Part I: Manet’s Malaise
Artists copy! Artists steal!
Artists sample! Artists conceal!
Artists absorb what’s around them and transform it into something original and exciting.
Go steal something! You’re an artist too!
Everything is a reference all the time. These two shows created by Matt Groening are both highly original yet very referential. By it’s very nature, satire reuses existing material for the sake of humor. Both of these shows have since been copied by a number of artists and creators.
The Beastie Boys, famous for their sampling, used Led Zeppelin’s The Ocean for their song “She’s Crafty.” Led Zeppelin did the same thing 20 years earlier with their copies, covers, and remixes of blues legends like Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon.
Edoaurd Manet: the Modern Art OG
Edouard Manet, Auguste Rodin, Paul Cezzane, and Gustave Courbet
These four men, along with others, began to turn the tide of art in the 19th century.
You can thank these guys for modern art and those paintings that are completely white.
Painted in 1863, exhibited at the 1865 Salon, number one most popular fridge magnet in 1885
Why is this painting important? What was Manet thinking of when he made it? What was the people’s response when they saw it? Why did it receive it’s own podcast segment?
Glad you asked! This painting, though certainly not the first painting of a nude woman (Manet just copied Titian’s nudes, see below), depicted a nude woman in a way that had not been seen before. Instead of painting a nude woman representing a goddess or biblical or historical figure, Manet painted what appeared to be, simply, a nude woman. Not only was she not a goddess, but she was a prostitute (the bracelet, choker, flowers, and black cat were symbols related to prostitutes). Manet also painted the woman gazed out directly at the viewer, a shocking twist from the usual coy gaze of a female nude.
What do you notice about these three paintings below? Any similarities?
MAnet’s olympia (left) was based off of Titian’s Venus of Urbino (middle), which was based off of Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus
Artist theft has been happening since the first caveman painted a horse in a cave. The way artists learn is by looking at and imitating other artists, so it’s no surprise that some of the most famous paintings in the world were based off of other paintings. However, Manet stealing the pose and setting from Titian (who learned it by finishing Giorgione’s nude after he died) doesn’t mean that Manet was unoriginal or an impostor. His remix of Titan’s painting, and of other classical works, allowed viewers to connect to something they were familiar with yet opens them up to something new. Or, the viewers reject the work and decry it as obscene and pornographic, which is what usually happens with great art (see below).