Edouard Manet is 19th century French painter whose work touched a lot on realism, impressionism, and modern art. Many of Manet’s paintings were inspired by his surrounding or his in depth study of historic painters who preceded him.
The Burial is one of Manet’s works on realism. He puts the subject in a minimalistic context engulfed by a vast landscape that takes most of the painting itself. Though Manet’s original idea was to draw focus on the burial procession at the bottom right of the page, the normal eye is more likely to be drawn to the landscape itself.
Manet takes an impressionist approach to highlight his subject from the background. He does this in opposite, choosing to highlight the subject in dark colors while the surrounding landscape is brightened. Normally the human eye would be drawn to the brightest part of an image, therefore, the viewer would notice the landscapes first before the procession of humans.
It is then safe to say that Edouard Manet uses an impressionist style to approach his subject from an unusual angle. The Burial can be compared to a similar mid-18th century work by the renown artist Gustav Courbet. Courbet’s painting, dubbed A Burial at Ornans, made the subject, a bereaved group attending the funeral of a loved one, quite obvious by making them the center of the entire painting.
Given Courbet was one of Manet’s valued artists, it can be argued that this is where Manet borrowed his inspiration. However, Edouard Manet chose to approach the subject of bereavement from a subtle point. Hence, The Burial becomes another masterpiece that moves away from the Romanticism era and usher in the Impressionist-Realist era.
Many of Edouard Manet’s paintings were not received well by the public. The prolific French painter had the knack of introducing controversial subjects like nude women or religious figures like Christ in his works. His methods of portraying the subject were unorthodox, and the art community considered such works of Manet as immoral or outright blasphemous.
Edouard Manet was never disturbed by what people felt about his work. He painted what he felt and not what the general public viewed as appropriate.
Other works by Edouard Manet
Edouard Manet achieved over 200 paintings in his lifetime. He is famously known for paintings like The Dead Toreador, The Spanish Singer, The Fifer, Self-portrait in Palette, and Luncheon on the Grass.
A lot of his paintings are on display in various places all over the world. Examples are Musee d’Orsay in Paris, Rijk Museum in Amsterdam, Alte National Galerie in Berlin, and Detroit Institute of Art in America.