Conceptual Anaylsis of Manet's, Luncheon on the Grass

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Last updated: May 30, 2019

Conceptual framework analysis: Le dejeuner sur l’herbe (The Lunch on the Grass), (1863) Artwork: One of his most famous paintings Le dejeuner sur l’herbe (The Lunch on the Grass), was rejected by the prestigious Salon, however he was exhibited in the Salon des Refuses.

This composition features juxtaposed well dressed men with a nude woman. His influence on this painting was the Judgement of Paris by Raphael and the Concert Champetre by Giorgione’s, both of which featured naked women with clothed men.This juxtaposition of the two fully clothed men and a naked woman caused a great controversy as it was seen as greatly taboo for a woman to be sitting causally with two men in a public place. The nude female’s body appears somewhat luminous and her gaze is directed at the viewer, this could be seen as a further grab for attention by the artist, drawing the viewer’s attention to the nude female’s body.

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The two men accompanying the woman seem to be ignoring the woman as they are engaged in deep conversation. Their posture and facial expressions give one the impression that they are not at all astonished at the woman’s presence.The woman in the background bathing in the stream also seems ignorant or unbothered by this other nude woman sitting with the men. She appears rather large for figure supposes to be in the background and gives one the impression that she is floating or supernaturally present.

The artwork features Manet’s signature blend of blocks of dark/black colours with contrasting lighter colours, the latter of which was influenced by the Impressionist movement, newly emerging at the time. Artist: Edouard Manet was a French painter who was born on January 23 1832 and who died on April 30 in 1883.He was a pioneer when it came to approaching modern-life subjects in his work, bridging the gap between the art movement’s realism and impressionism. His father, a judge, wished for Manet to pursue a career in law however he rejected this for a career in the arts, encouraged by his uncle Charles Fournier. He studied under Thomas Couture and Gustave Courbet, and began to paint in the style of Realism with focus on homeless people, cafes, events and scenery.

However he produced very little historical, religious or mythological paintings.He was also influenced by other impressionists, very much so by Monet, this lead him to use lighter colours whilst retaining however use of blocks of black, unlike other Impressionists. His final days were filled with much pain as he died from syphilis. Audience: The Salon des Refuses was established as a reaction against the Salon’s jury refusing a large number of works (above 4000), which made other critics (some even conservative ones) at the time to say ‘that the jury had no right to reject an honourable mediocrity, or at least not before long and deliberate consideration’.

The Salon des Refuses was commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon III who was ‘Wishing to let the public judge the legitimacy of these complaints,” The Salon des Refuses was recognized as a jumbled mass of different kinds of art but this allowed the public to be presented with an alternative ‘repertoire’ to the usual romantic and classic characteristics of paintings largely sanctioned by academic and art officials.Some critics praised the Salon des Refuses realising that their art world was being prevented from moving forward into the future ‘The artists will always find the attentive public to receive an original try, because creation is one of the most precious qualities of art’, while others critics ridiculed the Salon des Refuses saying the ‘This is not Art’. Some have said that the Salon des Refuses had a ‘greater impact on the artists than the public’ as the exhibition inspired the new generation of artists to explore new art movements.The Salon the following year deliberately reduced it’s number of rejected works from 70% to 30% so that what was left to be exhibited in the Salon des Refuses were mainly unfinished and indecisive works.

The Salon also in that same year exhibited Manet, which was placed ‘in the best place’. The Salon administration was able to manipulate the Salon des Refuses from gaining wide critical acclaim, press and the public’s attention. This caused the Salon des Refuses of 1964 to lack that same spontaneous sensationalism as the previous one. The Salon des Refuses is regarded as a turning point in the history of art and 1863 has been described as ‘the most convenient date from which to begin any history of modern painting’- Encyclopedia. com World: During the 19th century in Paris, art and artists were rapidly growing numbers, leading Paris to become ‘Drunk with Art’. After the French Revolution ‘the Salon’, a previously exclusively owned gallery, was officially open to the public, it exhibited paintings and sculptures by member of the Academie Royale de Peinture at de Sculpture, a jury system was introduced in 1748, and the event became annual.However as the jury became increasingly conservative/academic artworks relating to the impressionist style were almost always rejected, preventing the acceptance of new art movements and promoting conservatism in art.

This made it difficult for the Impressionists to have a successful career, as an artist’s reputation and legitimacy was only made concrete if it was exhibited in the prominent exhibitions, especially the Salon. During the year of 1863 an unusually large amount of works were rejected, this lead to the establishment of the Salon des Refuses, an exhibition held of works rejected by the jury of the Salon.The Salon des Refuses were highly ridiculed by critiques which included the work Luncheon on the Grass. Thanks to the Salon des Refuses the impressionists were able to successfully exhibit their works, which meant a greater chance of success in their careers. However Manet still seeked for acclaim by the original Salon as he wanted to be recognized as a traditionalist although he dabbled in his works with Impressionist characteristics.

In 1881 the French government withdrew their sponsorship from the official Salon and the show was taken over by the Societe des Artistes Francais.

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