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Manet's modernity lies above all in his playfulness in updating the old genres of painting by injecting new content into them or by modifying conventional elements. He did so with great sensitivity to historical tradition and contemporary reality. It was also undoubtedly the root cause of the many scandals it caused.
He is known to have popularized the technique of alla prima painting. Rather than accumulating colors in layers, Manet immediately applied the shade that best matched the end effect he was looking for. The approach was widely used by the Impressionists, who found it perfectly suited to the imperatives of capturing the effects of light and atmosphere associated with painting outdoors.
His loose handling of paint and his schematic rendering of volumes led to areas of "flatness" in his images. At the time of the artist, this platitude may have suggested a resemblance to popular posters and reminiscent of the artifice of painting - as opposed to its realism. Today, critics see this quality as the first example of "flatness" in modern art.
Édouard Manet is the most important and influential artist who answered the call of the poet Charles Baudelaire for artists to become painters of modern life.
Manet received an education in the high society of the time, but also led a bohemian life, and repeatedly scandalized the audience of the French Salon with his disregard for academic conventions and his surprisingly modern images of city life. He has long been associated with the Impressionists; he certainly had an important influence on them and himself learned a lot from them.
However, in his later years, critics recognized him as a realist and naturalist influence from his French contemporaries, and even from XNUMXth century Spanish painting. This double interest for the old masters and contemporary realism will provide him with the basis of his revolutionary approach.
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