Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe

Edouard Manet was an artist who bridged the gap between Realism and Impressionism. During his time Manet considered himself to be a Realist artist and he classed his work as sincere. However, his radical painting style and modern subject matter highly influenced the work of the Impressionists, which has led to him being perceived as the father of Impressionism.


Édouard Manet, Olympia, oil on canvas, 1863 (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)


Video, Manet Olympia, Khan Academy

Please review the short video on Manet’s Olympia. and then write a brief response to the piece in your sketchbook.

It had Paris in an uproar in the year 1865. To this day it remains to be a very loaded image, what does it illicit in you today?

We will employ the basic structure of Manet’s painting Olympia to set up for a figural tableau in which to work from.

Begin to prepare by creating a series of studies.

From imagination, create a series of at least three to four compositional sketches that reflect various vantage points or points of view.  Examples: Back view, Side angle, Lower P. O. V. , Cropped views etc.

From reference, create a study of an animal (photo, taxidermied or other) of your choice that can be a stand-in for the cat. The choice of what animal is completely up to you. Choose an animal based on its symbolism and what you are intending to say about the two related figures.

Symbolic meaning of animals varies from cultural to cultural. Also an animal may/ should have personal significance to you. Cull your memory for something significant to you and be prepared to discuss why you chose the animal you have.


Click Here for artist TM Davy’s painted interpretations of Olympia.

Also, take a look at Maria Berrio’s work and click here to read more about her and the symbolic implications of her work.