MANET, Edouard
(b. 1832, Paris, d. 1883, Paris)

Mademoiselle V... in the Costume of an Espada

Oil on canvas, 165 x 128 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

When Napoleon III married a Spanish bride, the resulting wave of 'espagnolisme' found in Manet a willing adept. This was the fashion, and Manet wanted to be a man of his time. However, despite his best efforts, his painting gave rise to successive scandals.

Two people had played a decisive role in the development of Manet's Spanish period, which reached its culmination around 1862. First and foremost was a professional model, Victorine Meurent, who entered Manet's life and work simultaneously, successively becoming the model of the present painting, and the nudes of Déjeuner sur l'herbe and Olympia. She was perfectly suited to modeling the unconventional feminine protagonists for whom Manet liked to set the scene. The other person was Manet's friend Baudelaire, who emphasized the connection between this Spanish vein and modern reality.