Cup of tea break: Manet and the Royal Academy Exhibition

April 23, 2013

A few weekends ago I went to the Royal Academy's Art Exhibition in London. It has now finished, but I thought I would share a little of what I learnt about Manet, not to be confused with the infamous Monet.

A little about Édouard Manet
His life
-Born into an affluent family in Paris.
-Followed his passion for painting rather than the political career destined for him.

His art

-His paintings were heralded as the beginning of 'modern art' and challenged the French Academy's conventions.
-His oeuvre demonstrates the transition from realism to impressionism.
-His paintings are characterised by black outlines, and large brushstrokes. Often there is debate as to the extent he finished many of the paintings.

The exhibition

I loved it. I perused around with my friend Rosita, for many hours, listening to the audio guide. We found the contrast between realism and impressionism particularly interesting. I also adored the tones he used, specifically his masterful use of black, and his proficiency in both oil painting and chalk.
His lifestyle and interaction with other artists, authors, and musicians is always something that I find fascinating. Manet and his counterparts, (Monet, Renoir etc), seemed to spend their entire life in cafés in Paris- not a bad life- which would seem to account for his preoccupation with observations of social life and leisure.

This painting, Music in the Tuileries Gardens was made even more impressive, for me as an English Literature student, when learning of the links between this extensive group of people, those including: avant-garde writers Baudelaire- poet(1821-1867), and Théophile Gautier- poet and novelist(1811-1872.)

I'm really glad to have this lovely book to remind me of the exhibition and to look back to for reference.

There is a large collection of portraits of Manet's student, Eva Gonzalès, two of which are displayed below.

One of my favourites was The Railway, (right hand image) - an expression of modernising times.

It was a lovely day spent in London with Rosita and I can't wait to visit my next exhibition.

If you are also interested in Impressionism, but know as little as me, take a look at this guide from the National Gallery Website. 

Are there any upcoming exhibitions that you're interested in?


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