Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume 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's painting, Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume, offers a realist approach to art illuminating the classic style of the 19th century while incorporating elements of impressionism.

The piece was painted in 1867, as Manet went through his period of painting Spaniards. Similar paints include The Dancer Mariano Camprubi, Young Man in Costume of a Majo, Mile Victorine in the Costume of an Espada, and Young Man in Costume of a Toreador. The model behind the woman in Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume was Manet's friend Felix Tournachon. The muse within the painting is stretched out on a red velvet chaise, with one hand against the arm of the chaise, while the other is posed on top of her head.

The woman has her legs crossed with one upon the other, with a black and white fan at her feet. The woman is dressed in the classic Spanish attire at the time, in white pants and white stockings, accompanied by a black jacket. The muse within the painting seems to look a tad chubby, while holding masculine characteristics. The woman hair curls on the side of her face, illuminating the traditional Spanish style, alongside lush plump lips. The body language of the model is evidently structured, as she poses with her legs extended. The model holds a soft gaze towards the viewer, seductively starring straight.

Upon the floor of Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume lie two oranges, with a cat playing with one of them. The oranges symbolize wealth, as they were mainly available for the upper class during the time period. The cat suggests the theme of innocence towards the women, offering an artificial allure within her form. The background wall within the painting holds a burn orange colour, accompanied by a grainy texture. Manet had successful intertwined an array of shadows and forms within the painting, contouring and highlighting the caverns of the chaise.

The different shades of red within the chaise help to identify the texture within the couch. Edouard Manet's realist technique evidently illuminates the painting, however the viewer is able to identify his soft transition into impressionism through different forms within the peice. The painting does not hold harsh edges, however gently blends into each other. Whereas Edouard Manet is prominently known as the fore father of impressionism, the piece, Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume, illustrates his trade mark in realism.