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Current time:0:00Total duration:2:36

Video transcript

we're looking at a relatively small Edouard Manet at the National Gallery of Art in Washington it's called plum brandy and it's a really enigmatic little painting it shows this young woman in this pink outfit sitting at a table with what looks like an unlit cigarette in her hand brandy right of brandy with a plum in it that's what's so characteristic of MANET here and also of de God and what other impressions did is the way that she looks outside of the canvas and how enigmatic her look is how we can't read what she's thinking about she looks away we don't know what she's looking at we don't know what our relationship is to her but there's something so modern and so powerful about her and so she must be a working-class woman no question and I think we know that they came from her clothing and cigarette and she's alone in a bar it was not okay for her to have a cigarette nor to be alone in the world and probably a middle class upper middle class woman you know would have had gloves on hands so she's waiting in a sense waiting for us to look at her MANET has set this out so that we become the person who interacts right which he does so often doesn't he know them yeah he has separated us from her by the table yeah and the table really functions as this barrier doesn't it and also the sort of beautiful and abstracting plan it has its own ambiguity in its own beauty look at how how carefully and geometrically composed this is how locked within that rectangle in the upper left the horizontal line of the table or the horizontal line of the couch the vertical line of the leg of the table it's like a modern Vermeer of a woman locked inside a space yes absolutely except that his touch of the paint - it couldn't be further from Vermeer because this is also all of the health the way in which he renders the paint loosely and open luscious brushwork it's fantastic and look at the hand I'm actually especially taken with her right hand which folds and back this very sort of characteristic gesture but also a very complicated for short name to pull off and he does it beautifully but again even arm which just looks okay to us would have looked very unfinished to a viewer in the 1870s in 1818 and also I pose that would have been absolutely avoided in a more traditional painting