Life à la Manet – Visiting Royal Academy of Arts


Royal Academy of Arts must be my favourite art gallery in London if I had to choose one. Over the years, I’ve seen wonderful exhibitions for example from Edgar Degas, to marvel at his amazing skill in capturing movement, Vincent Van Gogh, to become more familiar with his life story, which provided inspiration for his otherwordly, even tragic paintings, and Amedeo Modigliani, to admire at his legendary skills with portraits.

This year, Royal Academy of Arts brought to London Edouard Manet. The exhibition depicts a series of Manet’s works from mid to late 19th century France where rich bourgeois enjoys life with strolls through parks, picnics, opulent luncheons and dressing in line with the latest fashion. I found a few of the paintings spectacular. For instance, ‘The Railway’ and ‘Music in the Tuileries Gardens’ were very interesting in the way Manet had chosen to create different levels of focus in his paintings by having more clarity and finishing in the areas where he might have wanted the spectator’s eyes to draw on. A technique, similarly used in today’s photographs.

Overall, the exhibition had parallels with photography. Some of Manet’s portraits were so realistic that they could have been taken with a camera and in some ways, it felt like going through Manet’s family photo album when walking through the exhibition rooms. Manet’s paintings were of his family, friends, other artists and crème of the French society. In a way that I am able to go through today a friend’s blog or a Facebook page, I was able to see through Manet’s pictures a glimbse of what his life was like and how he wanted himself to be seen. Shame I don’t think we are today, unlike Manet, creating anything which will preserve for the year’s to come as an inspiration for future audiences.

Royal Academy of Arts is displaying Manet until the 14th of April 2013. I thoroughly recommend visiting.


Royal Academy of Arts
Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD
Metro: Green Park


(c) Nordic Odyssey, 2013. All rights reserved.


4 thoughts on “Life à la Manet – Visiting Royal Academy of Arts

  1. I don’t know how I missed this post! I luuurve the Royal Academy – I think it’s my fave gallery in London too. The soaring architecture and that courtyard in the middle are just beautiful. Also a big fan of Manet, I’m annoyed I missed this when I was home!

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