The Monk at Prayer Edouard Manet Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Edouard Manet is famously known for his painting portrait; The Monk in Prayer.

The Monk in Prayer portrait was painted in the year 1865 while Edouard Manet was in France. Edouard Manet used oil in this painting and a canvas technique. The painting has a very good insight of a dark background with a light tone of the paint used to display the Monk. Though the painting used very few details in display of the background, there is a vision of cipher where a skull lies right ahead of The Monk.

The presence of a skinned skull shows a settled trend of death or omen. Edouard Manet must have wanted to display that there was a previous life before the monk in prayer by painting the skull. There is a priced form of religious respect in this painting shown by the kneeling of the monk while he is praying. The Monk’s attire covers him fully that even his feet are hidden, a sign that the painting shows a full trust and surrounding of religious teachings.

The Monk is seemingly undisturbed by this view hence, showing an advanced religious peace and an urge to get rid of the cause of the skull to be a part and parcel of the whole painting. He is closing his eyes, therefore, it is concluded that he is in prayers. A skull without the rest of the bones which complete a human skeleton holds many questions as to what had brought about the death of the particular being. The Monk’s hands are not folded but rather they are held out; a sign of surrender and an assurance of spiritual faith in his religion.

There is a hanging robe from his waist to the ground and hanging prayer beads showing unanswered prayers. According to the portrait, a theme of darkness and evil which is displayed by a dark background and a skull fights the light tone of religion and goodwill displayed the presence of The Monk in Prayer. The interesting fact about the painting of the Monk in Prayer is the will of Edouard Manet to put these two worlds in one portrait. The inspiration is how prayers keep The Monk from his disturbing environment. A few details about this particular portrait include the dimensions which are 146.4 cm by 115 cm. The portrait can be found and be viewed in The Beal Gallery where collection are in Europe and it is classified as a painting.