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Edouard Manet

Mademoiselle V...in the Costume of an Espada

About the Artwork

Mademoiselle V…in the Costume of an Espada, 1862. Edouard Manet. Oil on canvas. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929.
Manet depicted model Victorine Meurent (1844–1928) in the guise of a male espada, or matador, borrowing her pose from a Renaissance print. Victorine’s shoes are unsuitable for bullfighting, and the pink cape that she flourishes is the wrong hue, but she carries off her role with panache. The backdrop reproduces a scene from Goya’s Tauromaquia series, celebrating the feats of bullfighters. When this painting was exhibited at the infamous Salon des Refusés of 1863, a commentator noted, "Manet loves Spain, and his favorite master seems to be Goya, whose vivid and contrasting hues, whose free and fiery touch he imitates."

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