Monday Morning Muse: Olympia

1956-13

This print of Édouard Manet’s infamous Olympia joined the collection in 1956. First exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon, Olympia shocked audiences with her confrontational gaze and the many details identifying her as a prostitute.

The following print by American artist Mel Ramos, which joined the collection in 1980 and was made almost 100 years after Manet’s version, borrows the subject matter, title and composition directly from Manet’s Olympia. 

1980-89-1

This interesting analysis of Ramos’s version of Olympia by the University of Michigan Museum of Art notes that the artist “blurs the line between the fine art tradition of the aestheticized female nude and contemporary pornography, suggested by his hyper-realist treatment of the nude, revealing her tan lines, her blonde bob, and her quasi-seductive gaze, similar to what one might find in any number of pin-ups girls.”

Who do you think was more shocked by these nude subjects: Manet’s viewers in 1865, or Ramos’s in 1974? 

image sources: 1 / 2 

 

 

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