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

Essay by VerresCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2004

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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...