Édouard Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe.

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe

Édouard Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe.
Édouard Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe.


Édouard Manet, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, 1862 Things to think about when studying:

  • Why was this painting so offensive to the public?
  • What historical works does Manet draw inspiration from?
  • How does the lighting of the scene show influence from the beginnings of photography?

Cave to Canvas has done an AP Art History study guide the past couple years. I always keep an eye out for photography stuff because I’m curious how it fits in the canon* and how much it’s kept distinct from everything else. So imagine my happiness when I saw the last question for  Le déjeuner sur l’herbe.

*My reaction to last year’s study guide in many ways created my mission statement for Hairy Beast.

In this case, we’re looking at studio lighting with its unrealistic look and lack of shadow. That this piece was so scandalous at the time* in part because of the unrealistic photographic lighting lays out a lot of the battles photography has had to fight to be accepted as art—and a lot of the battles within photography itself.

*In many ways this is the first modern artwork in that it’s about the artist’s vision to do whatever the fuck he wants. As much as I’m a Duchamp fanboy, yeah, Manet was freaking people out a half century before Duchamp came on the scene.