The Balcony

7:00 AM

Edouard Manet, The Balcony,  1868


Art is more than just the concept of representation, but how the artist sees the world through what they are painting. Visuality defines the meaning of what is inspired through the eye of the beholder. When there is a greater understanding of what the artist is trying to convey through object, light, and structure, people can have a greater appreciation for what they are observing. Richard Brettell accurately describes how the human eye is based on psychological and emotional state of mind.

Edouard Manet, a French artist, clearly displays through his art how “representing is to have ultimate control of the seen world” (Brettell 84). In Manet’s, The Balcony, visual representation through eye contact of each individual person reflects on the “Art of Seeing.”When looking at the painting, we see three figures with one dark figure in the background. There are three different focal points when looking head on at the painting. The woman sitting is gazing at the world-in-the-streets, the women in the flower hat is looking at the viewer, and the man is admiring the woman in the flower hat. The interesting thing about it: when it was hung in the Salon in 1868, it appeared as if it was an actual balcony hanging from the wall and the people viewing it appeared to be the people in the street. The different focal points helps tell a story through eye contact. Bretell defines this as “contemporary urban visual culture” (86). Brettell shows how “the viewer is just as important as the viewed, that seeing or perception is now the subject of the art” (87).

You Might Also Like