Women and the art of the Impressionists,
Manet in Love (click here for TRAILER)
Also V.R. Main The Naked Truth,
Note : Art historian TJ Clark attempted a thorough-going survey of all the critical responses to the painting’s 1863 appearance. His chapter “
Olympia’s Choice” sets
out to map the terms of the critics’ discomfort citing the apparent
identification of Olympia
as a prostitute as a starting point. Clark
points out that images of prostitutes were not unknown nor were they
necessarily subject to public outrage. His reading of original French sources
suggests that prostitution was identified with anxieties of invasion by the
lower orders coinciding with the modernisation of Paris. Clark
argued that Manet’s painting failed to conform to the conventions of disguise
whereby the phenomenon was hinted at and the viewer made to feel safe.
Resistance to Clark’s identification of the
naked model with her class, rather than her gender, inspired a number of
feminist writers to explore this area highlighting the depiction of gender in
the work of Manet and his contemporaries.
A Bar at the Folies-Bergère 1882 Manet, Edouard
Oil on canvas height: 96 cm (canvas); width 130 cm (canvas) ; height 134.1 cm (frame); width: 170.6 cm (frame); depth: 17cm (frame) Inscription Signed on the wine bottle label at bottom left, Manet / 1882
Philip Pullman on A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Click here.
When his bathing nudes were shown at the Impressionist Exhibition of 1886 Mirabeau claimed: “There is a ferocity here which speaks loudly of disdain for women and horror of love…” The critic Hermel came to Degas’s defence: “The only way of being moral in art is by painting well. What really is immoral and despicable is duping people with intentions that are cunningly sentimental and discreetly pornographic.” (La France Libre May 1886.)
Clark TJ (1984 revised 1999) The Painting of Modern Life.
in the Art of Manet and his Followers, Thames and Hudson,
Chaps two and Four. London
Pollock G (1988, 2003) Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and Histories of Art (Routledge Classics) Esp. Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity.
Thomson B (2000) Impressionism Origins, Practices, Reception, Thames and
Hudson World of Art, .
Esp pages 178-188. London
Armstrong C (2002) Manet Manette,
Yale University Press, New Haven