Édouard Manet is known as one of the most controversial artists in his time. Highly criticised for his realism and depicting modern life scenes without any mythological or religious costume, his masterpieces like legendary Luncheon on the Grass or Olympia created a gateway to modern art.
Manet also created portraits. They are not scandalous images like his other works but rather snapshots seen through the gaze of the artist. Keep in mind that the art of photography was already born in Manet’s times. What new can be added to portraiture in this case? Some of Manet’s portraits, such as the famous one of Zola, follow the conventional format but others, such as the portrait of Mallarmé are like fantasy portraits and seem to draw inspiration from a blurred photographic print. Others are catching momentary impression. Just look at this gallery of Edouard Manet’s best portraits: