Title: Le dejeuner sur l’herbe
Media: Oil on canvas
Location: Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
In 1863 the painting was the primary talking point of the Salon des Refuses. It shocked the bourgeois patrons and it is easy to see why. The influences of the Renaissance artist Giorgione and by the engravings of Raimondi are fractured by the artist’s disregard for perspective and the use of unnatural light sources. However, the focus of outrage was the presence of an unidealized female nude seemingly casually engaged with two fashionably attired men. Her gaze deliberately confronts the viewer on a sexual level, but through her Manet confronts the viewing public by challenging the ethical and aesthetic boundaries of society.
Artist: Édouard Manet
Born: 23 January 1832, Paris, France
Died: 30 April 1883, Paris, France
Édouard Manet was a modernist painter. He was among the first 19th century artists to paint modern life and was a key figure in the transition of art from Realism to Impressionism.
Manet was born into an upper-class household with strong political connections. He rejected the future planned for him in favour of the art world and painting. His early works, such as Le déjeuner sur l’herbe caused controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. Today these paintings are considered watershed paintings that mark the start of modern art. Manet’s later works were heralded as innovative and still serve as a major influence on painters.
In April 1883, Manet’s left foot was amputated due to gangrene caused by complications from syphilis and rheumatism. He died eleven days later and is buried in the Passy Cemetery in Paris, France.