject matter of paintings such as Dejeuner sur l'herb, and Olympia rather than their style. Highly independent, and extraordinarily original in both his unconventional portrayals of modern life and his spontaneous brushwork, he struggled for academic acceptance throughout his life. Although Manet was rebellious in his subject matter, he craved official recognition, and this may be why he never 'compromised' himself by exhibiting at any of the Impressionist exhibitions. He claimed that he had 'no intention of overthrowing old methods of painting, or creating new ones'. Although he never regarded himself as an Impressionist and never exhibited with them, Manet strongly supported their choice of subject matter. Manet's refreshingly direct look at life and his spontaneous yet monumental translation of what he saw into paint earned him the position as their unofficial leader.