Thursday, 6 November 2014
What's this Manet?
Today, we'll study Édouard Manet's "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe", also known as "The Luncheon on the Grass".
The first thing I noticed when I studied this wonderful oil on canvas, (more arty talk), is that it can't have been much of a luncheon, (or déjeuner), since there's no sight of any French Fries or chocolate milkshake. What kind of picnic is this without French Fries? Manet missed a trick there, but never mind.
The third thing I noticed, (the second being the subtle use of colours and the masterful brush strokes).
... As I was saying, the third thing I noticed is that we have here a naked lady having a picnic with two fully dressed men, whilst another half naked woman is having a wash in the river in the background.
At first I thought that it must have been very hot that day and she needed to cool down, but then, on reflection, I started to worry about any ants or insects that may be in the "herbe" in the vicinity.
I also noticed that the two men are happily talking to each other and totally ignoring the naked lady beside them; very uncharacteristic of most men I know.
Intrigued by all this I researched the painting a little more. I was surprised to discover that Manet' wife Suzanne Leenhoff posed for the naked woman, although the face on the painting is that of another model. Stranger still, the men sitting beside her are Manet's brother Gustave, and his brother-in-law Ferdinand Leenhoff.
You can imagine the conversation as they prepared to sit for the painting.
"Hello sister, you've put on some weight lately."
"It's all them French Fries that does it. Gustave, where have you put the French fries?"
"Édouard ate them. The milkshake too!"
And there you have it friends. An expose of Manet's "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe".
If there are any other artworks you would like me to research and critique, (another arty word), please let me know.