Olympia unfavorably compared to Titian’s Venus

In Courtesan & Prostitute, Critics, Olympia's Degradation on May 11, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Amedee Cantaloube writes in Le Grand Journal, June 22nd, 1865:

“This Olympia is a sort of female gorilla, a grotesque in India rubber outlined in black, apes on a bed, in a state of complete nudity, the horizontal attitude of Titian’s Venus: the right arm rests on the body in the same fashion, except for the hand, which is flexed in a sort of shameless contraction.”

Titian, Venus of Urbino, Oil on Canvas, Uffizi, Florence, 1538.


Olympia, the Venus of Paris, 1863…


Friend Zacharie Astruc writes Manet of response to Olympia at Salon opening

In Friends, Paris Salon on May 11, 2010 at 8:42 pm

June 20th, 1865.  The battle has started, it seems. I can see the sparks fly even from here (Fountainbleau).

A few deserters are passing with matches that want to be torches.

Le Charivari, Le Siecle: two real old knockheads, Edouard; it’s hilarious to listen to that infectious, empty, stupid and foolish verbiage from low amateurish minds who don’t even have a tongue. Oh! the glazed look of Texier… And this envious buffoon pretends to be happy? What an ocean Paris is! And how unfortunate to meet those pleasant monsters. I am happy for you, because these riots rejuvenate the mind!

It’s like hardening steel – and it goes without saying, Edouard, that we won’t be leaving Toledo. After these heavy storms, I am expecting rainbows. Let’s hope that those hardy fellows will propose a toast to your mind.

Collect with great care all the pieces of paper that bear your name so that I can make a festoon of them upon my return.

I believe the verses were published. I now stand guard, protecting the royal tent.

I haven’t read anything on the whole group and nothing on Fantin.

Are we really being machine-gunned? If such is our luck, please let me know. Give me the most intimate details of what is going on. Warm regards to our friends. I will let you know how my work is progressing.

Honore Daumier looks at bourgeois looking at Olympia

In Caricatures, Critics, Paris Salon on May 11, 2010 at 8:41 pm
Honore Daumier’s Before The Painting, June 19, 1865

In Le Charivari, June 19, 1865.

“Why the devil is that big red woman in chemise called Olympia?”

“Perhaps it’s the name of the cat.”