|Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (detail), 1872. Musée d'Orsay, Paris.|
Photo © RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
So it was really exciting to visit the Royal Academy of Arts and be able to have a closer glimpse of the late 19th century lifestyle through the eyes of this exquisite painter, whom the exhibition curator MaryAnne Stevens describes as the father of modern art.
|Music in the Tuilleries Gardens, 1862. The National Gallery, London|
Manet: Portraying Life is the first major exhibition in the UK to showcase his portraiture. Music in the Tuilleries Gardens depicts a gathering of fashionably dressed Parisians who are listening to one of the open-air concerts held there at the time. They are there as a spectacle, capturing our imagination which can almost bring them back to life!
"One of Manet's most constant preoccupations has been to envelop his characters with the atmosphere of the world to which they belong." Joris-Karl Huysmans, 1883
|The Railway, 1873. Photo courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington.|
The exhibition features Victorine Meurent, who posed for seven of Manet's major works including Déjeuner sur l'herbe and the infamous Olympia, which sadly were nowhere to be seen. But highlights include The Lucheon, 1868 depicting Léon, the son of Manet's wife.
"His elegant awkwardness of style, absolute honesty of vision and persistent innovation and risk taking established Edouard Manet as the father of modern art." MaryAnne Stevens, curator
|Street Singer, c. 1862. Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston|
Manet explores the surroundings and emotions of his subjects, giving life to Parisian society of the time. While walking through the exhibition, I couldn't help but wonder what Manet would think of today's brutal realism, when everybody seems to be willing to expose themselves for questionable purposes through a wide variety of means.
|A different version of Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, c. 1863-68. The Courtauld Gallery, London|
Photo: press view at the Royal Academy of Arts
Manet: Portraying Life
Royal Academy of Arts
26 January - 14 April 2013
Sponsored by BNY Mellon
Other related blog posts:
Virtual Perceptions: Mariko Mori
Lucian Freud Portraits
An Explosive Mind: Yayoi Kusama