Verrill on Manet

ISoA teacher Rob Verrill has just emailed me about his visit to the Manet exhibition at the Royal Academy. It was a nice heart felt review so I asked him if I could add it here on the blog and he kindly agreed…. so here it is:

“I really liked the constant surprises and unconventional compositions and subjects, the blurring of genres, the nervous energy and his refusal to settle into a safe and predictable “mature” phase or style. He wasn’t primarily a portrait painter but was more interested in using groups of characters to suggest a story, make some other point, or reflect real, modern life. Many of his best known pictures aren’t there so it doesn’t show the whole artist by any means.
Most of the ones that seem to be unfinished were either sketches never intended to be shown or were not finished because he only had very limited access to the sitter and ran out of time and he refused to work from memory, sketches or photos(mostly). Some were studies for later finished paintings which he changed considerably. His best pieces look like photo snapshots though, catching a fleeting moment in time, eg “The Luncheon”. It’s actually useful to see so many unfinished pieces just to be able to look at how he began and developed his paintings. If Cezanne (and Gauguin – “Painting began with Manet”) were full of praise that’s good enough for me.”

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