Lorettes and society
Class Prostitutes and the Law
Representations in Les Miserables
Realities of Authority in Paris
Brothels and Streetwalkers
The Privileged Class: Courtesans
Defining the courtesan
Courtesans in reality
is an example of one of Manet's later works which follows Olympia
and Le Dejeuner sur l' Herb. This
painting is somewhat less shocking then its predecessors because the courtesan
is clothed. Still she remains similar to the other two paintings in her
defiant stare and prominence in the painting. The fact that her male caller
is such an unimportant part of the composition did cause a stir. For a
man to play such a minor role to woman, a courtesan no less, in the same
painting was not usually done. This painting gave a name and a face to
yet another courtesan as Manet struggled to paint the real people. No
one wanted to be reminded of courtesans as real people yet with this painting
it is hard to remain ignorant.
Manet, Nana, 1877 (12. for source
- Nana is
standing infront of a mirror applying make-up
- Her gentlemen caller
is shown only on the very edge of the painting making him less important
then the courtesan in the middle. To paint a courtesan being more important
then a gentlemen was not usually done.
- The curved sofa, leading
away from the man seems to encompass and frame Nana's body. Making
it the center and most important part of this particular painting.
- Everyone is looking at Nana.
The mirror is aimed at her and her caller is looking at her. She in
return stared out from the center of the picture with a slight smile.
is of course aware of her visitor
meets the eye of the viewer. This was scandalous because it suggested
that she was equal to the viewer or at the very least not ashamed.
- The man's cane is a phallic
symbol which was often employed at the time.
- The fact that Manet is putting
a face on a courtesan and is moving her into the public eye was not
something that was done at the time.
- Giving the courtesan in
this picture a name clearly showed everyone that such people existed
at the time. Although everyone knew they hated to be reminded and pretended
that prostitution did not exist.
seems to reduce the stature and subordinates the attention of her truncated
Click here for:
Dejeuner sur l'herb