Edouard Manet was born in Paris on 23 January 1832.
A young privileged and talented man from an upper middle-class family, Manet wanted to make art his life and joined the studio of Thomas Couture after failing the entrance exam for the Naval Academy. The artist quickly broke free, tired of the routine and with little confidence in his mentor; he left the country in 1856 to explore new cultures and landscapes different from urban Parisian normality. Manet's view of art changed radically; he became passionate about Spanish subjects and the female nude. The painter was an exception in the world of painting, as demonstrated by his now famous Luncheon on the Grass, which scandalised the critics in 1863 with its supposed obscene daring. This was nothing compared with the accusations levelled at his next exhibition in 1865 of Olympia, depicting a naked prostitute in bed. Forgetting these negative reviews, Manet surrounded himself with artists such as Renoir or Monet, to pursue his quest for artistic perfection. Ahead of his time, he brought a new tone to painting, which would go on to inspire Fauvism, playing with light and warm colours to depict his perception of reality. At the peak of his artistic powers and with recognition from all sides, he received the Légion d'Honneur on 1 January 1882.
Edouard Manet died of gangrene on 30 April 1883.