A new exhibition, Manet Portraying Life, has opened at the Royal Academy in London. The works on show span almost his entire career, and focus on him as a portrait painter. Many of his subjects were family and friends, and the exhibition includes a self-portrait of Manet relaxing.
Mary Anne Stevens, the Director of Academic Affairs at the Royal Academy of Arts, said: “He’s a totally committed portrait painter, but also and very importantly what this exhibition demonstrates is that when he came to paint scenes from contemporary life, which was the other aspect of his art which was very important, he used his family and his friends whom he had painted in portraits as models in these scenes of contemporary Parisian life.”
Manet also painted literary, political and artistic figures of his day, giving us a detailed picture of Parisian society at that time. There are more than 50 paintings on display, many of them studies of the painter’s wife, Suzanne.
The collection brings together works from across Europe, Asia and the US, both from private collections and museums.