Listen
Playing: The Creatures of Prometheus: incidental music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Image for Edouard Manet: The Direct Gaze

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Edouard Manet: The Direct Gaze

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 13 January 2013

Actor Fiona Shaw unlocks the gaze of the most famous naked women painted by French Impressionist Edouard Manet. With contributions from novelist Julian Barnes and artist Michael Craig Martin.

The 19th century French painter, Edouard Manet made art modern: his most famous work is "Le déjeuner sur l'herbe. He is known as the father of Impressionism but we know comparatively little about him. He did away with mythology, allegory and history and instead painted life around him, as it happened. His friend Baudelaire wrote to him "You are only the first in the degeneration of your art". Now, with a long awaited exhibition of his work soon to open at the Royal Academy in London, Fiona Shaw - who enjoys painting, when she's not acting or directing - stares back at the women in Manet's most famous works.

She talks to historians and artists including Julian Barnes, Manet's biographer, Juliet Wilson Bareau, curator Stephane Guegan, art Historian Tamar Garb and contemporary artists who carry a torch for their 19th century predecessor, including the father of Brit Art, Michael Craig Martin.

Manet first shocked the Paris salon in 1863 with his painting of a naked woman having a picnic with her friends in a glade on the Seine. Rejected by the formal exhibition it found its way to the Salon des Refuses, an invention of Napolean III in that very same year, but he was so put out by Le déjeuner sur l'herbe that he said it was "an offence against decency" - while the Empress Eugenie walked past, determinedly not looking. Manet followed this with his painting of a naked prostitute...

In this programme, Fiona Shaw strips back to explore painting itself. She visits the Musee d'Orsay to see Manet's great works, traces his influences from the Louvre and walks the streets near his studio to unlock the gaze of his sitters.

Producer: Kate Bland.

Broadcasts

Discover Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas season

Explore the life, work and legacy of the Welsh poet on the centenary of his birth.

Podcasts

  1. Image for BBC World War One

    BBC World War One

    BBC Radio brings you stories of the war that changed who we are, with documentaries exploring the…

  2. Image for Music and Culture of WW1

    Music and Culture of WW1

    Highlights of BBC Radio 3’s special programmes to mark the WW1 centenary. Classical music, art,…

  3. Image for Ravel Revealed

    Ravel Revealed

    Maurice Ravel revealed through guides to his work and life. Ravel and Jazz, Ravel and literature,…

  4. Image for The Radio 3 Documentary

    The Radio 3 Documentary

    In-depth documentaries which each week explore a different aspect of history, science, philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss