Private Life of a Masterpiece Episode 3: Édouard Manet - The Luncheon on the Grass

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Private Life of a Masterpiece Episode 3: Édouard Manet - Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass)
BBC Documentary

The Paris Salon rejected it for exhibition in 1863 but Manet exhibited it at the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) later in the year. Emperor Napoleon III had initiated The Salon des Refusés after the Paris Salon rejected more than 4,000 paintings in 1863. Manet employed model Victorine Meurent, his wife Suzanne, future brother-in-law Ferdinand Leenhoff, and one of his brothers to pose. Meurent also posed for several more of Manet's important paintings including Olympia; and by the mid-1870s she became an accomplished painter in her own right.

The painting's juxtaposition of fully dressed men and a nude woman was controversial, as was its abbreviated, sketch-like handling, an innovation that distinguished Manet from Courbet. At the same time, Manet's composition reveals his study of the old masters, as the disposition of the main figures is derived from Marcantonio Raimondi's engraving of the Judgement of Paris (c. 1515) based on a drawing by
"Luncheon on the Grass" (French "Le déjeuner sur l'herbe"), originally titled Le Bain (The Bath) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)