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I have chosen to look at the oil painting technique of Alli Sharma in comparison to that of Edouard Manet. My reasoning is that looking back through my work for this course, the portraits that stemmed from looking at Sharma’s work in research for part 1 have followed me through to part 5, so an opportunity to look further into her technique whilst comparing it to Manet -who has been in my peripheral vision since I saw his A Bar at the Folies-Bergere (1882) at the Courtauld for a level art over 2 decades ago- through their use of oil paint, is a great opportunity.
Edouard Manet (1832-83) was an important figure in the change from classical art to impressionism and the move to modern art. His use of oil paint began with his study of formal academic art by copying grand masters like Titian and Lippi. Manet’s technique shifted after this and in his private studio he worked in a looser style which did not include all the blending prevalent in the realistic style that had been en vogue for so long. In fact (visible here as a close up of a hand holding a book from his oil painting the Railway) the next phase in impressionism is clearly visible.
Strong brush strokes with blocks of colour that show the 3 dimensional shape of the hand, a confident use of paint that allows for the shadow of the book making the detail of the finger beneath it even more vague.
In comparison, Ali Sharma creates even less detail in her paintings, brush strokes are only visible as confident single strokes over a gesso’d background that shows through the thin paint. In fact the paint is worked so thin it splits on the canvas Ingrid 3 (A Kind of Loving) Paintin by Alli Sharma or a minimalist palette (as shown in Brown Long eared Bat available on This page). In comparison, Manet’s palette produces realistic skin tones and more believable substance than Sharma achieves, his objects often more solid and touchable, while Sharma’s remain almost ephemeral in feel.
Both artists display confidence with their use of the paintbrush to create form. Both also allow the canvas support (gesso’d or not) to show through and work in their pictures. Manet whilst -new to his time- using less detail, obviously does more than Sharma and his content as a result is more static (and thought through), from life, over Sharma’s swift glimpses into a much briefer snapshot paintings, taken from film stills. Or painting objects and animals as swift documents, using speed in her painting to give the life and energy that detail and more colours would achieve in a longer time.
These two are good examples of artists of their times, using oil paint to document and comment upon their era. I think that their differences in the use of oil paint are also a reflection of the over 100 years between them and the change in the pace of life since the 1800s.