Manet: Portraying Life

Manet: Portraying Life

26 Jan 13 – 14 Apr 13

Sitting for Manet: Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets, 1872

Hard though it is to believe, the French painter Edouard Manet’s portraiture has until now remained unexplored.

“Manet: Portraying Life”, organised by the Royal Academy and the Toledo Museum of Art, is the first exhibition devoted solely to the artist’s portraits.

MaryAnne Stevens, the curator of the exhibition and the director of academic affairs at the Royal Academy, says Manet’s originality as a portraitist comes from the independence his success brought him: “The absence of the need to earn his keep through portrait painting gave him far greater freedom in terms of the setting of the pose and choice of costume.

It also gave him freedom in terms of treatment. He could choose to paint it tightly or loosely, with more of a reference to Velázquez, or

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