When Manet’s Olympia was unveiled in 1863 it caused quite a stir. The model for Manet’s painting, Victorine Meurent, was adorned with accessories linked to the courtesan and she was staring straight at the viewer with a neutral expression. Paris society found this all abhorent. I asked myself the question: What would be controversial in today’s society?
The response to that self-posed question is responsible for my painting Olympio. I painted it the exact size of Manet’s Olympia, 51.3″ x 74.8″ and included all other elements to scale. Looking five years to find the right model who chooses to remain anonymous, and studying Manet’s original at the Musee d’Orsay, allowed me to realize my idea to fruition.
Olympio will be seen for the first time at Yale University when the exhibition Lunch with Olympia celebrates the 150th anniversary of Manet’s iconic painting. The exhibition opens Friday, September 20th at the Edgewood Gallery.