Tessa, Wax Figures At The Balcony


Eduoard Manet, The Balcony (1868)

No rambunctiousness there.
They stood as wax figures, a flaneur
with a striking blue tie, a girl with
a dimunitive air, a green parasol
matching balustrade and shuttered doors
(the dominance of green),
Berthe Morisot with big lucid eyes
and a brown fan, both women in white,
a boy’s faint outline–four figures
recalling Goya’s painting.

There’s a pot of blue hydrangeas
and the dog with a ball completing
bourgeois fashionableness.
They’re all stiff and formal,
ceremonial on a Parisian balcony
watching the world go by, too disconnected
from each other, a mutual take on leisure
in a painting bobbing with a meaning
like subjective consciousness
and so much green and black.

Prompt: Manet’s painting was partly inspired by Francisco Goya’s The Majas at the balcony (ca. 1800–1810)–Goya had an influence on his work.  The three figures are Manet’s friends, artist Berthe Morisot, violinist Fanny Claus, close friend of Manet’s wife Suzanne Leenhoff,  and landscape painter and Jury member of the Salon des Artistes Francais Jean Baptiste Antoine Guillemet. Manet had made a preparatory painting, The Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus, which had Fanny Claus sitting on the stool where Berthe sat in this painting. Manet’s painting was considered iconoclastic and scorned when it was first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1869.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s