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Manet’s Nude Women in Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia Essay

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Updated: Jun 15th, 2020

Art plays a unique role in every society. It portrays the most appealing or acceptable ideas and practices. This fact explains why many people expect every artist to produce conventional artworks. Edouard Manet produced numerous works of art that bridged the gap between impressionism and realism. He managed to produce new works of art portraying natural objects. Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” is one of the best masterpieces produced in the 19th century. Many thinkers and scholars have studied and analyzed the formal qualities and elements of this painting by Manet.

Luncheon on the Grass.
“Luncheon on the Grass” by Edouard Manet.
Olympia.
“Olympia” by Edouard Manet.

It is agreeable that the painting by Manet is unconventional. To begin with, Manet decided to paint nude women in the masterpiece. This was a common practice during the Impressionism Movement. Many people have explained why the masterpiece is scandalous. This is the case because Edouard Manet’s women are nude. The males in the painting are wearing decent clothes. Many analysts have denounced the themes and elements presented in the work of art. The work was demoralizing to many viewers. The people were unhappy with the painting because it failed to inspire national pride.

Although Manet’s piece of work was outstanding and powerful, it failed to fulfill the expectations of many people in Europe. The painter also used the most appropriate formal elements in order to produce a spectacular painting. Edouard Manet also produced a similar painting called “Olympia”. This work of art depicts a black servant and a nude woman. The servant is bringing flowers to the naked woman. During the period, many people condemned the painting because it was immoral and unacceptable. Many viewers also ignored the painting’s formal qualities because it failed to address their expectations. The portrayal of nude women and clothed men was something wrong. According to many analysts and viewers, Manet’s paintings were inappropriate in the French society because it embraced the best moral values.

Manet’s paintings are comparable to Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ “La Grande Odalisque” and Alexandre Cabanel’s “Birth of Venus”. Ingres’ “La Grande Odalisque” depicts a naked woman. However, the woman is alone and proud to be naked. The portrayal of this nude woman is acceptable to many viewers in France. Cabanel’s “Birth of Venus” is a masterpiece presents the best formal elements of art. The nude angels appear to rejoice after the birth of Venus. Many people in the world have appreciated the masterpiece because it portrays the best aspects of art.

La Grande Odalisque.
“La Grande Odalisque” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
“Birth of Venus” by Alexandre Cabanel.

As mentioned earlier, Manet was shocking because he depicted naked prostitutes in his artworks. This was something unacceptable in the society because the artist portrayed clothed males and nude women in his works of art. Although the other paintings portray naked women, they do not include clothed people. This single fact explains why such paintings by Ingres and Cabanel were acceptable to the people of France. The images of nude women in the paintings were acceptable because there were no clothed people accompanying them. This discussion also explains why many people were unhappy with Edouard Manet’s artworks. Many described such paintings as vulgar and scandalous. In conclusion, many people will expect every work of art to support the values embraced in their societies. This situation explains why many viewers dismissed Edouard Manet’s paintings.

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IvyPanda. "Manet's Nude Women in Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia." June 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/manets-nude-women-in-luncheon-on-the-grass-and-olympia/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Manet's Nude Women in Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia." June 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/manets-nude-women-in-luncheon-on-the-grass-and-olympia/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Manet's Nude Women in Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia'. 15 June.

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