The Spanish Singer 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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The Spanish singer oil canvas with dimensions of 147.3 x 114.3 was made in 1860 by a little known Manet.

It's one of the paintings credited with the success of Manet in his art life. The picture was appreciated and admired for its realistic detail by many who came across it including fellow artists. However, Manet could not cover the fact that it was made in the studio using a prototype and props. The Spanish singer, who is left-handed holds a guitar treated for a right-handed player, and his handling suggests that he was not acquainted with the guitar. The Spanish singer outfit was moulded from clothes that Manet often used in his other paintings. Other accessories in this canvas that had been seen in other Manet's paintings re-emerge in this image.

The Spanish singer painting caused mingling among younger artists that they arranged to pay a visit to Manet’s studio as a group. The young artists were very excited about Manet’s canvas technique, what everybody wanted to know is his meaning of the painting. The picture of the Spanish singer looks more Spanish although the modern generation claims that the outfit was false and that the guitarist appeared sat in a studio.

The current awareness of the studio set and the combination of French and Spanish costumes is vital because Manet must have projected what other people could see. The original scene of the canvas is in a studio, and because every painter paints himself, the Spanish singer image should also represent an artist and the model. Due to Manet being French, he wanted the clothing of Franco-Spanish combination to account for the heritage in his mind.

Many art critics have come out to point out Manet’s most critical error in this painting that he painted a right-handed guitarist playing guitar that is treated for a left-handed player. However, Manet thinks that the error lack no consequences and it changed nothing when it was pointed out as the meaning of the painting remained the same. Manet, however, did claim that he painted the head only once and that when he looked at the picture on his little mirror, it was all right. He concludes by saying that he never added another stroke to the painting after looking at it in his little black mirror.