Manet: Controversy and Skepticism

Artlytics Org
3 min readSep 11, 2020

爱德华·马奈(Édouard Manet)(1832–1883)是一位现实主义画家,也是一位印象派画家。他的作品有相当的真实感,十分注重对人物细节的刻画,故而被归为现实主义画派。同时,他的作品主题虽然来源于现实,但却又高于现实,也因此被归入印象派画家。

Édouard Manet (1832–1883) was a realist painter and an impressionist painter. His works have a considerable sense of reality and pay great attention to depicting the details of the characters, so he is classified as a realist school. Simultaneously, although his works’ themes are derived from reality, they are higher than fact, so they are classified as impressionist painters.

Le Déjeuner sur I’herbe, Édouard Manet, 1863, Oil on canvas, 208cm x 264.5cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

《草地上的野餐》是马奈的成名之作。画面中一个裸体女子与两个身着正装的男子一同在草地上野餐,在他们前方堆放着女子的衣物和一些食物,在他们的身后还有一位在小溪边的女子。画面中的四个人物神态举止都十分自然,裸体女子似乎正与观众对视,两个男子正在进行交谈,溪边的女子似在戏水,自得其乐。但这样的画面并非写实绘画,更像是艺术家个人的自由声明 — — 绘画可以在技巧上创新,更可以在主题上进行突破。

“Le Déjeuner sur I’herbe” is one of Manet’s most famous works. In the picture, a naked woman and two men in formal attire are having a picnic on the grass. Women’s clothing and some food are stacked in front of them. Behind them, there is a woman by the stream. The four characters in the picture are all very natural, the naked woman seems to be looking at the audience, the two men are talking, and the woman by the stream appears to be playing in the water, enjoying herself. But this kind of picture is not a realistic painting. It is more like the artist’s personal statement of freedom — artwork can be innovative in technique and can also make breakthroughs in themes.

Olympia, Édouard Manet, 1863, Oil on canvas, 130.5cm x 190cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

《奥林匹亚》是一幅提香《乌尔比诺的维纳斯》的模仿画,但此画一经面世立刻引起轩然大波,画作所带来的争议甚至超过了《草地上的野餐》。原因在于马奈把女神维纳斯化成了一个妓女!画面中裸体女子头上的兰花,耳朵上的珍珠,脖颈上的黑色丝绒项链,手腕上的金色手环,她身下带有东方特色、象征财富的披肩和她脚上的金色拖鞋无一不是妓女的特点,她的姿态、画面中的黑猫(在当时象征着滥交)似乎也是一种性暗示,更重要的是1860年代的巴黎就有一名妓女叫做“奥林匹亚”。

“Olympia” is an imitation of Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”, but this painting caused skepticism as soon as it was published. The controversy caused by the picture even exceeded that of “Le Déjeuner sur I’herbe.” The reason is that Manet turned the goddess Venus into a prostitute. In the painting, the orchid on the naked woman’s head, the pearls on the ears, the black velvet necklace on the neck, the golden bracelet on the wrist, the shawl with oriental characteristics and wealth under her, and the golden slippers on her feet. The prostitute’s features, her posture, and the black cat in the picture (symbolizing promiscuity at the time) also seemed to be a sexual suggestion. More importantly, there was a prostitute named “Olympia” in Paris in the 1860s.

除此之外,奥林匹亚身边的黑人女仆也是这幅画的一大争议点。这幅画创作于法国奴隶制废除15年之后,但画面中黑与白的对比,奥林匹亚的傲慢和仆人的低微似乎是对黑人负面刻板印象的又一次暗讽。

In addition, the black maid around Olympia is also a major controversy in this painting. This painting was created 15 years after the abolition of slavery in France, but the contrast of black and white, Olympia’s arrogance, and servant’s lowliness seems to be another insinuation to the negative stereotype of blacks.

Un bar aux Folies Bergere, Édouard Manet, 1882, Oil on canvas, 96cm x 130cm, Courtauld Gallery, London

《女神游乐厅的吧台》描绘的是巴黎夜总会女神游乐厅内的场景。一名女招待独自站在吧台处,眼神空洞,表情疲惫,她身后的镜子中反射出的是酒吧的拥挤和喧嚣,镜子的左上角还可以看到正在为客人进行表演的杂技演员。女招待虽然身处拥挤的人群中,但却是完全孤立的,她的孤独和别人的热闹形成了极其强烈的对比,也成为了这幅画的主题和一个亮点。

“Un bar aux Folies Bergere” depicts the scene in the Goddess Hall of a Paris nightclub. A waitress stood alone at the bar, with empty eyes and a tired expression. The mirror behind her reflected the crowd and the hustle and bustle of the bar. In the upper left corner of the mirror, you can also see acrobats performing for guests. Although the hostess is in a packed crowd, she is completely isolated. Her loneliness and others’ excitement have formed an extreme contrast, becoming the theme and a highlight of this painting.

马奈一生接受了很多两极化的评论,也一直在坚持绘画,为法国和世界留下了很多珍贵的作品。

Manet has received many polarized comments throughout his life and yet has always insisted on painting, leaving many precious works for France and the world.

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