Comparing Manet & Cezanne's Development

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  • 0:00 Developing Art in the…
  • 0:41 Edouard Manet
  • 2:52 Paul Cezanne
  • 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

In this lesson, you will explore the artistic development of two masters of the late 19th century and discover how and why they were able to transition between styles. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Developing Art in the 19th Century

As we grow older, we grow up. We become wiser, more experienced, more mature. Or sometimes, just older. Either way, you can't expect someone to be the exact same person throughout their entire life. So, it makes sense that you can't expect them to only paint in one artistic style. People change! So, yeah, their art can change too, and this can change art.

The 19th century was a time when art was changing at an incredible rate, and not just the styles of art but the very meaning of art. It wasn't just the artists who were changing or just the art; it was all of society.

Edouard Manet

One of the masters of the 19th century who did not feel obligated to only paint in a single style was Edouard Manet. Manet's works challenged the people of 19th-century France to question the meaning of art, and he bounced between various styles. Most commonly, Manet is associated with realism, the artistic movement devoted to capturing scenes of daily life in realistic detail. Manet did, but with a twist.

Le D~

This is his Le D'ejeuner sur l'Herbe, painted in 1863. This is an actual park in Paris, but the scene is not typical. The nude woman and her companion gaze back at the viewer, while their friend continues chatting and another woman plays in the stream. This unusual scene was Manet's critique of art, and it subtly references several masterpieces of the past, creating an intricate synthesis of the history of art. Stylistically, the sharp lines create a flatness to the composition, forcing the viewer to look at 3-D subjects but realize that it is all contained on a 2-dimensional surface.

Now, Manet was interested not just in a single style of art but in the very meaning of art, and this means that his style could often change. This is his Bar at the Folies-Bergere, painted 20 years later in 1882. This one is considered to be more in line with impressionism, another style that focused on daily life but through the impression of a moment passing through time.

Bar at the Folies-Bergere

Manet's earlier paintings had sharply defined lines, but this painting uses the rough brushstrokes and blurred lines of the impressionists. And within that, Manet snuck in more subtle details to force you to continually acknowledge that this is really just a painted scene on a flat canvas. Look behind the barmaid. At first, it looks like a mirror, but then look to her right. Is that a reflection of the barmaid? If so, where is the gentleman who is talking to her? Manet designed these visual inconsistencies as a way to draw attention to the inherently fictional nature of any painted scene, even one of a real subject. No matter what style he painted in, Manet constantly challenged the meaning of art.

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne started where Manet left off, in impressionism. Cezanne first worked, trained and exhibited with the impressionists and produced works like this, his 1876 Jas de Bouffan. Cezanne was fascinated with the use of color, line and basic geometric shapes to create the sense of 3-dimensional depth.

Jas de Bouffan

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