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threemae
03-28-2003, 09:49 PM
As I have already mentioned here on the boards, I am an AP Art History student with a good instructor who is also a bit of a lecherous old man.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=162712

Now, we have progressed from the high Reneissance to the Impressionists.

As we went down the slide list through Manet, from Olympia to the Bar at the Folies Bergere, my teacher plainly stated that virtually every single female on the slide list was a prostitute. And how does he know this? They are wearing black ribbons around their neck.

I bought it for Olympia, but even the stately, mature, well-off looking governess in Gare St. Lazare?

I have to admit, all of these women were wearing black ribbons around their necks, but he came to the conlcusion that so many of Manet's subjects were prostitutes, I grew a little skeptical. Yet, my skepticism last time against my AP Art Teacher seemed missinformed, so,

Doper's, GO FORTH AND INFORM!

jackelope
03-29-2003, 04:10 AM
I'm such a nerd. I figured the thread title was a typo and intended to read "Mamet," and I was all ready to go off about David Mamet's characterizations of women.

Carry on.

peepthis
03-29-2003, 05:31 AM
I would argue it's a bit too far of a leap to proclaim all of Manet's women to be prostitutes. However, one of Manet's innovations was bringing women of ill-repute into mainstream (and critically acclaimed) portraits. Look at Nana for another example of what was presented in Olympia, and in an AP class I'm sure you've carefully digested Dejeuner sur l'Herbe (which, incidentally, uses the same model as Olympia and Gare Saint-Lazare -- Victorine Meurent). And the Folies-Bergere was a regular hangout for prostitutes, so it's certainly a possibility the lady depicted therein was one herself.

Where I think your teacher has gone amiss is to over-zealously apply the black ribbon motif too broadly. Manet was not immune to affectations and recurring motifs that re-appear throughout his oeuvre; so I'd say it's best to accept that prostitutes do occur frequently, but not always. I'd add, however, that Manet (something of a Tom Green of his time) took a keen interest in offending the flywheels of the Salon, probably well knew the connotation of the black ribbon, and so consciously exploited the motif to his own amusement.

Michael Ellis
03-29-2003, 05:42 AM
Originally posted by peepthis
(which, incidentally, uses the same model as Olympia and Gare Saint-Lazare -- Victorine Meurent).

I've always wondered what her name was. Quite a handsome woman.

CBCD
03-29-2003, 09:58 AM
Think about it - what sort of woman of Manet's time would pose naked? A prostitute would, no problem.

peepthis
03-29-2003, 11:57 AM
My understanding of the OP was that s/he was asking if the women (characters) depicted in Manet's paintings were prostitutes, not whether the models for those paintings were. Meurent almost certainly was -- some pornographic photos of her were used by Delacroix as well -- as indeed many models of the era were. But Meurent was also an artist in her own right, even having some of her works displayed in the Salon over the years. Several books have been written by art historians about her, which I've never had occasion to do more than peruse. Anyhow, I stand by my assertion that Manet was trying to tweak the establishment by so blatantly including the black ribbon, which pretty much calls out "Hey, hooker here!" even in paintings not depicting prostitute themes.

Guinastasia
03-29-2003, 06:26 PM
What's the deal with the black ribbon?

(Although now the old folk son, "Black Velvet Band" makes MUCH more sense!)

peepthis
03-29-2003, 07:47 PM
Guin, a black ribbon was the standard accessory -- and thus, advertizement -- for prostitutes in 19th and early 20th century Europe (not sure about in the States, though perhaps the connotation was known there as well). Consider it something of a subtle variation on the red light. Typically it was worn as a choker, but could also be worn in the hair or even on the wrist. It crops up notably in the works of Manet, Degas, and of course the ultimate free-wheeler, Toulouse-Lautrec.

And yes, that's what the star-crossed black velvet band of the song refers to. The thieving woman is a lady of the night.

Tuckerfan
03-29-2003, 09:41 PM
Originally posted by peepthis
Guin, a black ribbon was the standard accessory -- and thus, advertizement -- for prostitutes in 19th and early 20th century Europe (not sure about in the States, though perhaps the connotation was known there as well). Consider it something of a subtle variation on the red light. Typically it was worn as a choker, but could also be worn in the hair or even on the wrist. It crops up notably in the works of Manet, Degas, and of course the ultimate free-wheeler, Toulouse-Lautrec.

And yes, that's what the star-crossed black velvet band of the song refers to. The thieving woman is a lady of the night. Heh, heh, heh. So that explains one of the last scenes of Risky Business and one of my ex-girlfriends! Heh, heh, heh! Man, one of these days, I am going to have to write that novel I'm always talking about!

elfkin477
03-29-2003, 10:19 PM
Originally posted by jackelope
I'm such a nerd. I figured the thread title was a typo and intended to read "Mamet," and I was all ready to go off about David Mamet's characterizations of women.

Carry on.

Er...me too. Were you going to bring up "Oleanna" as well? :D

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