Luncheon on the Grass Sock
This little lady on our Luncheon on the Grass Socksis neither little (the actual painting is about 6 ft. x 9 ft.) nor, in the strict sense, much of a lady. But she did succeed at what her creator, Edouard Manet, intended for her to do: shock her audience. Wearing these Luncheon on the Grass Socks may possibly bring a smile to those who catch a glimpse of them under your trousers, but Manet’s subject certainly distressed those of the art world in 1862 France. She was an affront to her audience’s sense of propriety in every way.
Unlike paintings before her, this nude isn’t a famous goddess like Venus. Rather, she is meant to portray a typical woman—like yourself! In fact, we can give her a name. She was Manet’s favorite model, Victorine, and when he painted her, her portrayal was larger, brighter and cruder than anyone before him would have dared.
This piece represented a turning point in modern art. It, as well as others by Manet at this time, served as a bridge between the school of realism and that of impressionism. Victorine’s lack of clothing and her bold, unfaltering gaze as she stares directly at us—these are elements new to the art world, especially in a work of this size. Her companion is well-dressed in the garb of the day but his pose reminds us of the Sistine Chapel. Is this just a coincidence? Yet they loiter in a modern park, not a classical or magical forest; with fruit spilling out over her clothing before them (which represented her virtue).
So, rather than just a naked lady on your Luncheon on the Grass Socks, you have, what was described in the 1860’s, as “ideal ugliness.” This painting was rejected from the salons of the day, a laughing stock; then rescued later by Napoleon III.
But Manet was used to bad reviews and he had the vision to know his masterpiece was saying, “Take a good look at me. I served as an inspiration for Monet, Picasso, Cezanne and others. I am the future of French Impressionism. Perhaps one day you will stand before me in the Louvre while wearing your Luncheon on the Grass Socks.” More than likely, when I don them, I’ll find a local park and have lunch.
Fits women’s shoe sizes 4 – 10 (Sock size 9-11)Sock Maker:
Hot Sox (Mount Airy, North Carolina)Materials:
51% cotton, 24% polyester, 22% nylon, 2% spandex, 1% rubberCountry of Origin: South Korea