Édouard Manet

Édouard Manet, 1832 to 1883, born in France, was one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, and a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His early masterworks The Luncheon on the Grass  and Olympia, both 1863, caused great controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. Today, these are considered watershed paintings that mark the genesis of modern art. His father was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law while his uncle, encouraged him to pursue painting and took young Manet to the Louvre. At his father's suggestion, in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to Rio de Janeiro. After he twice failed the examination to join the Navy, his father relented to his wishes to pursue an art education. From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter Thomas Couture. In his spare time, Manet copied the old masters in the Louvre. From 1853 to 1856, Manet visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, during which time he was influenced by the Dutch painter Frans Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya.
In 1856, Manet opened a studio. His style in this period was characterized by loose brush strokes, simplification of details and the suppression of transitional tones. Adopting the current style of realism initiated by Gustave Courbet, he painted The Absinthe Drinker in  1858 to1859 and other contemporary subjects such as beggars, singers, Gypsies, people in cafés, and bullfights. After his early career, he rarely painted religious, mythological, or historical subjects; examples include his Christ Mocked, now in the Art Institute of Chicago, and Christ with Angels, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Manet had two canvases accepted at the Salon in 1861. A portrait of his mother and father, who at the time was paralysed and robbed of speech by a stroke, was ill received by critics. The other, The Spanish Singer, was admired by Theophile Gautier, and placed in a more conspicuous location as a result of its popularity with Salon-goers. Manet's work, which appeared "slightly slapdash" when compared with the meticulous style of so many other Salon paintings, intrigued some young artists. The Spanish Singer, painted in a "strange new fashion caused many painters' eyes to open and their jaws to drop."
In his forties Manet contracted syphilis, for which he received no treatment. He also suffered from rheumatism.In the years before his death, he developed locomotor ataxia, a known side-effect of syphilis, which caused him considerable pain. In April 1883, his left foot was amputated because of gangrene, and he died eleven days later in Paris. He is buried in the Passy Cemetery in the city but has left us all the beautiful legacy of his works
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