See how Le Dejeuner sur L’Herbe, Manet's first great masterpiece, which has always puzzled and fascinated its viewers makes sense after all.
This early painting by Manet has always troubled interpreters because it seems to make no apparent sense. Its explanation here, though, will help you understand paintings by Manet, Velazquez and other artists too.
Learn something about Manet's first major painting that has never been noted, except by artists.
See how both Manet and Chardin veil their meaning in the same way
One of the many ways artists "paint themselves" is by painting others as earlier great masters.
Learn how Manet's crooked arms, repetitively appearing in his art, each come with meaning
See how Manet identifies with a female artist of his own acquaintance, probably without her even knowing
Everyone knows that Boating is a masterpiece. Why is it so difficult to explain?
Léon Leenhof, Manet's young son, is posed in this print as though he is selecting paint from his tray (palette) and is about to apply it to the sheet of paper we are looking at.
This curious painting by Manet makes little sense until the viewer uses the idea that every painter paints himself
Artists do not have to use their own features in a portrait of someone else. There are other ways of identifying with the sitter as Manet demonstrates in this portrait.
Find out how Manet's observations of scenes in Parisian cafés are really something else entirely
Familiarize yourself with an artist's early copies after other masters. They will be a key to later work.
Art scholars have sometimes wondered why the execution squad in Manet's Execution of Emperor Maximillian are so unrealistically close to their target. Indeed, on close inspection, their rifles are aimed as though they would miss.
A wonderful example of how blind anyone can be using the wrong form of visual perception
See how Manet's son uses a cigarette to paint the image in the wimdow
Find out how the viewer in this garden scene is really inside Manet's mind
Leran how the initials of an artist's name can appear anywhere. Not all is what it seems.
Don't forget to imagine what can't be seen: the artist's viewpoint
This etching of an Odalisque by Manet could easily be interpreted as just a variation on a popular theme, an oriental woman reclining. Look carefully, though, and she becomes a painter.
How remembering an artist's pose helps identify an alter ego
See how Manet's identification with Courbet is recognized by a later artist who then used it in his portrait of yet another artist.
Learn how one artist shows their identification with another
Skating on ice is like drawing lines on the mirrored surface of the artist's mind
Keep an eye out for smoke. It's a common symbol for the imagination and the creation of art.
How an unfinished painting is finished and how a horse becomes an easel
Once you know what to look for, Manet's tricks are obvious
See how smoke and mirrors turn the outside of Manet's studio into the inside
A good example of how the "errors" in a painting are really the key to its meaning
This magical composition hides a complex thought of seeming effortless construction: a masterpiece of the first order
There is more to the Tragic Actor than meets the eye. Find out what's there that others cannot see.
Discover how Manet's backgrounds are often "paintings"
An early example of how Manet turns a modern woman, and his future wife, into an artist
EPPH Blog Posts on Manet
Some of Édouard Manet’s important paintings are so strange that one can only wonder why anyone ever thought they depicted the real world. Yet contemporaries thought so and most people still do today.
Find out how in this second chapter in the series the meaning in Manet's mysterious images becomes logical
© Simon Abrahams. Articles on this site are the copyright of Simon Abrahams. To use copyrighted material in print or other media for purposes beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Websites may link to this page without permission (please do) but may not reproduce the material on their own site without crediting Simon Abrahams and EPPH.