Art Sunday:

Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets is an 1872 oil painting by Édouard Manet. It depicts fellow painter Berthe Morisot dressed in black mourning dress, with a barely visible bouquet of violets. The painting, sometimes known as Portrait of Berthe Morisot, Berthe Morisot in a black hat or Young woman in a black hat, is in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Manet also created an etching and two lithographs of the same composition.

The half-length portrait is on a canvas measuring 55.5 × 40.5 centimetres (21.9 × 15.9 in) – 71.5 × 57.5 centimetres (28.1 × 22.6 in) with frame – and is signed “Manet 72” in the upper right corner. It is a study in shades of black. Unusually for Manet’s portraits, which typically have an even light, Morisot is lit from one side, so that she is brightly illuminated on her right side and the left is in deep shadow. She wears black mourning dress and hat, with her face surrounded by black ribbons and scarves, against a lighter background, and an earring in each ear. The violet flowers are barely perceptible where the neckline of Morisot’s dress dips towards her chest. Manet also painted violets in his Woman with a Parrot of 1866.

Manet painted Morisot with black eyes, although her eyes were actually green. The dark costume and eyes may allude to Manet’s impression that she looked Spanish. Manet had earlier painted a similar portrait of his own mother in mourning, made in 1863, which shows his mother clad in black, on a dark background.

The painting was followed by a similar etching – probably the first copy, with the pose reversed – and two lithographs, all made in 1872 to 1874. Manet made a similar painting of Morisot in mourning dress in 1874, after the death of her father, Edmé Tiburce Morisot.


6 responses to “Art Sunday:

  1. Thanx for another Sunday trip to a museum…and this is beautiful! However, i have no urge to print it out and pin it to MY wall. If things at this end of the woods go well for the rest of today, i’ll catch Sunday Smooth but if not than trust me by tomorrow mid morning, i’ll have an entirely enjoyable experience. As Minnie Pearl would say; “How-w-w-DEE-E-E-E!” for the rest of the week, that is me not you.

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      • i beg to differ that this is like the “black paintings”. I remember something vague about them so i took a quickie at look at some and remembered why i didn’t like them…who’d have thunk it that something would be too black for me but they do exist. AGAIN, though Sunday’s at the museum with you and some of the others is always a learning or remembering experience and i thank you and everyone else that makes my Sundays nicer.

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