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© Jonathan Atkinson, 2013 gutenberg Copyright Hand Crafted in the U.S.A.
15th of July

About the Olympia by Édouard Manet


Olympia is an oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet in the Realism style. Painted in 1863, it measures 130.5 by 190 centimetres (51 x 74.8 in). The nation of France acquired the painting in 1890 with a public subscription organised by Claude Monet. It is now in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

and

What shocked contemporary audiences was not Olympia’s nudity, nor even the presence of her fully clothed maid, but her confrontational gaze and a number of details identifying her as a demi-mondaine or courtesan. These include the orchid in her hair, her bracelet, pearl earrings and the oriental shawl on which she lies, symbols of wealth and sensuality. The black ribbon around her neck, in stark contrast with her pale flesh, and her cast-off slipper underline the voluptuous atmosphere. Whereas Titian’s Venus delicately covers her sex, Olympia’s hand firmly protects hers, as if to emphasize her independence and sexual dominance over men. Manet replaced the little dog (symbol of fidelity) in Titian’s painting with a black cat, which symbolized prostitution. Olympia disdainfully ignores the flowers presented to her by her servant, probably a gift from a client. Some have suggested that she is looking in the direction of the door, as her client barges in unannounced.Read More…

Olympia - Édouard Manet
Olympia by Édouard Manet

This post was partly made as reference for: Mark Ryden

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