Edouard Manet & Music

A Lecture by Dr Lois Oliver


Music was a constant theme in Manet’s life; on Thursday the 14th March we discovered how music inspired his art.

This was the third lecture Dr. Lois Oliver had offered the society on the link between music and the visual arts.

As a wealthy man about town Edouard Manet used his own experiences and the people he encountered in his daily life to inspire the images in so many of his paintings. Today we forget that many of the people viewing his art in his own time would have recognised many of the images reflected there and how evocative these memories would have been in stimulating, not only the sights, but also the other senses.

Throughout the 1860s and 70s, Manet depicted a number of images, often portraits, of musicians in his paintings. With well chosen examples, Dr Oliver brought to life the music which inspired such images; here were the raw and raucous tones of the street singers, musicians and cafe entertainers, the distinctive sound of Flamenco, evocative of the craze for all things Spanish which swept Paris at the time, the more refined tones of the orchestras of the opera and ballet companies, the more intimate music made by family and friends in their own homes, martial music and the unique quality of the open air concerts so popular in Paris.

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