Edouard Manet Art: Behind the Frame

Edouard Manet was a rebel. If you had been alive in the mid-1800’s, he would have been the boy your mom didn’t want you to hang out with. That’s exactly what made him such a great artist Manet was an upper-class Frenchman with a tendency to disregard the conventions of rich, and expose the world for what he believed it was… all through his art. Let’s get behind the frame and explore Edouard Manet art!

edouard manet art

Edouard Manet Does it His Way

Artists love doing things their own way, on their own time, and in that respect, Edouard Manet was a classic, predictable artist.

“I paint what I see and not what others like to see.” – Edouard Manet

That’s one of Manet’s most famous quotes, and for good reason. During his artistic career, Manet set out to give the art of painting a facelift. He wanted to do things differently than the traditional, conventional painters of his day, and he started with alla prima painting. Instead of building up colors in layers like many other painters did, he would pre-mix the paint so he could use his ideal, finished color immediately.

Manet may have been different… at first. But the impressionist painters caught on to Manet’s new style and picked it up immediately. Manet’s alla prima became the new normal.

edouard manet art

The Real, Natural Manet

Though the impressionists and Manet had a lot in common, Manet’s adoption of Realism and Naturalism was also clear. When Manet was a coming-of-age artist in France, Realism and Naturalism were all the rage. He definitely picked up on these techniques while he was perfecting his craft.

Most art critics agree that Realism was the first-ever modern movement in art. The entire idea began in France, and it embraced the idea that art should represent real-life events instead of just idealistic images. Manet’s depictions of people, in particular, reflect the real, imperfect nature of the world and those who live in it.

edouard manet art

Flat is the New Cool

Edouard Manet introduced an element of “flatness” to his art in a way that other artists didn’t. Ever since art was a thing (so, forever), artists have been trying to figure out how to depict three-dimensions on a two-dimensional surface.  Since their canvases were flat, artists had to try to experiment with perspective and volume to create an illusion of thee-dimensionality.

Edouard Manet came in and changed all that. Manet wasn’t afraid to call attention to the fact that his paintings were, in fact, flat. They were paintings after all! Manet, and many artists after him, were bold and vulnerable about the limitations of their art, and their flat canvas, and it worked in their favor. The result? Art that wasn’t trying as hard. And people really, really liked it.

edouard manet art


Edouard Manet art represents a revolutionary change in the way artists saw the world, and represented it on canvas. Manet’s variety of subjects and styles make his art a perfect addition to virtually any space. Explore framed prints by Edouard Manet in FramedArt.com’s gallery!