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Manet's Olympia

Ramos, Mel

Manet's Olympia

color collograph on paper, ed. 3/200

1997 Gift of Todd Schuster

Mel Ramos is an American Pop artist who painted comic book heroes before settling upon the subject for which he is best known -- nude female figures posed with consumer products such as cigarette packages, ketchup bottles, and cars. In his art, he objectifies the female as a marketable commodity. In "Manet's Olympia" he presents his interpretation of Edouard Manet's painting, "Olympia" which caused controversy when it was first exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon. Newspapers, critics, and the public voiced outrage at the painting. Manet rebelled against the prevailing ideals of the French art establishment by depicting a real woman of his era rather than an idealized female of mythological, historical, or biblical themes. Instead of painting a woman that glorified history and France, Manet chose to depict a courtesan who was viewed as a commodity. Ramos produced "Manet's Olympia" as a tribute to Manet. It is part of a series he produced to honor the great masters of western art.