Drema’s Debut Novel, Victorine, is Coming!

At last, at last! It’s true, my debut novel is on its way later this year or early next year. My novel is about Victorine Meurent, known, sadly, by history as little more than painter Edouard Manet’s favorite model when she actually went to art school and became a celebrated painter in her own right!

I’ve enjoyed taking the few clues, facts, we have as to who she was, carefully studying the paintings she sat for intertwined with art history of the time to rediscover her. (Spoiler alert: There is only one of her paintings extant, that we know of.)

Victorine is best known as the model for Manet’s Olympia, and the women in The Picnic. There are many other paintings she’s a part of that we’ll talk about later.

In my take on her, I’ve carefully dissected the paintings to find clues to who she was and what sitting for these meant to her development as a human and as an artist.

Here I’ve added details of Olympia, which was likely the second painting Manet did of Victorine (though it’s the most famous one) culminating at the bottom of the page in the whole painting. In its time, the painting was scandalous. A nude woman looking at the audience? A prostitute depicted in a painting? Unheard of!

Image result for olympia manet
The colors in this painting are fabulous. Look at that red hair, the vibrant, coral flower. The texture in the fabric behind her, a white, virginal pillowcase and sheet set. Those glistening pearl earrings. . Notice the shoestring necklace. This is not the only time it appears in a Manet painting of Victorine. .

Image result for olympia manet
Image result for olympia manet
The dirty bottom of her shoe implies she’s been out and about, and the cat…well, that’s pretty self explanatory. Just another hint at her profession. Then her servant brings her flowers from an admirer. A client asking to be admitted? A previous client?
Image result for olympia manet
Here her hand covers the parts the clients likely most want. She’s in control. Yet again, see that amazing, quality fabric she’s on. The translucent floral fabric beneath her echoes the tones of her body.
Image result for olympia manet

And these flowers! Manet is so good with flowers! These are more impressionistic than others he painted, but the colors please.

Image result for olympia manet
Here is the painting in its entirety! Notice the divide behind the characters.

I treasured bringing her to life once more. Loved imagining who she had been, what she loved most. Above all things, I believe she loved art. And while my Victorine experiences love, there was art. Always art.

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