Édouard Manet - Mme Édouard Manet au Piano (1867-1868) - Musée d'Orsay


Manet and Modernism

  • Begins: Thursday 12 October 2017
    Until: Thursday 9 November 2017
    (5 sessions on Thursday afternoons, 2.30pm - 4.30pm)
  • Brockway Room, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
  • Lecturer: Charlotte de Mille

Manet’s name has come to signify the revolutionary changes that we study as the origin of Modernism. Taking this almost mythic stature as its starting point, this course subjects Manet’s art to detailed analysis in order to understand why contemporary critics and subsequent art historians have attached such extraordinary significance to one man’s work.

The five two-hourly sessions will be arranged as follows:

  1. Manet’s Paris – Focusing on the political, economic and social changes that form the context for Manet and Impressionism.
  2. Manet’s Sources – Looking back rather than forward, this session considers Manet’s connection to his forerunners and his own claim that he had ‘no intention of overthrowing old methods of painting, or creating new ones’.
  3. Manet’s Modernity – Whatever Manet himself may have said of his intentions, contemporary critics were clear that he was a ‘symptomatic precursor of a revolution’ in painting.
  4. Manet’s Music – Drawing on recent research, this session offers new interpretations of Manet’s musical subjects, from The Spanish Guitar and Madame Manet at the Piano to Music in the Tuileries Gardens. 
  5. Manet’s Legacy – Clement Greenberg famously called Manet ‘the gateway to contemporary painting’. This session explores his reasons, together with Manet’s remarkable influence.


Dr Charlotte de Mille curates the music programme for The Courtauld Gallery. She received her doctorate from The Courtauld Institute of Art in 2009 and has taught there and at the Universities of Sussex, Bristol, and St Andrews. She is editor of Music and Modernism (2011) and co-editor of Bergson and the Art of Immanence (2013).

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