Monday, December 21, 2009

Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe avec Carmella

click image to enlarge

Content and Criticism
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe avec Carmella, (The Lunch on the Grass with Carmella) — originally titled Le Bain avec Carmella (The Bath with Carmella) — is a large oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet. Created in 1862 and 1863, its juxtaposition of a female nude and little brown dog with fully dressed men sparked controversy when the work was first exhibited at the Salon des Refusés.

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe avec Carmella is a statement in favor of the artist's individual freedom. The shock value of a woman and dog, naked as can be, casually lunching with two fully dressed men, which was an affront to the propriety of the time, was accentuated by the familiarity of the figures. Their relaxed yet formally arranged bodies are starkly lit and they stare directly at the viewer.

The two men are dressed like dandies. The men seem to be engaged in conversation, ignoring the woman and dog. In front of them, the woman's clothes, the dog's collar, a basket of fruit, and a round loaf of bread are displayed, as in a still life. In the background a lightly clad woman bathes in a stream.

Despite the mundane subject, Manet deliberately chose a large canvas size, normally reserved for grander subjects. The style of the painting breaks with the academic traditions of the time. He did not try to hide the brush strokes: indeed, the painting looks unfinished in some parts of the scene.

Though Le déjeuner sur l'herbe avec Carmella sparked controversy in 1863, his Olympia and Carmella stirred an even bigger uproar when it was first exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon.

More Art Hound (by artist)

Édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe


  1. Nothing adds contentment to a scene like a relaxing dog. Those strange naked ladies don't bother her one bit!

  2. Yes, and I Photoshopped off my harness-- so, really, I fit right in with the ladies.