Art Therapy Edouard Manet (1832 - 1883)


By Arnab Datta, MD
Published on June 13, 2022

Édouard Manet (1832-1883) an impressionist artist, who was inspired after his visit to the Louvre, was one of the core artists responsible in bridging the transition of French from Realism to Impressionism in the 19th century. He is seen as a pioneer of modern art and a major contributor to the modernization of French painting during the period 1863-83. Manet’s subjects were of everyday life with a special emphasis on figures and still life. He preferred bold colors and sharp contrasts of light and dark. Paintings like this when integrated with Art Therapy combined with psychotherapy have helped people overcome depression, anxiety and even addiction by exploring the conscious and unconscious mind, helping one find peace from their pain.

An Art Therapist may refer to Manet paintings as therapeutic, and help us discover the conscious and unconscious mind … experience life’s many aspects which we end up overlooking in our everyday rush. Édouard Manet and other impressionist artists created multiple works beside the Seine river, central France. The Seine river is featured in almost 50 of his paintings depicting the busy, ever-changing waterway that captivated the many artists of the time as well. Manet, being an independent-minded artist insisted that “One must be of the tone of the times and paint what one sees,”. His paintings which mostly depicted modern life are considered amongst some of the most important works of the 19th century.

Art Therapists and Psychotherapists admire great artists like Manet and encourage people to look within themselves for meaning and insight. One can talk about traumas in their psychotherapy and the negativity they wish to surrender. Additionally, one can draw or paint their traumas in their art. Thus, in a combined effort, a therapist can combine the two and provide an interpretation/feedback for the patient, so that the patient can understand and reframe the negative experience with something positive and also surrender the pain as best they can.

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