The National Gallery of Cosenza hosts an exhibition of engravings by Ã?douard Manet

Manet in black and white: the National Gallery of Cosenza dedicates an exhibition to the great French artist by displaying, until April 25, thirty engraved masterpieces, from the prestigious Strölin edition, that catapult the public to late 19th-century Paris.

The exhibition Manet. Noir et blanc pays tribute to a revolutionary artist, born and lived in19th-century Paris, superb portrait painter and spiritual father of Impressionism: Édouard Manet. This is a unique opportunity to learn about and be able to appreciate an exceptional corpus composed of 30 engraved masterpieces, from the prestigious Strölin edition, which catapult us into late 19th-century Paris, into a metropolis rich in creative and cultural ferment at the precise moment when, in the history of art, the transition to modernity was recorded.

The exhibition, conceived and produced by theN.9 Association and curated by Alessandro Mario Toscano and Marco Toscano, celebrates Manet’s brilliant achievements as a graphic artist. The exhibition will be hosted in the fine halls of the National Gallery in Cosenza from March 24 to April 25, 2023.

Manet’s experimental and innovative graphic production is considered fundamental in the development of printing techniques. The engravings on display, published in 1905, were printed posthumously from Manet’s original plates by Alfred Strölin, a prominent German collector and dealer. The 30 plates published in 1894 by Dumont (which included the 23 in the portfolio edited by Suzanne Manet for Gennevilliers in 1890) represent a comprehensive collection of the artist’s output. They were eventually biffed by Strölin himself to avoid further impressions. The poet friend Charles Baudelaire, described black as the color of the 19th century, and Manet was a master in its use. It was the search for expressive immediacy, the attention to the values of matter, the synthesis of forms, and the pictorial truth of objects that led Manet straight down the path of a true figurative revolution. True to the need for naturalness pursued in painting, Manet gave himself to graphic art with the commitment of a man of science and the freshness of one who looks at life with inexhaustible wonder. To “real life,” everyday life, which lies before his eyes and becomes in every detail a pretext for a new tale.

When as a child, at school desks, he noted in the margin of a text by Diderot, “one must be of one’s time and do what one sees,” perhaps Manet did not yet suspect that that sentence, penned on the spur of the moment, would influence his entire career and that Baudelaire might one day, thinking of his impressions, praise his “decided taste for modern life.” The same taste that returns, with different nuances, in each subject of the engraving corpus and that in the Strölin edition is revealed in stages, with unprecedented inflections and small discoveries. His extraordinary sense for the real increases, in black and white, in immediacy, a credit to the instinctive use of the stroke, the child of a long affection for drawing. Unlike the method of Goya, his beloved mentor, constantly cited in canvases as well as etchings, Manet approached the matrix as if it were a fortuitous notebook for notes. Without premeditating the subjects, but tracing the forms freely. State after state the point scratched different areas of the composition, thickening the mesh in the background, searching for the pitch blackness, and thinning the foreground strokes to leave the figures in full light. His morsures had to be short and violent, intuitive and without rules, just as his mark was laid out in a rush, fresh and immediate.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog.

Pictured: Édouard Manet, The Spanish Guitarist (1861), engraving

The National Gallery of Cosenza hosts an exhibition of engravings by Édouard Manet
The National Gallery of Cosenza hosts an exhibition of engravings by Édouard Manet

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