Talk:Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe

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Inconsistent names[edit]

The text is inconsistent as to whether the figure is modelled by Suzanne Leenhoff, and/or Victorine Meurent or Victorine Meurend, and whether the other figure is Ferdinand or Rodolfe Leenhoff. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:30, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Should "nude" be replaced with "naked"?[edit]

Several places in the article the female figure in the foreground is referred to as "nude". Is this not incorrect? One of the things that distinguishes this paiting from artworks that came before is that the female exudes self-confidence; she controls the viewer's gaze rather than being solely the subject of it. Naked implies this self-empowerment while nude suggests that the figure is weak. Maybe this is only a recent distinction in the art world, but it seems to me that the article runs the risk of being incorrect. Theshibboleth 08:44, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Oddly enough, I'd view it just the opposite. To me, naked implies exposed, bare to the world, fragile and without protection, while nude merely means without clothing. When someone really exposes their inner self, you might say that they "bared their naked soul", but never their nude soul. Basically, I always understood that naked could refer to much more than just a lack of clothing, but also a lack of protection, or a state of vulnerability. I just made a quick look over at wiktionary, which tends to agree... naked, which includes the definition of unprotected or unadorned, vs nude, which only has one alt definition, as a beige color. --Reverend Loki 17:31, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

The review of the painting is pretty good, but I'm not comfortable with the tone one gets from "inconsistent and unnatural". However, I won't slap a NPOV tag because this is probably more of an analysis than an opinion. Dessydes 02:27, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

I certainly agree with Reverend Loki, above. In my opinion, but not only in my opinion, "nude" basically means wanting to and being comfortable with being unclothed, while "naked" means just the opposite, not wishing to be and not being comfortable being unclothed.Alpine Joy (talk) 00:51, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

Does anyone actually refer to this painting as "The Luncheon on the Grass"? I have never heard it called this before - only ever by its French title. DuncanHill (talk) 14:29, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I have boldly gone and done it. DuncanHill (talk) 14:51, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Bow Wow Wow[edit]

The "Works inspired by" section says that Annabella Lwin was 15 when the photo was taken. However, the Bow Wow Wow article says she was 14. Which is it? Paul Magnussen (talk) 17:07, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

She was 16 actually, she was born in October 1965 and EP with cover in question was released in May 1982. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:15, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Model for female figure[edit]

I'm writing a thesis where I would like to say that the nude figure was inspired both by V.Meurent and S.Leenhoff, and I looked everywhere, but realised I actually found that info on Wikipedia. Scholarly books say that the nude was solely inspired by Victorine Meurent. Can I know the sources that state that the nude was inspired by both? Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:23, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd go with the books; I think the prevalent historical interpretation is that the model was Meurent. JNW (talk) 23:59, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
I seem to remember Andrew Graham-Dixon chuntering on with this theory in a tv programme actually, but can't remember well. Johnbod (talk) 03:16, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Agree - everything I've read indicates Victorine is the model...Modernist (talk) 03:22, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
No he was saying Mrs Manet was the model, or partly so. Johnbod (talk) 03:24, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
On page 169 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art catalog from it's major Manet retrospective in 1983 it says in no uncertain terms that the model was Victorine Meurent as well as Suzanne's brother as well as Manet's brothers. They go on to say that no one knows who the girl in the water was. A long discussion over 7 pages, including Proust talking about how when he and Manet were watching some women emerge from the water Manet decided to do nudes like Giorgione...concerning a smaller watercolor version they again assert Victorine Meurent was the model...Modernist (talk) 03:36, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Nice work, Modernist--I've literally got that book next to me, but I'm working on something about John Henry Twachtman, so I haven't opened it. I do have a more recent publication, a book of essays on the painting edited by Paul Hayes Tucker from 1998, which also holds to the traditional reading of Meurent as the model. I suspect the Leenhoff theory is recent, per Johnbod's recollection. JNW (talk) 03:40, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Zola or no Zola[edit]

I think the commentary by Zola section is an important inclusion in this article;

the question is should it be included or removed from this article?

Keep - Modernist (talk) 11:29, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Keep - This is a clear case where, due to its historical importance, Zola's text should be available to the general public right here at Wikipedia. Coldcreation (talk) 06:40, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

Remove -  :Delete - It is not the role of Wikipedia to provide the full text of anything. There are sister projects for that, such as WP:Wikisource. If we are to provide encyclopedic content, we must be able to summarize, which is already done regarding Zola's commentary in the "Description and context" section. Also, the bit about L'Œuvre is mentioned in a more appropriate section later on in the article. This is not to say that the summary can't be changed; if others feel like a more in-depth summary of Zola's commentary is warranted, I'm fine with that. Such a summary could even include some quotation. But nearly a page and a half of straight quotation is a mark of obscenely bad writing. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 07:02, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Keep I don't imagine this is the "full text" at all. It's long, but covers a range of points and is fine. Johnbod (talk) 14:43, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Keep! -- I very much respect that the Zola commentary has been included here.
"That which must be seen in the painting is not a luncheon on the grass; it is the entire landscape" [Except of Zola commentary].
In fact, without his commentary, I wouldn't have finally understood the painting as well as I do now. I suppose we could almost go so far as to imagine the two women in the picture are figments of the men's discussion. Or perhaps the bathing figure in the background is meant to be seen as painted on a canvas in a studio, while the nude in the foreground who regards us is supposed to be an apparition of the men's discussion. Perhaps the woman regards the viewer with such direct candor because she is thinking, "what fools these two men are, discussing their analytical philosophies, while making no sense at all in the practical world!" My only discontent with Manet and his "realism", his wish to paint a nude woman (according to Zola) so he could just paint flesh, with complete honesty, is that the model is depicted without nipples, which I think is a big mistake from the point of view of honesty. Women have noticeable nipples when they are nude. To paint a nude woman honestly, I know you should include this anatomical truth. If anyone has any historical analysis of my question, I would be very interested to read it here. I wonder what Manet meant to convey by not making the nipples noticeable?
Alpine Joy (talk) 01:13, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Commentary of Émile Zola

The Luncheon on the Grass is the greatest work of Édouard Manet, one in which he realizes the dream of all painters: to place figures of natural grandeur in a landscape. We know the power with which he vanquished this difficulty. There are some leaves, some tree trunks, and, in the background, a river in which a chemise-wearing woman bathes; in the foreground, two young men are seated across from a second woman who has just exited the water and who dries her naked skin in the open air. This nude woman has scandalized the public, who see only her in the canvas. My God! What indecency: a woman without the slightest covering between two clothed men! That has never been seen. And this belief is a gross error, for in the Louvre there are more than fifty paintings in which are found mixes of persons clothed and nude. But no one goes to the Louvre to be scandalized. The crowd has kept itself moreover from judging The Luncheon on the Grass like a veritable work of art should be judged; they see in it only some people who are having a picnic, finishing bathing, and they believed that the artist had placed an obscene intent in the disposition of the subject, while the artist had simply sought to obtain vibrant oppositions and a straightforward audience. Painters, especially Édouard Manet, who is an analytic painter, do not have this preoccupation with the subject which torments the crowd above all; the subject, for them, is merely a pretext to paint, while for the crowd, the subject alone exists. Thus, assuredly, the nude woman of The Luncheon on the Grass is only there to furnish the artist the occasion to paint a bit of flesh. That which must be seen in the painting is not a luncheon on the grass; it is the entire landscape, with its vigors and its finesses, with its foregrounds so large, so solid, and its backgrounds of a light delicateness; it is this firm modeled flesh under great spots of light, these tissues supple and strong, and particularly this delicious silhouette of a woman wearing a chemise who makes, in the background, an adorable dapple of white in the milieu of green leaves. It is, in short, this vast ensemble, full of atmosphere, this corner of nature rendered with a simplicity so just, all of this admirable page in which an artist has placed all the particular and rare elements which are in him.[1]

Zola presents a fictionalised version of the painting and the controversy surrounding it in his novel L'Œuvre (The Masterpiece).


  1. ^ Émile Zola, Édouard Manet, 1867, et lps 91


It seems like the attempt at a straw vote has fallen flat with only three discussants. Let's try this a different way by having an actual discussion. In my attempt to remove the large Zola quote, I may have removed something that others see as important. Modernist, could you perhaps provide a list of the points that Zola makes in the quotes? This way any summary that we provide (again, summarization is what we should do here at Wikipedia) won't miss anything important. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 23:07, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

With all due respect - the quote is in english; seems self-evident and important, please just respect that others actually disagree with you.. Read a book about Zola and Manet; I don't have time for this test...Modernist (talk) 00:14, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't any summary of points made by Zola verge on wp:original research? Bus stop (talk) 17:22, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Modernist, the reason I ask is not to "test" you but to understand better where you're coming from. The way the article is right now is not helpful for a general reader and my efforts are aimed at improving readers' experience. That it is in English is irrelevant as even you have indicated in the following sentence that knowledge of Zola and Manet would be of help for me.
Also, see WP:DEM and WP:POLL. Wikipedia operates through consensus, which is achieved through discussion, not voting. You seem to believe otherwise, as you are implying very strongly that I should simply accept the results of a three-person poll sans discussion.
Bus stop, a summary does not go against our prohibition against original research, but your question reminds me of WP:PSTS, a closely related issue that might help us out here. I imagine Zola counts as a secondary source, but a tertiary source that discusses (or summarizes) what Zola said would improve the article, I think. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 04:07, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Re: consensus - at the moment there are 3 Visual Arts editors who say the Zola quote is an important inclusion...Modernist (talk) 11:42, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Again, you are acting like Wikipedia operates like a democracy. It doesn't. We can actually discuss this and try to find a compromise (in which case your expertise in visual arts would be an asset, not simply a badge you can shine in an attempt to shut others out) or we can begin the process of dispute resolution. What would you prefer? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 00:39, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree this long quote does not belong in the article in its current form. Zola says nothing that could not be replaced with our words and a few selected quotes from him. Worse, the quote may be positively misleading in disingenuously arguing (if I read it right) that Manet only put the women in because he wanted to paint a bit of flesh. The painting is too provocative for that. Didn't Zola say the same about Olympia? "You wanted a nude, and you chose Olympia, the first that came along". That was misleading too. In both works Manet knew exactly how provocative his works would be. Even if Zola was right, this massive quote would be out of place. This is not Wikisource. Philafrenzy (talk) 00:56, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
The quote from Zola about Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe is of mostly historical interest as User:Coldcreation has pointed out above. It should be included because it is contemporaneous with the painting. It would be pointless to try to extract points from Zola's paragraph in an attempt to create a summary of it because doing so would result in material lengthier than the original if we were to give it a thorough representation. I don't think there is anything that is all that important in the Zola paragraph. But it is written in the zeitgeist of the time. Much has been written about the painting since then. The Musée d'Orsay, for instance, has interesting commentary. The understanding of art changes over time. We would use material deriving from the blurb at the website of the Musée d'Orsay differently than we would use that written by Zola. Bus stop (talk) 01:47, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Bus stop, that's not how summaries work. Of course we can summarize Zola's points in less space than it takes for him to make it. That's what I attempted to do. I'm not sure what it is that I got wrong, but it should be easily remedied by tweaking the summary. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 03:32, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Zola's commentary may not represent the latest thinking on this painting. Zola's thinking may have been superseded by later commentary such as that which is found at the Musée d'Orsay website. I am just curious—how would you summarize the Zola quote? Bus stop (talk) 04:06, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
It's in the current version of the article: "A nude woman casually lunching with fully dressed men was an affront to audiences' sense of propriety, though Émile Zola, a contemporary of Manet's, argued that this was not uncommon in paintings found in the Louvre; he also felt that such a reaction came from viewing art differently than "analytic" painters like Manet, who use a painting's subject as a pretext to paint." — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 01:02, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
It is far from clear what is meant by "he also felt that such a reaction came from viewing art differently than 'analytic' painters like Manet, who use a painting's subject only as a pretext to paint." Bus stop (talk) 01:25, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Seems about as clear to me as the original quote. But I'm a non-expert. I'm not wedded to any particular wording. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 06:38, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
If you don't think that the "original quote" is "clear" then why bother trying to paraphrase it? Bus stop (talk) 09:54, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
This was at Modernist's suggestion. I had approached Modernist about the issue beforehand on their talk page, saying that I thought a summary was warranted and asked if (s)he would rather do the summary or if I should give it a try with the understanding that (s)he would revise as needed, given my inexpertise. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 04:23, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
Would it be OK if I delete the paragraph "A nude woman casually lunching with fully dressed men was an affront to audiences' sense of propriety, though Émile Zola, a contemporary of Manet's, argued that this was not uncommon in paintings found in the Louvre; he also felt that such a reaction came from viewing art differently than 'analytic' painters like Manet, who use a painting's subject as a pretext to paint"? I now realize this discussion has been held in multiple places but in the final analysis I don't think the above contributes to the article especially in light of what I think is an emerging consensus to leave the Zola quote in the article much as it stands now. Bus stop (talk) 04:23, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
I would leave that in the article. It seems to sum up quite well the situation at the present time (then). Coldcreation (talk) 05:37, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
And one must feel that he was commenting on the formal qualities of the painting rather than the subject matter because he was just as unable to accept it as everyone else was. We are all, even Zola, prisoners of our own time. Philafrenzy (talk) 01:10, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
Actually Zola was well ahead of his time. Having championed Manet regarding both Olympia and Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe; he commented that Manet's work was so powerful that it would grow over time in the eyes of the world; while the works championed at the salon at the time would soon lose its luster and the public interest. In this - our article - Zola needs to be quoted. I have no objection if an editor wishes to paraphrase Zola as well, however the historical words of Zola should remain intact...Modernist (talk) 11:59, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
He was ahead of his time, and knew what he was seeing but because of the conventions of salon criticism he couldn't fully acknowledge it in print, hence the somewhat disingenuous comments about both works. We can preserve the essence of what he said by selective quotations and paraphrasing but this huge slab of a quote there is simply bad practice. This is an article about the painting, not about Zola's reaction to it. Philafrenzy (talk) 12:07, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
I think it's an interesting and informative quote which covers a number of ponts and is better left than paraphrased. Johnbod (talk) 14:41, 5 October 2014 (UTC)