Always something to learn when retracing
the visual steps of the old masters through a careful scrutiny of their works.
I’ve always loved that ceramic cup in the corner with the lemons in front of it. Here (above) I was making a copy using crayons, and I was mixing colors on the paper and getting slightly different color effects than one sees in Manet’s more subtle and monochromatic but beautifully colored canvas where silver gray predominates. I was able to copy the objects almost the same size as they appear in the painting, but I chose just the right hand corner for my small notebook. Below you can see what I was copying and its context in the painting as a whole.
Some art teachers will pester you about getting ellipses correct. And I urge you, Reader, to notice how out of kilter Manet’s plate and cup are! And yet — for some mysterious reason, perhaps known only by Manet’s astute visual imagination, the painting as a whole is immeasurably better, more dynamic, more psychologically intriguing by virtue of these “mistakes.” Clearly he knows how to draw things in perspective. Just observe the wonderfully foreshortened fork. But the plate and the cup are a thousand fold more lovely by virtue of the quirky perspective. Trust your instincts.
You can draw Manet’s picture too, even if you’re far from the museum by using Gallery’s zoom feature at their website. But not yet! The links are redirects …. http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.46427.html
EXCEPT — when you wish to zoom on the ceramic cup which ends up being covered by part of the zoom widget itself. However, never fear — WikiArts to the rescue. A large version of the image is available here — click on the picture to access:
Between the two sources you can get a lot of visual information about the painting.