Oct 21, 2009 10:42 AM
With the weather turning on us, we can't exactly enjoy a leisurely picnic in the park these days, but we sure can reference one in our home with the 100% cotton Luncheon On The Grass Tablecloth ($227) by Atypyk. By introducing our plates into the world of a painting we make a visual pun of our meal and remember a cornerstone or art history.
Here's the story... French 19th century painter Edouard Manet was a key player in the leap from Realism to Impressionism, and his most famous painting, Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) c. 1862 was his most controversial. Now held in the Musee de Orsay, Manet's piece is the direct basis of our tablecloth in question, and it's the first to show a nude woman (a combination of Manet's wife, Suzanne Leenhoff, and his favorite model, Victorine Meurent) so unabashedly in the company of clothed men. The direct gaze of the woman makes strong contact with the viewer, and audiences interpreted the character of this look as a sign that this cordial meal was actually an incident of prostitution, a subject considered taboo in painting. Manet's exposed brushwork was more offensive to art purists than his exposed women since he was sullying his Italian Renaissance points of inspiration (namely, Titian's The Pastoral Concert c. 1510 and Giorgione's The Tempest c. 1506-08). Nevertheless, without Manet, the history of art as we know it wouldn't exist.
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