For this exercise I was asked to take an image and crop it into different formats and present the content in different ways, I chose Édouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, this painting has a lot of different “scenes” and I thought it would lend itself nicely to the exercise.
This image did cause controversy when first exhibited, it is quite a surreal scene, and my research did seem to lead to most art historians disagreeing the meaning behind it.
Are the ladies prostitutes, if so why the picnic, why is one dressed and bathing in the lake? Why is the nude staring directly at the viewer, is she trying to catch your attention. even the title which translates into luncheon on the grass and originally titled “the bath” makes little reference to what seems to be the main focus of the image.
Once I had changed the compositions and format, I was asked to sum each new arrangement in a word, these are below.
The mans arm is raised as if he’s making a point or telling a meaningful anecdote, his dress almost makes him look like he is philosophising.
The lady is nude and looking right at the viewer, she isn’t shy and wants to be seen in a state of undress.
The forest, the fruit and the lake, even being nude all seems to be a nod to nature in this composition.
Similar to the philosopher the addition of a second figure makes the man look like he is calling the lady over from the stream/lake.
A simple still life of a fruit and bread basket.
I was then asked to take one of the images and re draw using colour and texture to reflect the meaning of the word.
I used the word exhibitionism, I wanted this to be bold and vibrant and extravagant. I decided to use red as it seemed to fit the context and is a colour that demands attention. The typewriter style font seemed to fit as it’s almost calling out it’s a condition or psychological disorder or even an entry into a dictionary.
This exercise was quite an invaluable lesson to me, that one image could be read so many different ways and certain parts in isolation can change the theme drastically.