The Viewer Viewed: A Study Into The Psychology Of

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The Viewer Viewed: A Study into the Psychology of the Gaze in Manet’s Olympia and Other Works S Walters Methodology Impressionism can be classified in two ways. The first is the artists who exhibited in the Impressionist Exhibitions between 1874 and 1886 and the second is the loose collection of artists who shared certain ideological beliefs about the representation of the modern world. For the perposes of this essay, the term refers to the wider use.

A literal approach was taken to the question; ‘Discuss the nature of the gaze in the work of artists you have studied’. The main focus of this essay will be a study into the psychology, sociology and anthropology of the gaze of the representation of Olympia. Despite the fact that Greenberg singles out Dejeuner sur l’Herbe as the first Modern painting, Olympia has been selected as the central theme. This is due to the huge body of work that exists on Olympia and that it fulfils the requirements of my argument.

Because of the nature of the topic and the vast array of approaches that could be taken with regard to Manet, it was impractical to attempt to include other artists of the period. Degas and Caillebotte, are both essential to the discussion of the gaze in relation to nineteenth century French painting however, with a limit of 2500 words it was felt necessary to explore the four works by Manet in detail. Theories such as feminism could have been applied to the four paintings, however, given the central theme was to question the nature of the gaze in relation to sociological and anthropological theories, it was not possible within the space.

There is no such thing as an impartial historian and there is no attempt to be one here. A partisan approach was taken and is...