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