Monday, 28 January 2013

Manet: Portraying Life 26th January - 14th April 2013

Held at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, this exhibition is a must see. I went at 5 o'clock on the opening day and found the whole exhibition to be fantastic and it gives you a real good look into  Manet's life and what he liked doing. The exhibition focus's solely on Manet's portraits which are of his family, friends and models. The first room of the exhibition is dedicated to his mistress then later on wife, Suzanne Leenhoff and her illegitimate son, Leon. The portraits are of them doing everyday activities such as Mme Manet at the Piano (1868) and Boy Blowing Bubbles (1867). Everyday scenes are depicted as Manet wanted to depict avant-garde bourgeois society in a realist way. This is seen in his painting Music in the Tuileries Gardens (1862) which the curator of the exhibition has given this painting a whole room to itself. Is this to show how important and famous it is or the lack of paintings which the exhibition holds? It really heightens the importance of this painting and allows for a lot of people to gather around and look at it in awe. The third room is a very fascinating room as it shows a chronological time line of Manets life and work down one wall and shows a large map of Paris and dots to show Manet's life. The dots represent his apartments/studios/friends. The exhibition also highlights why Manet chose portraiture which was because of the new technology of cameras which the exhibition also has photographic portraits of the time. The exhibition shows many works some unfinished and one of Emile Zola, who helped Manet a lot to become more popular with society. The only disappointment to me in the exhibition was in the final room which is dedicated to one of Manet's most painted models, Victorine Meurent. There were amazing portraits in here of her but there was one missing which i have always wanted to see but it seem as though i will have to go to the Musee d'Orsay to see Olympia, (1863). Overall i really enjoyed the exhibition and felt that it was entertaining and also thoroughly educational as every painting had an extended caption next to it allowing for every visitor to learn something new. The Exhibition is running until the 14th April 2013 and is worth a visit!

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