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Edgar Degas created a stunning artwork of his contemporary Edouard Manet, and Manet’s wife.
Degas and Manet met at a museum where both were analyzing paintings. They were both immensely interested in each other’s work. It is believed that Degas was inspired by Manet and was influenced to follow in his directions and switch from Realism to Impressionism. Degas felt inspired by his new friend and created the piece showcasing him and his wife. The painting showcases the portrait of the two in an interesting light. Degas is seated on a grand couch near the left side of the room. A white fabric lined with shades of lavender covers the fabric in a stunning shade. The bottom of the couch breaks out into an array of ruffles in a classic French style. Manet leans on the couch on his side as he folds his arm and places it beneath his cheek. The way in which Manet holds his face significantly resembles the portrait of Madame Camus With A Fan. In both paintings, the figures fold their hands gently to their face and hold up their heads.
Manet is dressed in a carbon black suit, with a white dress shirt poking out near the collar and sleeve. The man is dressed in a gold vet beneath his suit. Alongside a black tie tucked away within the vest. Manet’s head is turned to the side as he stares out into the distance. While one might argue that he’s looking into his wife, it seems as if he is looking at another direction. The man’s face is filled with a thick beard that breaks into a moustache. His hair bales to the side, as well as friezes above his head. Manet lifts his right leg to the couch and folds it. While it’s difficult to exactly make out the shoes that he wears, they seem to resemble boots. Overall, it is evident that Manet remains the focal point of the painting, especially since his with wife is cropped out of the frame.
If the viewer looks onto the right side of the frame Mme Manet is standing. She is dressed in a long gown towards the floor that is covered in endless layers of white and black fabric. Her chiffon sleeves cover the side of the dress as they spiral outwards. Degas was a masterful artist as he was always able to preciously showcase the fabric of any material in exact detail. While it is difficult to locate within the piece, there is a large rip throughout the canvas of the painting. Once Edouard Manet has seen the painting, he has ripped it into two pieces. While it is exactly unknown as to why one artist would ruin the work of another, it is believed that Manet didn’t not like the painting of him and his wife. Perhaps it was due to his form, or that his wife was only partly shown.
Nevertheless, upon finding the broken painting, Degas still felt the need to display the piece within his apartment as he worked to put it back together. Degas had later recreated the piece in the exact same form, as he believed the painting was captivating. He did not change any elements or take any advice from Manet himself. Instead, Degas followed his artistic callings from within and recreated the pieces to what he thought was beautiful. The two artist’s relationship continues to remain unknown yet both significantly impacted each other’s work. Edouard Manet had an immensely similar style to Degas where both artists incorporated elements of Impressionism through their work. Both were unaware as to how much their styles would interconnect in time.