The Balcony

…by the famous artist Edouard Manet

famous painting by Edouard Manet

First exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1869, The Balcony was met with less than stellar reviews. We have a brightly lit balcony and a dark shady interior which are great examples of the pioneering painting style in plein air. In this case, the French Impressionist Edouard Manet (1832-1883) has created what is perhaps a more realistic representation of how natural light can sometimes shadow or hide details. We see a somewhat incomplete and flat nose of the standing lady, yet when viewed from a distance, her nose seems fully there as if we automatically fill in the missing details. At the time, this “flat” presentation was misunderstood as a lack of form. But, round forms do often look flat with natural light shining on them and Manet seems to understand the depth of his subject far better than he was given credit for.

We could pick apart this painting further or simply enjoy it for the interesting painting that it is. Personally, I’d rather enjoy the picture and not worry so much about how it was painted.

The three people in this painting are fellow painters Berthe Morisot (seated) and Antoine Guillemet and the violinist Fanny Claus.

To learn more about the artist’s life and see some of his other famous paintings, please visit our Edouard Manet biography.