Manet: Defying Words

Edouard Manet, The Railway, 1873, oil on canvas, 93.3 x 111.5 cm (National Galle
Edouard Manet, The Railway, 1873, oil on canvas, 93.3 x 111.5 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Horace Havemeyer in memory of his mother, Louisine W. Havemeyer, 1956.10.1. Photograph courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington)

On the occasion of the exhibition Manet: Portraying Life at the Royal Academy, London (on view through April 14, 2013), Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann examines the paintings of Manet and the failure of language to capture the "complex tying together of propositions, the psychological nuances and the suspension of time that characterise our experience of painting."

"Wrapped up in Manet’s complexity," Wiedel-Kaufmann concludes, "we are in awe of his poetic harmonies. Transported through a scene of daily life to an eternally balanced irresolution, a meditation on the process of vision and the mechanics of painting at once bound to and detached from the portrayal."