Olympia (Manet)

Olympia (Manet)

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Olympia (Manet)

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Olympia is an oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet. Painted in 1863, it measures 130.5 by 190 centimetres (51 x 74.8 in). The nation of France acquired the painting in 1890 with a public subscription organized by Claude Monet. It is now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

Critical reaction

Though Manet's The Luncheon on the Grass sparked controversy in 1863, his Olympia stirred an even bigger uproar when it was first exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon. Conservatives condemned the work as "immoral" and "vulgar." Journalist Antonin Proust later recalled, "If the canvas of the Olympia was not destroyed, it is only because of the precautions that were taken by the administration." However, the work had proponents as well. Émile Zola quickly proclaimed it Manet's "masterpiece" and added, "When other artists correct nature by painting Venus they lie. Manet asked himself why he should lie. Why not tell the truth?"


The painting was inspired by Titian's Venus of Urbino, which in turn refers to Giorgione's Sleeping Venus.. There were also pictorial precedents for a nude woman, attended by a black servant, such as Ingres' Odalisque with a Slave (1842), Léon Benouville's Esther with Odalisque (1844) and Charles Jalabert's Odalisque (1842). Comparison is also made to Ingres' La grande Odalisque (1814). Unlike other artists, Manet did not depict a goddess or an odalisque but......
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