Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe

Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

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Édouard Manet, 1863

genre painting

The Luncheon in the Grass, with its depiction of a nude female with fully clothed men was a controversial piece when it was displayed at the Salon de Refuses in 1863. It was considered an affront to the times, not only because of the stark nudity of the woman in contrast to the men but also because Manet used familiar models for the figures in the painting. The nude woman is a combination of both his wife, Suzanne Leenhoff, and one of his other female models, Victorine Meurent. The men, on the other hand, are his brother, Eugene Manet, and his brother in law, Ferdinand Leenhoff. It was also considered controversial because it illustrated the rampant prostitution in Paris at the time, which was a taboo subject just to mention, much less display in an oversized canvas.

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