Manet * Velázquez
La Manière Espagnole au XIXème siècle
On show in the Paris Orsay Museum from 17th September 2002 to 5th January 2003, this exhibition was dedicated to Manet and the masters of the Spanish school, especially Velázquez and Goya, who influenced his work.
The aim of the exhibition was to take you to Manet's artistic sources the Spanish masters Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán and Goya by showing the tremendous influence they had, not only on Manet but also on his contemporaries (amongst them Delacroix, Millet, Courbet, Corot and even Degas).
Moreover, this wonderful voyage into the past (1600-1900) also takes us into the heart of some of the most important museums in the world: the Prado of Madrid; Hermitage of St. Petersburg; Orsay and Louvre Museums of Paris; Fine Art Museums of Lyon, Lille, Chartres, Dijon, Edinburgh, Copenhagen and Boston; the Metropolitan of New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the National Gallery of Washington.
What would Manet say, were he to come back today and stand in line for hours to see his own 'refused' paintings presented side by side with his most venerated Spanish masters, including Velázquez whom he thought 'the greatest painter the world ever produced'? He would probably feel both honored and 'exposed' by such a pointed comparison, for an artist's greatest desire is usually to be at the very origin of each of his creations. Yet every artist gets his sources of inspiration from somewhere in his surrounding culture and this more than any school helps to develop his taste and his resulting choices.
In fact, nothing is more honorable than the modesty with which artists such as Manet studied and even copied the old masters. But rather than an end in itself, his research was to converge in a synthesis of the Spanish and the Japanese masters later on and produce some of the most original paintings of the epoch, such as the ‘Fife Player' or the portrait of 'Berthe Morisot with a bouquet of violets'.
Read further on the Manet exhibition, his work and biography