Art – Edouard Manet’s Life


Edouard Manet was a revolutionary painter. His work changed  art  forever and inspired the impressionistic style of painting. His  art  is so inspirational that it even influences today’s  art !

Manet is a French painter that was born in Paris on January 23, 1832. He was the son of a government official. His uncle gave him his first drawing lessons. Manet studied at the Rollin College and met his lifelong best friend Antonin there. Manet’s father wanted him to study law but he didn’t want to so he went to sea instead. He was trained as a sea cadet but failed his naval examinations and switched to painting.

He first studied  art  in Paris under Thomas Couture, the French painter and soon after visited Italy, Germany and the Netherlands to study the  art  in these places. While traveling around, several artists greatly influenced him. These artists were the Dutch painter Frans Hals, the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya, the French painter Courbet and the Spanish artist Diego Velazquez.

Manet started paining genre paintings, which are paintings that depict everyday life, such as street urchins and old beggars. He developed a very bold brush technique in which he painted realistic subject matter. All of his paintings are very realistic.

In 1861 he submitted The Spanish Singer to the Salon and won an honorable mention for it. However, in 1863 he submitted The Picnic to the Salon and it was rejected. This became a scandal and was an outrage to the public. The Salon wouldn’t accept it because of the subject matter. In the painting, there was a woman at a picnic naked with two men.

Manet’s painting, Olympia, created even more of an outrage. The public was furious with the style and subject matter of the painting. The painting depicted a naked prostitute waiting for her customer. Today, this is one of Manet’s most famous paintings and is admired.

On October 28, 1863, Manet married Suzanne Leenhoff. She was a musician that had been hired by Manet’s father to give Edouard and his brother piano lessons. Edouard and Suzanne had a ten year relationship before they were finally married in 1863. During their ten year relationship, Suzanne gave birth to a son, Leon Koella. The father is most certainly Manet, but Leon was presented to other people as Suzanne’s younger brother. Manet painted Leon in several of his paintings, including Luncheon in the Studio.

Manet frequently was seen in the company of the Impressionist group and was considered by them to be their leader. However, he did not want to join the group and his work is not known as impressionistic. Impressionists use lighter colors and focus on the effects of light. They are mostly interested in showing their impressions of different scenes.

Manet was the first painter to abandon traditional lighting and treatment of space in his works. He wanted people to see the true reality of a painting which is that a painting is just a painting, a flat, two dimensional surface. It shouldn’t be an illusion of something else.

Manet did not get recognition until much later in his life. After that, everyone wanted his paintings. In 1882 he submitted one of his best pictures to the Salon, The Bar at the Folies-Bergere. This painting allowed him to be accepted into the Legion of Honor. Manet died on April 30, 1883 in Paris after a long illness. He painted 420 oil paintings and many other pastels and watercolors.

Source by Michael Russell

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