Manet Portraying Life

Manet
[Image Source]

Édouard Manet Mme Manet in the Conservatory, 1879 Oil on canvas 81 x 100 cm The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo Photo Børre Høstland

Édouard Manet Mme Manet in the Conservatory, 1879 Oil on canvas 81 x 100 cm The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo Photo Børre Høstland

I find portraits the most interesting of all forms of art, whether it is a light as a feather sketch of a face, or a detailed oil painting – the defiant nature of another human gazing challengingly out from a canvas at you – or in all their vulnerability laid bare to be gazed at… is sublime.

Manet

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting ‘Manet Portraying Life’ at the Royal Academy which is the first ever retrospective devoted to the portraiture of the 19th Century French Painter Eduard Manet.

Luminous and bold the exhibition is arranged thematically exploring Manet’s landscape of nineteenth century Parisian society – from portraits of his family to his artist friends and literary and theatrical acquaintances, it is a glimpse into a lost and rich world.

If it’s possible I think it was the first time I had visited the Royal Academy, but maybe it felt unfamiliar because of the unusually large crowds – this exhibition has been branded as a Blockbuster by some critics. However, there was a sense of excitement in this museum that I’ve only ever felt in the grand galleries of Paris or Florence – each room was packed and buzzing, the benches in the centre of the rooms were filled with people chatting casually and loudly – and in one room the RA had created an installation of bistro tables and chairs for visitors to sit and pore over art books – it felt lively and relaxed and well… not very British!

Manet Portraying Life is on at The Royal Academy of Arts until the 14th of April 2013. Tickets are £15 and booking in advance is strongly recommended.

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The catalogue is available in softback and hardback, 150 illustrations, £21.95. You can buy it online here.

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Édouard Manet Boy Blowing Bubbles, 1867 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 81.4 cm Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London with the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio.

Manet

Manet: Portraying Life, 26 January 2013 to 14 April 2013, Key. 57 / Cat. 51, Édouard Manet, Street Singer, c.1862, Oil on canvas, 171.1 x 105.8 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Bequest of Sarah Choate Sears in memory of her husband, Joshua Montgomery Sears. Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London with the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio.


Author: Rohini Wahi

Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.

She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at mail@rohiniwahi.com

2 Comments on Manet Portraying Life

  1. Linda
    Friday, February 8th, 2013 13:01 at 1:01 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you for a great blog! I just love the way some paitings tells you so much about the past :o)

    Kind regards Linda

  2. Lousie
    Sunday, February 10th, 2013 14:12 at 2:12 pm (4 years ago)

    I am definitely going to see this! It looks wonderful.

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