Young Woman with a Book Edouard Manet Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

This is an 1875 impressionist oil painting by the famous French artist Edouard Manet. Edouard Manet is considered to be one of the master modern artists who led the transition of art from realism to impressionism during the 19th century.

His early works of art are considered watershed paintings that mark the beginning of modern art. His style mainly consists of loose brush strokes, simplification of details, and capturing the momentary and transient effect of light in myriad different colours. The emphasis was more on capturing the final visual effect rather than the details. Short broken brush strokes of pure unmixed and mixed colours were used to make most of his paintings. There was no usual blending or shading of colours to stay close to real images thus deviating from the normal artistic conventions of that time.

This oil on canvas is a genre painting depicting a slice of the modern Paris city life. This is one of the interesting paintings from the famous artist. It is a realistic painting depicting a young woman with a book in her lap propped up on a couch with a huge cushion supporting her. She has a cosy and relaxed air about her and seems to be comfortable in her surroundings. The door is ajar, with light streaming through it and the couch is placed adjacent to it. Note the play of light and the colours used. It is a dark painting with the use of bold and natural colours like black, brown and red. The flow of light in the room is also depicted in an interesting manner.

The young woman is wearing a black gown with white detailing around the neck which is reminiscent of the dresses worn by French women of those times. Her hair is tied up in a neat voluminous bun at the top of her head. The emphasis of the painting is on what the young lady is expressing through her eyes. The painting captures a fleeting inquisitive expression on the subject’s face as she turns away from her book to look sideways across the room. Someone has caught her attention, and the subject of the painting momentarily pauses to respond. Her countenance seems to reveal that the object of her interest is someone familiar to her. There is a diagonal balance to the painting. The art work has a dimension of 32.4 cm x 24.4 cm.