|Sandro Botticelli, 'Primavera' c. 1482|
Manet is truly one of my favorites among the Impressionists. He is like a magician, master of the now-you-see-it, now-you-don't disappearing line. Look at the thick line that delineates the woman's arm from the back of her dress, and contrast that with the line, dainty as a fairy-tale that so subtly wraps around the little girl's arm, cheek, and the back of her neck. This line disappears at the lightest part of her arm, and it almost gives a visceral sense of the afternoon sunshine. Line meanders in and out of the lace at her sleeve, counterbalanced by the line on the woman's face. There is a coolness, a calmness to Manet's work, I believe brought about by his tremendous dexterity with line.
Although I am certainly not in the class of these artists, I have been told over the years that line is one of my strengths as a painter. In the next blog post, I will show how I do it in some of my own work.