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Portrait of Edward Manet

Graphics, 1865, 19.5×13 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of Edward Manet»

Edgar Degas made several drawings and etchings, which depicted Edouard Manet. Mane in a relaxed,relaxed posture orexcited and gambling - watches the races on the hippodrome. Tired mane with a hat in his hands - he ran for a while in the workshop of Degas. In 1869, Manet for the last time appears in the painting by Degas - on double portraitwhich will later be the cause of a great quarrel between the two artists. Degas writes to Mane and his wife Susanna. Mane gets a portrait - and in the hearts cuts a piece from him, dissatisfied with the result. Degas is offended and returns to Manet his still life, a friendly gift. Manet takes offense - andwrites suzanne as it should be. Biographers and critics have many versions of Man’s true motives: from envy to the skills of the younger colleague to the merciless honesty with which not the happiest couple are written.

This quarrel was not to be avoided - Degas is dangerously perceptive. Already now (on this etching and in several drawings), Mane portrays mercilessly truthfully, ignores the dendist brilliance and secular charm of his model, gets to disturbing thoughts, wounded pride, disappointment and fatigue. The 1860s are the most difficult for Man. This is the time when he was truly afraid to enter the halls of the Salon and hear the reaction of the audience to his paintings. An artist with horror opens a new magazine or newspaper and looks for reviews of his works: "Ugly canvases, like purposely made to tease the crowd", "monstrous vulgarity", "childish ignorance of the basics of drawing". He could not boast a steady faith in his art and iron immunity to criticism (unlike Degas or Monetwho saw in the criterion a sign of a true found path). Mane crushed, he is looking for support from friends and at a loss to ask for those whom he trusts.

All images made by Degas refer to this very difficult time in Man’s life. The artists met in 1861: an unknown Degas made a copy of "Infanta Margarita"Velazquez in the Louvre, and Manet, who had only recently become famous in the Salon and caused a storm of delight from young artists, approached and gave some advice. They became really close. In the group of artists who planned a revolution in painting and hoarsely arguing about contemporary art in the Gherbouhe cafe, these two were much in common and distinguished from all the others. Mane is only two years older than Degas. They were one circle: one - the son of a banker, the second - the son of an official of the Ministry of Justice. They did not know the lack of money and could paint, not worrying about whether they could pay for the house and scrape up the money for dinner. Unlike other impressionists, people from families of artisans and small shopkeepers, their survival did not depend on whether they could sell the paintings after the exhibition at the Salon. But, having refused to continue family traditions, both tried their best to prove to their parents that they would succeed in art. After they met Mane and Degas, their families also became close - they organized friendly evenings with guest musicians in one house or another. Perhaps this is where the similarities end.

And the story begins of a long friendship and mutual admiration, the story of major quarrels and inevitable reconciliations. Between two completely different people from the same social circle. Charming, beloved by all, witty and elegant, Manet, with all his heart who wanted fame and recognition. A caustic, restrained reclusive, ascetic and workaholic Degas, who was not worried about honors and who considered fame as vulgarity. The favorite of women bon vivant, windy and charming Man. And convinced bachelor, plagued models tedious posing, Degas.

Degas practically did not write other artists. In his portraits are family members, close friends (who were more often musicians, lawyers, engineers, opera lovers). He painted and painted several times just two artists from his entourage - Édouard Manet and Mary Cassat. Cassat, he considered the only artist on earth, who sees the same as he himself. Mane considered the undisputed genius, the scale of which no one could assess in his lifetime.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

Art form: Graphics

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Impressionism

Technique: Etching

Materials: Paper

Date of creation: 1865

Size: 19.5×13 cm

Artwork in selections: 4 selections

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