Olympia Manet Analysis

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We are looking closer at Edouard Manet’s “Olympia” (1863) which was the cause of many disputes among the French artists and which provoked a new way of thinking in art. Manet rejected the ideals and traditions of Renaissance art and gave ‘birth’ to the impressionists (Pbs.org, 2015).

By giving examples from the image above we already see what Manet is trying to accomplish. I will also make a comparison to an image that Manet took as inspiration to create “Olympia” in order to give a clear explanation of how Manet achieves his objective.

Manet uses thick and rough brushstrokes which is evident on the sheets which look unfinished. Surfaces are made to look flat rather than smoothed out and realistic like in the example of “The Venus of Urbino”. Unlike also the vibrant and dreamy
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For example, the dog in the right bottom corner in Titian’s “Venus of Urbino” symbolises loyalty.
In Manet’s Olympia, it’s the cat which represents independence and curiosity.
By giving reference to the cat we see that it is a symbol rather than a literal thing.
We also see hints of her personality when we look at her expression which is serious and her body language which tells us she is strong by being able to have control over her sexuality (which is evident in her holding her hand over her genitals).

From all the evidence we have gathered on this artwork that contributed to a new art movement, we can see the meaning behind every small detail and how it can have such a great impact on what the artists wishes to accomplish.
Manet was a revolutionary artist who contradicted society’s ways and gave birth to a new way of thinking in art. Not only did he resist the audiences’ wishes but also criticised them and opposed them. He made many people question traditional art and its purpose and this was what then caused conflict and drama around his
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