‘Gypsy with a Cigarette’ by the French painter Edouard Manet is the next Master Copy I’ve attempted (in that cheap and nasty canvas pad I mentioned in the Cezanne post).
The original oil painting is about 36 x 29 inches – that’s about 9 times the size of mine! I’m happy with the general feel but could have done better with the face and should perhaps have used less of the yellow.
Edouard Manet The Artist
Born in Paris in 1832 into a fairly wealthy family, Manet was one of those fortunate artists who didn’t have to stress too much about not selling any of his works. His father worked in the French Ministry of Justice and hoped his son would become a lawyer but Manet was influenced by his uncle Edmond Fournier who encouraged his interest in art.
He enrolled, at the age of 15, into the exclusive College Rollin where he received drawing lessons, it was there that he met his friend Antonin Proust who, because he was the Minister of Fine Arts, was able to secure him the Legion d’Honneur in 1881.
Manet spent the years 1850 to 1856 studying under the renown art teacher Thomas Couture. Here he spent many hours studying and copying art at the Louvre and developing a masterful painting technique.
A number of his paintings, for example ‘Luncheon on the Grass’, ‘Olympia’ and ‘The Execution of the Emperor Maximilian’, brought him notoriety for pushing the boundaries of what was considered decent and breaking with traditional painting techniques.
In the last years of his life Manet suffered from Locomotor Ataxia and he died in April 1883 shortly after the amputation of his left leg.
Here are some of his most famous works:
Gypsy with Cigarette
Okay, this isn’t really one of his most famous but I like it very much. Apparently this painting was never exhibited in his lifetime and might have been retouched after his death.
This painting caused a huge scandal when Manet exhibited it in 1865. Painted in a realist style, the nude stares back boldly at us. Her challenging gaze as well as a few other items such as the orchid in her hair suggest she is a prostitute. His modelling of the nude was considered somewhat flat this was apparently because he often painted with the light behind him.
Luncheon on the Grass
Another painting that caused critic’s eyebrows to rise because of its untraditional placing of a nude in a modern context. He presented this painting in 1863, in the Salon des Refuses.
Music in the Tuileries Garden
This 1862 painting is one of his earlier works and shows well heeled Parisians enjoying a summer’s day out in the park. The painting features a Manet self portrait as well as a few well known figures of the time.
Bar at the Folies-Bergere
This is his last masterpiece. An impressionistic painting completed in 1882 a year before his death.
Study for The Execution of the Emperor Maximillian
This may be only a study but I prefer its gritty Impressionism.