Paris (France) 1832 – Paris (France) 1883
Le déjeuner sur l’herbe
Pierre Bourdieu says of Manet ” that it embodies the esthetic revolution which, at the end of the XIXth century, lives the reversal of the academic art for the benefit of forms and of new rules, less been imperative by the State than by the very artists. As first modern picture, breaks with the academic art without giving up joining the filiations of the art history … “
This painting painted in 1863 indeed made scandal and was worth to Manet numerous criticisms.
Inspired by Marc – Antoine Raimondi’s engraving, The judgment of Pâris. (By 1510-1520) Manet used a size usually reserved for the historic representations, the use of the nude with sexual connotation is also a turning point in the conception of the painting.
This work so called the square part is a real invitation in the debauchery.
What do we see?
The foreground is occupied by three characters
· A naked, seated woman of profile, being held the head pressed on the hand, like the thinker of Rodin she fixes the spectator as to invite him to join the scene.
Two elegantly dressed men(people), the man in the cane speaks while the couple does not look at him.
In front of these three characters is put on the blue dress of the woman a basket representing ” the lunch ” which is a pretext for the direction(fabrication) of the work because it is clearly shown that other delicacies were consumed.
· The fourth character occupies the second plan, we see a partially naked woman covered with a transparent shirt there which has a bath in a brook
· This swimmer seems of advantage to make a hygienic dress.
· This woman is enlightened by a vertical light which surrounds her such an aura.
· While she is in the second plan, the painter chose a proportion equal to the other subjects, indeed it should be represented smaller than the other characters.
The construction of this work looks like a juxtaposition of images and kinds, indeed, Manet mixes the styles different from the portrait, from the landscape and the still life, the style in which the painter has a not debatable control, what is not the case of the characters, painted without shadow or the landscape looking like a stage set, probably realized in his studio.
What explains maybe the lower left presence of a frog which appears here to give an appearance of immediate, caught red-handed, in the scene.
Nevertheless, this frog draws the starting point of a bright diagonal which crosses the white and naked and provocative bodies of both women as well as the lunch.
This realization if it represented an antiacademic revolution of the painting, also informs us about the bourgeois customs of period, the fashion of the men.
the clothes of the women being rather absent and the composition of a picnic, here realized by some seasonal fruits, peaches, cherries, apricots a ball of bread, a flask and a wicker basket