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Discuss The Aims And The Work Of Manet Make Particular Reference To His Influences And Contemporary Life, Which Would Have Affected His Work. Make Reference To Specific Works

1622 words - 6 pages

At the time Manet began working, the generally accepted art was the official art of the Salon. His work can generally be described as part of the impressionist movement, which emerged from the works of Realist painters like Courbet and Millet. Paris itself was going through several great changes at the time - the arrival of Japanese prints and woodcuts introduced a new use of perspective and space, and impressed artists with its beauty and economy of line. Also, the Emperor's marriage to a Spaniard in 1853 had given a new leash of life to 'Hispagnolisme' - a fashion for all things Spanish which had started with the Romantic poets Gautier, Merimee and Hugo, and was a popular craze by the end of the 1830's. Manet was a very cultured man, a friend of the great poets of the time, Baudelaire and Mallarme, and had a profound knowledge of literature and music; so was greatly influenced by these developments.Manet aspired to be an officially recognised master like Ingres, and conformed to the pattern of the past by submitting his work to official exhibitions, describing the Salon as being 'the real field of battle'. He was also one of the last great artists to work in terms of individual set pieces rather than serially (like Degas and Monet). However, he loathed academicism because it falsified images of real life, and though the tradition of old masters had ceased to be valid; in this way, he was indebted to Realism. The influence the Realists had on Manet is shown in his sincere and straightforward interpretation of life (he advertised his alternative exhibition by inviting the public to 'come and see sincere work') - although this was by no means the soul thing affecting his painting.Early on in his career, he was influenced by Couture, under whom he studied for 6 years. He was often at odds with his teacher due to his loose techniques of painting, yet it was here he mastered colour and light - and in 1859 he produced his first truly realist painting, "Le Buveur d'Absinthe". This was Daumier-like in style, with bold simplifications; the subject matter is described as 'Baudelairean' - that is, reflecting the subjects of Baudelaire's poems Couture rejected this painting (as did the Salon jury) which led to Manet losing his admiration for him and ridding his style of all traces of his influence. It was around this time that he turned to the Spanish masters, Goya and Velazquez for help in the formation of a new style - he already had first hand experience of Spanish art from his European travels in 1853 and 1856 when he visited Vienna and saw the Hapsburg collection of Velazquez paintings.A series of Goya's engravings were published in1859 which greatly impressed Baudelaire and his friends like Manet, and led to the appearance of Spanish mannerisms in Manets art; for example "Le Guitarero" in 1860. This was well received by critics and awarded a medal by the jury. It has a very naturalistic approach and was described as being halfway between realism and...

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