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Boy with a sword - Eduard Manet. 131.1x93.4
On the canvas allegedly depicted Leon Kulla-Lenhoff, son of Manet and Suzanne Lenhoff, a Dutch-born piano teacher, whom the artist met in 1849 and married her fourteen years later. The boy, who is about ten years old in the picture, is dressed in a page costume of the Spanish royal court. His figure stands out against a dark background, illuminated by direct bright light, which deprives the image of soft deep shadows. The picturesque language of Manet is characterized by a planar and bold use of color - an obvious tribute to the work of Velazquez, which the French painter kindly rethought.
The artist, who visited Spain only in 1865, had a collection of costumes in which he dressed models, creating a series of fantasy compositions. Manet did not hide the far-fetched nature of these works; he even seemed to accentuate their certain detachment from reality, as well as on this canvas: it was difficult for the boy to hold his sword. This pictorial language, addressed to the golden age of Spanish art, was highly appreciated by critics, exceptionally supportive of the painting, exhibited five times within six years after the work on it was completed. Manet Pictures "Boy with a sword" and The Woman with the Parrot became the first works of the French artist to enter the publicly accessible American collection.