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Noble Blasphemy
Part I.

– Feb. 18, 2013

Return to Introductory Comments



Paris, 1865. The Salon. Within, in Gallery M, Olympia, one of two paintings submitted that year to the Salon by Edouard Manet (the other being Jesus Mocked by the Soldiers). It was singular within in the Salon in the amount of attention it received, both from the critics and the public. It is singular in art history in that, throughout the Salon, it was, as Michael Fried describes, the object of a continual and "sustained blast of derision and outcry without precedent or sequel in the history of painting."(1)

"I wish I had you here, my dear Baudelaire," Manet wrote to his friend from out the midst of the tumult, "insults are beating down on me like hail. I've never been through anything like it."(2) Perhaps Manet did not foresee the degree of the reaction to Olympia, but it would be absurd to think he didn't expect the nature of the reaction. The letter to Baudelaire speaks indirectly of such: saying he had never been through anything like the battering he was currently receiving both from the Parisian public and the press gives implication that he had nonetheless been battered, if to a lesser degree, before. And he had, two years earlier at the Salon of 1863, when his Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe(3) was likewise met with a considerable lack of approval in the Salon des Refusés, garnering from the crowd "a veritable clamor of condemnation."(4)

Yet even then Manet could not have been surprised by the reception. In content, Le Déjeuner "was a daringly modern scene," and in its painting "proved [itself] as defiant in execution as it had been in conception."(5) As well, it was a "marked assault on the bastions of nineteenth-century art," taking its composition for its depiction of two Parisian gentlemen with a common prostitute from The Judgment of Paris by Raphael, who was "revered above all other painters by the conservative members of the Académie des Beaux-Arts."(6)

Yet, if Le Déjeuner was an assault against that establishment embodied in the Salon, Olympia was a guided missile strike. While Le Déjeuner was "defiant," Olympia was - and still is - flagrantly blasphemous.

Religiously blasphemous? Indirectly, in that Olympia was, in part, an affront to the prudish Parisian morality of the day. It was blasphemous also, in a broader sense, in that it challenged contemporary social mores, conventions of artistic practice, and reigning (and reining) concepts of nudity, sexuality, and beauty. Beyond that, though, and most importantly, it is blasphemous in the most fundamental sense of the term: it challenges definition itself, challenges the meaning of the world; challenges not only social convention but accepted reality: all because Olympia - and be careful to discern I speak of the painting and not the subject thereof, something Manet himself, in the creating of Olympia, was at pains to do - is beautiful.


While the event might have been relatively localized in comparison with the global repercussions of the release of Satanic Verses (which will later serve as the main example-for-analysis for this discussion), the displaying of Olympia can yet hold its place along side Satanic Verses in the history of violent responses to literary, artistic, or musical works.(7) Audience response ranged from mockery to fear, from disgust to moral outrage, from extreme anger to uncontrollable laughter.(8) The notoriety of the work (and of Manet, who was the subject of like mockery and derision in the streets of Paris(9)) was matched by the crowds who came to the Salon to view the work, reaching numbers and intensity (each feeding the other) of near riot levels.(10) Gendarmes had to be posted to protect the artwork from vandalism.(11) Near the closing of the Salon, Olympia and Jesus Mocked were moved from their original position - one of prominence - to one "at a height where even the worst daubs had never been hung, above the huge door of the last room"; so high, "you could hardly tell if what you were seeing was a piece of bare flesh or a bundle of laundry."(12)

While Olympia occupied Gallery M, it held the chamber in "an atmosphere of hysteria and even fear."(13) Ross King, in his recent history of art in 1860s Paris, The Judgment of Paris, writes of the event:

Some spectators collapsed in "epidemics of crazed laughter" while others, mainly women, turned their heads from the picture in fright. "Nothing can convey the visitor's initial astonishment," wrote the correspondent for L'Époque, "then their anger or fear."(14)

The critics - though with some small, and one notable exception - were equally virulent. I offer a few excerpts to give understanding to that phrase:

A much more pronounced ugliness is still apparent in Manet's paintings [. . .]. They are offensive eccentricities [. . .].(15)

Art sunk so low doesn't even deserve reproach. 'Do not speak of them; observe and pass on,' Virgil says to Dante while crossing one of the abysses of hell.(16)

Olympia can be understood from no point of view, even if you take it for what it is, a puny model stretched out on a sheet. The colour of the flesh is dirty, the modeling non-existent. [. . .] Here there is nothing, we are sorry to say, but the desire to attract attention at any price.(17)

This Olympia, a sort of female gorilla, a grotesque in India rubber outlined in black, apes on a bed, in a state of complete nudity [. . .].(18)

The expression of her face is that of being prematurely aged and vicious; her body, of a putrefying colour, recalls the horror of the morgue.(19)

Olympia herself - modeled by Victorine Meurent, who was when Manet met her a working class modèle-occasionel, and generally considered a woman of no particular beauty(20) - was considered "'ugly' and 'stupid' as well as cadaverous,"(21) filthy, undesirous, strange, and obscene. "For many Salon-goers in 1865, Victorine reclining on her bed was a threatening sight."(22)

As stated above, the public reaction, and the critical barrage, was, in the end, the consequence of what can only be considered a deliberate attack upon the Paris art world, and upon Paris itself. As describes King, "By dint of both its style and its subject, Olympia almost seemed calculated to raise the same wrathful response as Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe."(23) The attack was, essentially, three pronged: there was a direct thrust against Parisian society, a broad swipe against the male art-viewer particularly and sexuality in general, and finally a second major thrust against the conventions and conventionality defined and defended by the Salon and the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Olympia is undoubtedly a prostitute, though in comparison to the filles insoumises, or "unruly woman," portrayed by Victorine in Le Déjeuner, here the part played was that of high-end courtesan. It would have been a rarity among the Salon attendants - if not an impossibility - for her not to be recognized as such. Prostitution at the time was flagrantly open. By act of Napoleon III, it had been legalized in Paris. At the time of Olympia there were approximately 5,000 filles de maison, or registered prostitutes in Paris. At the same time, there were over 120,000 unregistered filles insoumises.(24) Remarkably, that amounts to 13% of the population of Paris.(25) To call the filles de maison prostitutes, however, is really to mislabel them: they were courtesans, who "worked in a brothel [and] entertained a better class of client, [. . .] often adopting for themselves an exotic name such as Arthémie, Octavie, or Olympe."(26)

It is also false to characterize prostitution in Paris as a mere sex-for-sale offering: there was pageantry involved. The prostitutes and courtesans presented themselves to be seen, to perform a value centered more upon the fetishistic than the basely sexual. They were commodity, yes, but their value lay not only in gratification but also - and perhaps more so - in possession. To attract men of greater wealth, they had to appear, in garb, mannerism, and reputation, to be of greater value.(27) In fact, the daily lives of the highest echelon of courtesans, "glamorous and wealthy" women, was a continual subject within the Parisian press.(28) Courtesanship, after all, could be an extremely lucrative business, the supreme example of which was Lizzie Howard,

the bootmaker's daughter who conquered London society, won Louis-Napoleon's heart and, in 1851, supported his regime by lending him 800,000 francs with which he was able to entertain (and to bribe) important members of the French military. [. . .] Miss Howard [was] rewarded for this and other services with the title of Comtesse de Beauregard. By 1863, she [was] retired, at the age of forty, to a life of modest luxury at Versailles.(29)

And yet, at the same time, Parisian cultural mores were extremely prudish. Women were barred from the upper deck of omnibuses lest they expose part of their leg in the climb. Indeed, female flesh was "a forbidden sight in Paris."(30) As such, the courtesans and prostitutes and the Parisian men who patronized them played a complex psycho-social game. One necessary purpose of the prostitution was, of course, sex. But that brute sexuality was concealed, publically, behind a performance of glamor and social - not sexual but social - attractiveness The same game was played also within the halls of the Salon, with the nakedness and sexuality of the portrayed women concealed beneath the performance of Salon conventionality. These games, and all these games served to conceal, was forced into the open by Olympia.

Not that this was the first presentation of prostitution - an unacceptable subject(31) - in the Salon. For example, as already stated, Le Déjeuner carries ample cues to mark the women depicted as filles insoumises. Even though it too gave attack to Parisian prudishness, which prohibited any "mingling [of the sexes] at the various bathing spots along the Seine, demanded that women be "covered in shifts," and arrested men for going topless,(32) "the public had found Le Déjeuner merely ridiculous, a farcical jape that might, at its worst, bring a blush to the cheek of a young maiden [. . .]."(33) As well in the 1863 Salon, dubbed by the critic Théophile Gautier the "Salon of Venuses" for its abundant population of nude goddesses, Alexandre Cabanel garnered the greatest attention with The Birth of Venus,(34) a painting openly attacked as vulgar because of the writhing pose of the depicted Venus: a pose which made Venus to look like a common prostitute.(35) Yet, Cabanel got away with the depiction because of his "unimpeachable technique."(36)

Manet, however, was of a contemporary movement in art which was forcibly breaking away from that accepted technique. He

applied his paint to the canvas with the same supposed lack of control and finish that had put one critic in mind of a floor mop. As in Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, he painted Victorine's face, torso, and limbs with non of the sculptural three-dimensionality and careful modulations of color to which Salon-goers were accustomed. Instead, using sharp contrasts of color, he created her body through a series of flat planes, producing a two-dimensional image that almost served to make the canvas seem a parody of Titian's curvilinear Venus of Urbino.(37)

The "parody" existed not only in breaking from the technique of the Académie: the posing of the model itself was severe break from well established tradition. In a very real way, the Académie could be said to be defined by the nude, in the same (if inverted) manner that the 'nude' was wholly defined by the Académie. Within formal training, it was (and probably still is, to one degree or another) a well established rule that the human figure had to be mastered nude before it could be mastered clothed. One had to understand the frame (and, even, the frames' frame) in order to understand how cloth hung from that frame. For that basic - and I would say obvious - assumption, the nude became an inherent element to both artistic instruction and artistic production. Yet, by the time of Manet, there had developed within the Salon tradition a firmly established conventionality surrounding the nude. Models would not lower themselves so as to stand naturally before the artist: they took their poses from the figures found in the art tradition.(38) In fact, the models would take pride in their ability to exactly duplicate the established repertoire of poses. For that, there developed a self-perpetuating circle of conventionality: the models reduplicated established poses for artists of the Salon; up-and-coming artists learned from those established poses, and then produced art that reiterated the poses, both on canvas and in their expectations of their models. That which was lost was the actual body of the model. It was not, in the end, the nude human body that was the subject of instruction and production, but the body 'draped,' as it were, within firmly established conventionality.

And that conventionality served a purpose, as it must for the conventionality to exist. That purpose: to permit the erotic pleasure of the female nude, without subjecting the viewer to the erotic power of naked sexuality. As Bernheimer states it:

[N]akedness [was] valuable not for its individuality, the marks of one woman's fleshly embodiment, but for its transcendence of these marks in a formalized language intended to feed male fantasies while it erases any potentially threatening signs of woman's desiring subjectivity.(39)

In part, it would have been this conventionality that prompted a comment made by Manet some years before Olympia. As described by King:

[Up until 1862] Manet had not sent a nude, either male or female, to the Salon. But the sight of Parisians taking a dip in the Seine reminded him of Titian's Le Concert champêtre in the Louvre, a painting that featured two women and two men in a rural landscape, the women nude, the men fully clothed. [Manet's friend, Antonin] Proust remembered how Manet stared at the bodies of the women leaving the water before remarking: "It seems that I must paint a nude. Very well, I shall paint one." However, he explained to Proust that his own painting would include "people like those you see down there" - modern-day Parisians instead of the elegant sixteenth-century Venetians of Titian's work. "The public will rip me to shreds," he mused philosophically, "but they can say what they like."(40)

The phrase "It seems that I must paint a nude" carries multiple readings. First, there is simple pragmatics. To enter full conversation with the Salon, and the Parisian art-world, he would have to take up the subject which was so much an integral a part of the Académie tradition. Likewise, what better way to critique through performance the conventionality that ruled the Salon than to operate that critique within one of the bodies of conventionality that was so inherent to the Salon.

Finally, though, there is the primary meaning. To truly critique the conventionality, he would have to do a nude: a portrayal of a naked human, of naked sexuality, in all its power, in all its danger, in all its vibrant reality. Olympia's being a courtesan functions greatly to that end, particularly within the social moment of mid-nineteenth-century Paris. As the prostitute, the courtesan, she functioned within a set of established codes whose purpose was, again, to conceal the animality, the venality, the material danger of sexuality (which can be understood in terms of both lust and disease) within a commodifying conventionality. "The attraction of the courtisane [sic] for bourgeois writers and intellectuals," writes Bernheimer, "derived from their vision of her artificial brilliance, ostentatious falsity, and spectacular theatricality. [. . .] The courtesan did not signify the sexual body so much as its production as elaborate spectacle."(41) As with the Salon nude, the display, even though it is a display based on sex, found its determination not in sexuality but in cultural codes. It is those codes then that become the subject of sexual desire; after all, the body is concealed, hidden, erased from language. There is in its place a code, a semiotic myth:(42) one "artfully constructed as a montage of accessories that defends against the threat the female sexual body symbolizes in the unconscious, the threat of disease, contamination, and death."(43)

Two sets of codes are thus in play: that of the Salon portrayal of the nude; and that of the prostitute in portrayal of her fetishistic commodification. Both sets of codes are wholly disrupted by Manet. The viewer is presented with a body, but without a stable performance of sufficient codes and conventions so as to make the body readable within the field of socially established meaning. Olympia is presented in close proximity to a very recognizable pose. Yet, in color and technique, and in her positioning, either through the tense hand over her sexe or the openly confronting gaze of Victorine's quite human face, that tie to the tradition is thwarted: she is not painted to be a goddess, but to be a recognizable Parisian. With the codification of the prostitute, the elements of the image function to make her unreadable: she is herself, after all, nude, and devoid of the displays that would commodify the prostitute as she would be seen in the streets of Paris. And those elements in the painting that can offer recognizable symbols themselves are presented conflictingly. E.g., she is prostitute, or courtesan in a brothel, and yet she can afford the employ of an exotic, black servant. She is courtesan, and yet she is whore, and yet she is a woman of means.(44) The viewer has nothing between which they may find secure, stable safety from the sexuality being displayed - by Manet, but also within the functioning of the work by Olympia herself - before the viewer.

And there is much for the 1965 Parisian to fear in Olympia. For example, there is the cat - which replaces the sleeping lapdog found in Titian's Venus - with its noticeably phallic tail: les chattes being at the time slang for both prostitutes in general and female genitalia. Thus the conflicting cues: a commodifiable female sex symbolized by a powerful, phallic cat. As well, the apparent dirtiness of Victorine connected to a connotation of "moral contamination.(45) Olympia was painted darkly, yellow skinned, in a coloring that could not but evoke a response of dirtiness, and thus, in turn, of dirty sex,(46) quite the opposite of the meticulous displays expected of courtesans. And beyond all else, there is that tensed, clenching, left hand. "The customary Venus Pudica gesture appeared to have been transformed [. . .] into an act of self-gratification."(47) Olympia's un-godlike hand "enraged and exalted the critics as nothing else did."(48) It competes with - or cooperates with - Victorine's direct stare as the center point of the energies of the painting, and pulls the full semiotic confusion down into the blunt truth of sexe. Like the direct stare, it is a gesture of power, of control, and of self-possession: conflict indeed with the known, knowable, defined entity that was a Parisian courtesan.(49) It is, even for its subtleness, a most obscene gesture.

And Olympia was indeed considered by "not a few onlookers" as "a shameful obscenity that should never have been put on public view."(50) The painting was in every way vulgar: in its subject, in its depiction, in its composition, in its technique. And at the time, it was vulgarity instead of ugliness which marked the opposite of beauty.(51) The Salon, the high temple of beauty, had been invaded:(52) Olympia presented to the viewer sex without either the "surface sensuality" with which the Salon tradition dressed its nudes, concealing the reality of the subject matter behind the ideality of art, nor with a moralizing which would justify the presentation.(53) As Zola wrote:

when our artists give us a Venus, they correct nature, they lie. Manet asked himself, why lie, why not tell the truth; he makes us recognize Olympia, that girl of our day whom you meet on the sidewalks and who hugs her thin shoulders in a scanty shawl of faded wool.(54)

Or, as writes a contemporary critic: "What better answer, to the double standard which allowed the warm appreciation of the Salon Venus but banned the mention of an ankle from polite conversation, than to make a picture which would ask the spectator if he even dared to look?"(55)

Or, to say it in within the field of discourse of this text, Olympia is blasphemy. Note some merely 'technically' blasphemous statement, said in passing for some rhetorical effect; not some brief content set to stand in argumentative opposition to religious dogma; nor some counter-culture exclamation of pagan or otherwise 'demonic' truth, which can only be 'untruth' when measured against the Truth of Christian (or Islamic, or other) doctrine. Olympia is high blasphemy, is high treason against not a deity but the very notion of deity, against deity-as-creator in the painting's own, continuing creating; is high blasphemy in same sense one speaks of Olympia as high art; and within the purview of the creative the two are the same. Not identical, not equivalent, not concomitant with each other: the words are interchangeable.

It is no surprise, then, that people responded to Olympia with anger, with fear, with turned heads or hysterical laughter - with offense. For Olympia is blasphemy. Its attack, ultimately, is not at codes or mores, but at the very existence of codes and mores. The means lay in part in the confusion of those codes, by their being in part presented, in part denied. Yet, I argue, there is reason beyond, reason that still operates in this time and place far outside of Paris of 1865. Namely, that Olympia is beautiful. As Alfred Sensier, the one marked exception to the primarily negative reviews, wrote:

Armed insurrection in the camp of the bourgeois: it is a glass of iced water which each visitor gets full in the face when he sees the BEAUTIFUL courtisane in full bloom.(56)

The hysterics is actually a quite natural result when faced with the confusion of an object which refuses to be read, and yet demands to be seen; which does not permit its understanding, its identification, its naming as according to accepted conventions, which directly confronts the viewer with the raw energies of sexual potency, and yet calls to the viewer with the beauty of this work. And the work is beautiful: strangely beautiful, but then all true beauty can be said to be strangely beautiful. And that is because true beauty is living beauty, in the very sense of the potency, the potentiality of Olympia's sexuality. As Sensier spoke of it: "Olympia is a very crazy piece of Spanish madness, which is a thousand times better than the platitude and inertia of so many canvases on show in the exhibition."(57) Subject, composition, and technique had become rigidly conventionalized. And it is as such that Cabanel's writhing eroticism was protected by the conventions of Académie technique: his Venus was knowable, was recognizable as the expected goddess, even if she was indecently posed; and, the painting, by its otherwise strict adherence to technical and other conventions, was thus a success, was thus 'Art,' was thus 'beautiful.' Olympia, however, offers no such comfort. Cabanel's beauty, as viewed by the Parisians of the day, lay not in the sexual potentiality of the writhe, but in the inert platitudes of the Salon. Yet, seen outside Parisian eyes, seen through the lens of the offensiveness that led critics to label Venus a common prostitute, there is indeed beauty, though one muted by the unenergized technique. Olympia's beauty on the other hand is much more potent: existing in equal potency even today, even if the socio-cultural attack on Paris is long past its primacy. In final word, this description of Olympia's beauty by Jamot, which in its ideation pushes us forward:

Manet's Olympia is worthy to be compared with acknowledged masterpieces. It is worthy because Manet, like Titian and Goya, was actuated by purely pictorial considerations. The creation of a great painter with a frank and healthy outlook is this young girl who looks at us so calmly stretched on a bed, her shoulders raised on the pillows, one slightly outspread hand crossing the body to support herself above the hips, an unforced pose but one not seen before in a picture. A passage of painting of admirable exactitude and subtlety is the flowered silk stuff which breaks the uniform whiteness of the sheet, though it is hardly lighter than the pale flesh of the woman. The drawing throughout is sensitive and broad, apparently easy but actually masterly, the modeling greatly simplified but the construction certain, throwing the figure into full relief without the assistance either of shade or shadow. No other modern painter had displayed such brushwork, such a decisiveness of outline, so free a use of colour, such sharpness of contrast, such brilliancy of accent, such a mixture of elegance and forcibleness.(58)


Continute to Part II.


Note numbers link back to text.

1. Michael Fried, Manet's Modernism, or, the Face of Painting in the 1860s (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1996), 101. Note that Olympia was submitted with and displayed beside a second work, Jesus Mocked, which itself garnered no small derision. Though that was often but an afterthought to the venom aimed at Olympia in published response.

2. Ross King, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism (New York: Walker & Company, 2006), 151; quoting Wilson-Bareau, ed. Manet By Himself, 33.

3. The painting was titled by Manet Le Bayed, but was dubbed Le Déjeuner by the Salon-goers, and the name stuck, then being used even by Manet himself. King, 87-88.

4. King, 87, quoting Le Courrier artistique (May 30, 1863). While the critics were generally less than approving, there was among them a broader response, ranging "from hostility to enthusiasm" (Charles Harrison et al., Art in Theory: 1815-1900 [Blackwell, 1998], 510); also, King, 88. The Salon des Refusés was created by order of Napoleon III in response to public outcry and the mass rejections by the Salon jury. Out of the over 5,000 works submitted, only 2,217 were accepted. King, 59. Many popular artists found themselves among the rejected But for the most part, the Refusés consisted of artists who either were not talented or capable enough to meet the standards and conventions of the Salon, and those who, like Manet, out and out rejected those standards and conventions. Harrison, 509-10.

5. King, 41, 49. On the technical aspects of Le Déjeuner, see King, 41-50.

6. Ibid., 41.

7. For a number of reasons, in part developmental, in part stylistic, and not the least because there is a great likelihood that the reader knows little concerning the presentation of Olympia in the Salon of 1865, I will devote much more space to the details of Olympia than I will to Satanic Verses, which will later stand as the axis of this exploration.

8. Ibid., 152-53.

9. "He became the butt of songs and jokes, 'pursued as soon as he showed his face,' according to one version of events, 'by rumors and wisecracks, the passersby in the street turning to laugh at the handsome fellow, so well dressed and correct, who painted such filth.'" Ibid., 154, quoting Jacques-Émile Blanche, Manet (Paris: F. Rieder & Cie, 1924), 36-37.

10. Wayne C. Anderson, Manet: The Picnic and the Prostitute (Boston: Editions Fabriart, 2005): 144-45.

11. Fried, 308; see also Paul Jamot, "Manet and the Olympia," The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 50.286 (January, 1927): 27-28.

12. Jules Clarétie, in La Figaro, as quoted in Harrison, 516.

13. King, 152.

14. King, 152, quoting Le Moniteur des arts (May 5, 1865); Le Monde illustré (May 13, 1865); and L'Époque (May 17, 1865), respectively. With art history being a touch out of my field, I am leaning a bit against the shoulder of King's recent description of the Parisian art world of the 1860s.

15. Charles Clement in Le Journal de débats, as quoted in Harrison, 514.

16. Paul de Saint-Victor in La Press as quoted in Harrison, 514-15.

17. Théophile Gautier in Le Moniteur universal, as quoted in Harrison, 516-17.

18. Armédée Cantaloube in Le Grand Journal as quoted in Harrison, 517.

19. Victor de Jankovitz in Etude sur le Salon de 1865 as quoted in Harrison, 518.

20. King, 37. A modèle-occasionel was, essentially, a free-lance model (as opposed to being permanently employed by an artist). As King describes her, there was little [. . .] to distinguish Victorine, her looks included, from the scores of other young women who hovered on the margins of Parisian artistic life. Nicknamed La Crevette ("The Shrimp") because of her short stature, she was nothing like the exotically beautiful women favored by members of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Her face was round and expressionless, her eyes hooded, her nose blunt above a small mouth, he limbs short, her trunk fleshy. (37)

Manet used Victorine first in 1862, and after that in a number of paintings, including Le Déjeuner (Ibid.).

21. Ibid., 153.

22. Ibid., 153.

23. Ibid., 109.

24. Ibid., 79.

25. Ibid., 80.

26. Ibid., 107.

27. Charles Bernheimer, "Manet's Olympia: The Figuration of a Scandal," Poetics Today 10.2 (Summer, 1989): 255, 261.

28. Sharon Flescher, "More on a Name: Manet's 'Olympia' and the Defiant Heroine in Mid-Nineteenth-Century France," Art Journal 45.1 (Spring, 1985): 27, 30.

29. King, 80, citing on the loan Jasper Ridley, Napoleon III and Eugénie (London: Constable, 1979), 285-6.

30. Ibid., 77.

31. Ibid., 108.

32. Ibid., 77.

33. Ibid., 153.

34. Ibid., 77.

35. Ibid., 108.

36. Ibid.

37. Ibid.

38. Anne Coffin Hanson, Manet and the Modern Tradition (New Haven: Yale UP, 1977), 91.

39. Bernheimer, 258. Generally, in such criticism, it is pointed out that the primary viewer of the female nude in art would have been a male. (E.g., Bernheimer, 258, himself citing Berger's Ways of Seeing [1972] in example.) Though, at such exhibits as the Salon, to limit viewership to males only, that is, to withhold women from participation in the established conventions of the Salon, seems to me a rather arbitrary and unnecessary exercise. The conventions that made the female nude safe for male viewing would have also made it safe for female viewing. While what each sex is being from may be different, the primary functioning of an established social convention, operating to permit an event while removing any socially disruptive potentiality of that event is the same, regardless of sex.

40. King, 22-23, quoting Antonin Proust, Édouard Manet: souvenirs (Paris: H. Laurens, 1913), 43; see also Hanson, 92. King gives note that at Manet's time, Le Concert champêtre, painted around 1508, was thought the work of Giorgione (King, 22n24).

41. Bernheimer, 261.

42. The term myth used in this instance in the manner of Roland Barthes's Mythologies.

43. Ibid., 262.

44. See Bernheimer, 260-63, for a discussion on this point of class ambiguity.

45. King, 153.

46. Anderson, 145.

47. King, 153. To note, King gives particular emphasis to there being political and legal fight - at the time of the Salon of 1865 - against a rapidly spreading pornography industry, spurred, if not created, by the development of photography (King, 153-4). However, while other sources do note the similarity of the pose of Olympia to pornographic photographs in circulation at the time, the pose is too directly tied to the art tradition coming through such as Titian and Georgione to put too much weight to pornographic influences. More likely, the pose within pornography came from the poses viewed up on the canvases of Académie-accepted artists.

48. T. J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985), 135; as quoted in Bernheimer, 269.

49. See Bernheimer, 267-69, as concerns Olympia's hand.

50. King, 153.

51. Anderson, 149.

52. As to the question of why the Salon judges accepted Olympia in the first place, and then put it in so prominent and privileged a position, consensus seems to be that their intent was to teach Manet - and those like him - a lesson, to defeat the new counter-movement by giving them what they sought: a place before the Parisian crowds.

53. Hanson, 100.

54. Ibid., 100, quoting Mes haines (Paris, 1928), 269-70.

55. Ibid., 95.

56. Harrison, 518 (italics and caps the author's). Sensier wrote under the pseudonym Jean Ravenel.

57. Ibid., 518.

58. Jamot, 31.