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Edouard Manet • Painting, 1863, 130.5×190 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Portrait, Nude
Style of art: Realism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1863
Size: 130.5×190 cm
Artwork in selections: 207 selections

Description of the artwork «Olympia»

It was called the female gorilla, and her hand lying on the thigh, dubbed a disgusting toad. Gustave Courbet compare the figure of Olympia with the Queen of spades from a deck of cards in the morgue, and criticism genuinely is not advised for pregnant women and young girls to see this picture. If several strong guards are not put in front of the painting, an angry public, it would be definitely destroyed. A few days away from sin hung this filth higher, so no one got, and it was difficult to discern. It so happened one of the most violent scandals marked the beginning of modern art.

Mane in horror, he suppressed and destroyed. No wonder he was worried, no wonder he was afraid of his Olympia and hid it in the far corner of the shop, for fear of the show and without that offended critics of his new film. As always, he didn't mean to shock and make revolutions in the history of painting of the 19th century there is hardly an artist, as a failure who sought to obtain official recognition. And this time, he again failed.

The sharp word "indecency" and clinging to Edouard Manet since the Salon two years ago when he introduced "Breakfast on the grass" now become his constant companion. And yet what so shocked and insulted looks respectable French? No nudity, of course. It is enough in the world of painting.

Edouard Manet wonders: "I only wrote what I saw". But the audience refused to see what I saw man: confident, outgoing, attractive and sensual goddess courtesan, whose nakedness the artist didn't even bother to cover up the mythological story. He call the picture "Venus", the degree of perturbation may be diminished.

But all this bullshit with the choice of names and subjects Manet was not taken seriously – much more interested in the scenic possibilities of the conceived picture. The name "Olympia" comes from someone from friends. Well, Olympia, Olympia.

But this name caused certain "obscene" Association. Such exotic and vespinae the names of loved to choose a expensive prostitutes. Besides, Olympia was named one of the most famous courtesans in history – the mistress of Pope innocent X, which is actually 10 years was ruled by the Catholic Church. And finally, it took less than 20 years since then, as in France, was published the novel of Alexander Dumas the younger. One of the heroines of the courtesans it was also named Olympia.

No doubt the occupation of the heroine remains. Even if you do not go into the interpretation of the symbols like mules on the feet of Olympia or orchids in her hair. Even if you forget that dog, the symbol of marital happiness and fidelity, lying at the feet of the prototype Olympia, Venus Of Urbino By Titian, Manet replaced wayward cat. This hissing kitten mane got not less than a bold, defiant air of Olympia, too independent and outspoken.

When, after the death of Manet, the artists under the leadership of Claude Monet collected 20 thousand francs, did not allow emigration Olympia overseas, bought it and donated it to the Louvre Museum, officials from the art took such a gift without enthusiasm. "Olympia" was again put away for another 17 years – now in the vaults of the Luxembourg Museum. It was written 50 years before its time.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova