Manet was regarded as a flâneur (a man-about-town, a ladies’ man, a player). His paintings, The Absinthe Drinker/The Philosopher (1859) and The Luncheon on the Grass (1863) were rejected by the Salon at the Louvre. Identify and explain one reason why the Salon may have rejected these paintings, and whether you think his reputation may have influenced the decision.
• Explain whether you think Manet’s Olympia was meant to shock the viewers of his time and why. Explain whether the painting would have a similar impact on viewers today.
• While Manet’s art was considered part of the avant-garde, opera was the entertainment for the more conventional bourgeoisie. Describe how Verdi or Wagner introduced ways of making opera more innovative and even controversial. Speculate on how audiences may have reacted.