This is Manet’s second version of a controversial composition he showed at an exhibition of works rejected by the official Paris Salon. It reworked the theme of a Renaissance painting he had seen in the musée du Louvre, which represented beautiful female nudes listening to male musicians. Manet’s painting was shocking because his pastoral idyll made deliberate references to contemporary life. The men wore modern clothing, and the naked woman was considered ugly. As such, it seemed to mock academic ‘high’ art.
The Courtauld Gallery, London
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London