Thursday, January 30, 2014

Olympia by Manet

My class and I analyzed two separate painting's. The one I was most interested in was "Olympia" by Edouard Manet. The reason why I was more interested in this painting was because I felt like it had more meaning to it than the other painting. While the class and I analyzed the painting we used a few techniques that helped us better analyze this certain painting. We were observing objects, our feeling's towards the painting, and noticing certain focal points in this image. I had very strong feelings towards this image because I feel like people in power have the right to do what they want and treat people beneath them with less respect.

In this painting there is a white woman that is laying naked on a white bed with a black cat at the end of the bed. There is also an African American women standing behind the woman and the bed holding a painting of flowers in her hands. Both women seem to not be so happy. I don't see any smiles, but just a simple smirk on their faces. This picture is not very striking because there isn't much color, but very dim greens and browns. Even the flower on the head of the nude woman seems to be a very dull pink. The cat though was the one thing that I spotted when I looked at this image. I was wondering why the cat was there and what was the meaning for the cat to be there. It did look like the cat showed some powerful energy by the way it was positioned. This could have been the white lady's cat. A companion for a wealthy woman. 

The women looks like she's comfortable, but at the same time she looks like she is the one in power. She has a very demeaning and seducing look on her face. I think this painting is suppose to represent the period of slavery because the darker skin woman looks like a servant and the reason why I think that is because of the clothes that she is wearing. Her clothing looks kind of worn out and old and she has a bandanna on, which wealthier women didn't wear in that era. The way the white woman is positioned also shows that she is the one in power and wealthy at the same time.

This painting by Manet shows a lot of things that interests me. I think that the nude woman is a very powerful woman while the darker skin woman is less powerful. I feel like it's a very simple yet bland painting because of it's colors. I like the way the painting looks because It was confusing at first to understand it, but looking into it more I noticed a lot of thing's about it. One thing that striked me was how the nude woman is unaware of her surroundings. She was not paying no mind to the darker skin woman or the cat. She looked as if she was staring at something. The vibe of this image to me felt negative maybe because the darker skin woman was a slave or maybe how the nude woman was looking at me. Symbolically, the image of the darker skin women shows how people of African American race were treated around the 1800's.


  1. You support the thesis, "I had very strong feelings towards this image because I feel like people in power have the right to do what they want and treat people beneath them with less respect," with descriptions of the two subjects and specific details in the painting.

  2. Hey Natasia,

    where's your perspective blog?

  3. Let me check my blog again because i posted it but its showing that i didnt post it

  4. Its probably cause i posted it from my phone ill try reposting it but from my computer this time