WahooArt.com - Edouard Manet
Arts & Entertainment > Hobbies & Creative Arts > Artwork
The Picnic (Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe), Oil by Edouard Manet (1832-1883, France)
This is a large oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet. Created in 1862 and 1863. Its juxtaposition of a female nude with fully dressed men sparked controversy when the work was first exhibited at the Salon des Refusés. The nude woman is starkly lit and she stares directly at the viewer. The men seem to be engaged in conversation, ignoring the woman. In front of them, the woman's clothes, a basket of fruit, and a round loaf of bread are displayed. In the background a lightly clad woman bathes in a stream. Too large in comparison with the figures in the foreground, she seems to float above them. The roughly painted background lacks depth - giving the viewer the impression that the scene is not taking place outdoors, but in a studio. This impression is reinforced by the use of broad "photographic" light, which casts almost no shadows: in fact, the lighting of the scene is inconsistent and unnatural. The style of the painting breaks with the academic traditions of the time. Manet did not try to hide the brush strokes: indeed, the painting looks unfinished in some parts of the scene. It is now in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. A smaller, earlier version can be seen at the Courtauld Gallery, London.