LIGHTEN UP A LITTLE

Edouard Manetís Le Dejeuner sur líherbe, 1863, depicts a picnic in a Parisian park. Narcissism? Female viewers can easily identify with the woman because she is naked not nude. Her body, with its cellulite and lack of cut, idealized muscles, is typical and representative of the average woman (again, racial specific).

Male viewers may be able to identify with the men in the painting: I have a beard like that, I wear a black jacket and gray slacks, I could look like that at middle-age, etc. Fetishism? Male heterosexual viewers could fetish the woman as she is fleshy and available. She makes the like-look effect reinforcing her comfort level with being seen naked. Female heterosexual viewers could fetish the men if they found them sexually attractive and good husband material. The man at left also makes eye contact with the viewer. Lesbians could fetish the naked woman. Target audience? Heterosexual men and lesbians would have most interest in the image due to the naked woman being the prime focal point in the composition (high value, bright white). When exhibited in Paris in 1863, the painting was widely criticized, not for the objectification of the female for that was quite common in European art, but for the conflict between elements of disegno esterno and disegno interno and the introduction of the artistís fantasy (an available naked woman wherever he travels against the apparent naturalism of fully dressed men reclining on the grass in a park).