Thursday, December 2, 2010

Olympia, Manet

Manet certainly enjoyed taking older, famous, respected pieces of art and painting them anew with his own take. His Olympia mimics a work already featured in this blog, The Venus of Urbino.

See the comparison? 

Manet's Olympia is a prostitute as opposed to a rich man's wife-to-be. It is indicated by the flower in her hair, the collar necklace, the high-heeled sandals, and the gift of flowers that her maid brings to her. Some suspect that these flowers come from the viewer, who is acknowledged as in The Venus of Urbino through the direct stare. The body of Manet's Olympia shows a shift in beauty. She seems to be of a more ethnic background and her body is less voluptuous. 

Personally, I found Manet's more beautiful. I think the way in which he paints her body-almost devoid of outline, solely relying on shading-is really beautiful and gives her body an extra softness that maybe the knowledge of her profession initially deprives the viewer of. 

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